Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade New York, shares her top tips on how women everywhere can reach their full potential.
Deborah Lloyd is a woman that has it all, and she’s not afraid to admit it. In fact, when we met her at a tea party she was hosting to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show, she told us: ‘I’m a firm believer that women can absolutely have it all. They can have whatever they want. You’ve got to be realistic, but if you focus, anything is possible.’
Having trained at the Royal College of Art in London, Lloyd cut her teeth designing for fashion houses including Aquascutum London and Kenzo, before spending five years at Burberry, where she won several British Fashion Council Awards, including classic designer of the year in 1998 and 1999. She then spent six years at Banana Republic before joining Kate Spade New York in 2007.
She now oversees all the creative aspects of the brand, which involves merchandising, PR, design services, oh, and the small task of creating a new collection across all sections of the brand – ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, jewellery etc – every single month!
In between that, she travels the world for work events, inspiration trips and spends her spare time cheering on her husband who races vintage cars.
Here, she shares her top tips to help other women reach their full potential:
Don’t let work take over your life
I work hard to ensure I have a work/life balance. My husband and I, and our two dogs, have an amazing life at home and I have an amazing life at work. I try and inspire my team to do the same. I started ‘Summer Fridays’, where my staff can leave work at 1pm each Friday during the summer months. They’ve now become a permanment year-round feature. It’s up to every individual to get their work done, but once they have, they can leave early without any questions asked.
Never take a job just for the money
Whatever you choose to do it’s going to be really hard and competitive, but if you love it you will stick at it. Never take a job just for the money because you will get miserable really quickly and won’t last long. If you enjoy what you do your passion will really show through and you’ll be successful.
Don’t be afraid to say no
During college I went to Italy to do work experience. I thought it was going to be an amazing experience but it just didn’t click. I didn’t like the people I worked with and I didn’t like the product. I stuck it out but I shouldn’t have. It was really hard and now I’m like ‘why did I do that to myself?’
Hone in on the skills that work for you
For me, it’s thinking visually. I’ve got a photographic memory for fabrics, colours and all the collections we’ve done. If someone holds something up I can tell you exactly which collection it was from, the theme, etc. I never really forget anything to do with the pieces I design. Find out what works best for you and use it every day.
Don’t let your summer style let you down at work
I can’t stand it when people bare too much flesh. My ultimate no-no is wearing skirts that are too short, especially when walking up escalators! Just because it’s hot, it doesn’t mean you have to dress shabbily. I love shirtwaister dresses and pretty sandals. A navy blazer makes everything look chic, too.
Learn from those around you
I’ve had a lot of inspirational people in my life. One of the biggest was Rosemary Bravo at Burberry. She allowed me to do amazing things there which really jump-started my career. I look at how she led me and use that. And then Michelle Smith, the designer at Milly NY, taught me anything is possible, which was, and still is, a really exciting concept to learn.
Do you believe women can have it all? Let us know in the comment box below.