Career Code: This Fashion CEO Reveals Her Best Career Advice
In honour of our co-founders Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s latest book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($19), we’re running an interview series featuring 17 questions (to parallel the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of inspirational female leaders who are at the top of their fields. So far, we’ve tapped Lisa Messenger, Pip Edwards, Kelly Wearstler, and more. Next up? Lana Hopkins.
After just 12 months of launching her company, Lana Hopkins’ leather goods start-up turned over more than $1 million in just three months, exceeded $10 million in 2016, and is set to reach over $20 million in financial year 2017. Impressed? Us too.
The founder and CEO of Mon Purse, famed for its design-your-own handbag concept, launched the company in early 2015 after being unable to find a handbag with the right quality and design to satisfy her. After just one and a half years of trading, the label confirmed it had signed a deal with premier US and UK department stores Bloomingdale's and Selfridges late last year. World domination via leather goods? Quite possibly. The perfect Career Code candidate? Definitely. Scroll on to read our interview with the inspiring entrepreneur.
It is so difficult to describe because my job is ever-evolving, but at the moment it's a juggling act between global travel, daily meetings, and getting to know our customers. From creative brainstorming and technological innovation, I am constantly working hard to make sure that we're pushing Mon Purse onwards and upwards.
Probably just that I'm still very much across all levels of the business. I am always reading customer service emails and feedback, for example, because it's important for me to understand what's happening in the Mon Purse world and knowing exactly what our customer wants.
I'm from a country town called Armidale in New South Wales, so my first job was in retail as a teenager. The interview was quite relaxed, so I wore jeans with a T-shirt and I remember my mum dropping me off.
Business of Fashion is my number one resource, because it's always so ahead of the curve. I find the in-depth commentary and industry analysis really helpful in driving innovation.
For me, life is a lesson of no regrets. I believe that mistakes can be a positive thing, as long as you are able to learn from them.
Strong communication and passionate drive are both really important qualities for me, but being a decent human being is critical as well.
My red Gucci pumps.
Highly organised and always 10 steps ahead.
I am always travelling at the moment, so fortunately there isn't a moment when I'm not feeling inspired.
I think the way you leave a company says a lot about you. So it's important not to burn bridges and to deliver until the day you leave. You never know who you will come across over the course of your career.
It can be tricky because I'm always on the go, but I love a green juice and a salad.
Being afraid to ask questions.
I start each and every morning with a run, even when I am travelling overseas. I find that it clears my head and helps me to prepare for the day ahead. Then in the evening, I am often working right into the night, in order to be across all time zones. Afterwards I will try to unwind by watching one of my favourite shows like Suits and I always try to fit in a healthy meal like some Japanese as well.
It doesn't take much to be a nice person, so treat people the way you would like to be treated.
It's top secret! There is a lot of planning happening right now though, from an international and technology perspective. We're working on collaborations and expansion, so watch this space.