Remix editor Steven Fernandez sits down with global style icon Rachel Zoe at the Bumble Hive in West Hollywood to hear about how she balances her ever-growing empire with the demands of raising a family.
As a leading businesswoman, how do you stay empowered? What drives you to keep growing despite how much you’ve already done?
My children. Honestly, my children. I look at my little boys and I know it’s up to me to be the role model and to show them what women are capable of. I’m surrounded by incredible women and I think we all kind of push each other to do more. Ultimately, I think I’ve always had the blessing and curse of wanting to be the best at what I do. I always feel like I need to do more.
You seem like the kind of person that would struggle to enjoy a holiday because you’re always moving, right?
Totally. I don’t enjoy holidays. It takes me three days to get into the holiday and then it’s over.
How do you juggle your crazy busy lifestyle with the demands of being a mother?
It’s hard. It’s really hard. I can’t lie to you. I get asked that question almost every day by strangers, by friends. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I do the mom shifts at 5:45am, get them out the door at 8:15am and Rodger drives them to school. Then, I run up and get ready, I get to work, and then I get home. I almost always try to get home by 5pm so I can do dinner, bath and bed. I won’t yield on that. But it is hard; I mean it’s really hard. I’m tired and I don’t have any time for myself.
What was one really big challenge that you faced in starting out and how did you overcome that?
I think mean girls; girls that really didn’t want me to succeed. That was one of my biggest obstacles and I still have that. I think coming up in the fashion industry in my day there was no social media, there were no people knowing exactly who you were working with or what you were working on. There were a lot of people that really wanted to see me fail. What’s interesting is that the women that didn’t want to see me fail and were actually rooting for me are still my really close friends. I think having to get back up when I didn’t want to. That was the hardest.
So ironically, in some ways it was actually women that were the biggest challenge, but it was also women who helped you overcome.
It is, and that’s why I always say a bad woman is a bad woman, but a great woman is an amazing, extraordinary thing. When you have good women around you that genuinely want the best for you, that’s an incredible feeling. But sometimes you don’t and that does happen.
Especially in places like Los Angeles, right?
No, it was in New York. But yes, it does exist in Los Angeles too. It exists everywhere. I grew up with mean girls since I was five years old.
Why was it important for you to speak at Bumble Hive during its residency in West Hollywood?
Things like Bumble Hive are what keeps women together doing what they do. I think [Bumble founder and CEO] Whitney is one of the most extraordinary women I’ve met. I’ve seen her create these environments that give women a place to do what they need to do. I came because I support anything Whitney does and we really support each other. I have huge respect and admiration for her, she’s amazing.
Fashion trends change but style is timeless. What are some of the timeless traits across all trends you look for when curating The Zoe Report?
I design, style and shop with a timelessness in mind. Always. Am I going to want to wear this in six months? Am I going to want to wear this in a year? Am I going to want to wear this in a week? It’s about educating women about what they need. What I think they need, not just today but in a year. Also, what to invest in and what not to, then how to work this into their everyday life and how to translate trends into their lives.
Which makes it accessible to all women, who may not be able to buy a new wardrobe every week.
I mean, who can? Covering all price points is important.
Tell me about some of these exciting pieces in your Spring 2018 Box Of Style, which subscribers can have sent direct to their homes.
I do a quarterly box, called the Box Of Style, within which I curate pieces for every woman; things I would think they want delivered to their doorstep every few months. Also, things that I’m telling them about, that they wanted but couldn’t get or something exclusive. We do a lot of exclusives in each box that you can only get through the Box Of Style. Right now we have the California box, so everything in it is a Californian brand, with essentials for summer like a face spray or a palm leaf duster that you can throw on over anything.
Straight to your doorstep…
Super easy, right? My spring collection is white, bright and floral, black, white and lace - all the things that make us happy in Spring! White sequin tuxedos, white jumpsuits, all the sort of easy glamorous, timeless pieces you need in your life.
Rachel, what would be a piece of advice that you would give to your young self from your vantage point today? Or a young woman starting out in business?
Don’t let things knock you down; it’s really easy to get knocked down. It really is. I don’t want to sound negative but it is easy to lose faith, it’s easy to get discouraged, it’s easy to look at what other people are doing and think you don’t have a chance. I like to tell people, don’t look at what other people are doing, I never did. I never did when I was styling, I never looked at what the other stylists were doing. I think you can get lost and lose sight of who you are and what your message is. Also, figure out your key point of difference - what separates you from the rest? Always let your love and passion for what you do drive you, because if it’s money, that won’t get you to where you want to be.
When you do get a little bit of time in your schedule to yourself, what is something that you do for you to unwind and relax?
My kids and I will all get in our bathrobes and watch a cute movie and just shut down. Other than that, I’ll take a shower for 10 minutes instead of two. I’ll sit in my bed with my laptop and just lose myself in online shopping. But honestly, that’s it. There isn’t a lot of downtime unfortunately. Once in a while, Rodger and I will go to the Beverly Hills Hotel for a night and sleep in!
Open until late April, Bumble Hive LA is an interactive space designed for guests to enjoy complimentary entertainment, drinks and snacks, alongside engaging sessions with thought-leaders and entrepreneurs. The Hive creates a safe space to foster connections, in which attendees can also enjoy exclusive access to brands and products for the duration of the pop-up. All guests need is a Bumble, Bumble BFF, or Bumble Bizz profile at the door to enter.
Click here for more information about Bumble Hive LA.