Laura Jones is a most unusual successful celebrity stylist. For many years, she focused on the latest trends and who is wearing what these days.
Then, as if hit by a lightning bolt, she awakened to the impact the fashion industry is having on the environment when she had a meeting with a sustainable fashion designer, and it changed her at her core.
It made her re-evaluate the work she had been doing and what she knew. As a result, in 2018 she started a new magazine focused on sustainable fashion called Frontlash.
When I interviewed Jones at the Earth Day Network 2019 gala recently, we talked a lot about the roots of the fashion industry’s struggle to be sustainable, and the innovations that are evolving from and will continue to evolve from that journey. You can read about that in my other Forbes blog here.
Since Jones pivoted her career quite dramatically to align her work more with her new values, I asked her how she did it and what career advice she has for other women.
Here are career tips from our conversation:
- Ask a lot of questions: Jones explained that the key to her maintaining her sanity and being able to succeed in launching the magazine was that she asked a lot of questions. “Ask a lot of questions, more than you think is acceptable. And, you should ask those questions of yourself…of your family….of everyone that you know or that knows someone in the field you want to go into.” These answers will help open your eyes to the reality of the world you think you want to get into, so you are better prepared.”
- Understand the stages of your pivot: Getting those answers will help you understand how do make the shift. It will be in stages, Jones said, whether you shift completely like she did, or more gradually by maintaining your day job or other current work portfolio.
- Be willing to see your new world with open eyes: “You’ll find out that things are different in the world you’re passionate about and in your current world,” Jones said, so be willing to see those differences and make choices with as clear an understanding as possible at each stage.
“An inquiring, curious mind is the fundamental basis towards a successful pivot of any kind,” Jones insisted, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s also the key to a richer life.
- Get your ducks in a row before you jump: Jones recognized that she had the resources and situation to be able to take a few months off of her normal work to be able to pivot and explore this new magazine venture, and that not everyone can do that. You can work up to that point or leverage the resources you do have to do it at least incrementally until you can shift.
If you have a day job, you may want to read my blog or listen to my podcast on protecting your side hustle with critical tips from a veteran intellectual property attorney as part of your preparation.
- Be willing to question your ways: Jones said the realization about how terrible fashion is for the environment and her desire to live her values, made her question every choice she made and the work she had been doing up to that point. Adding that it was a reawakening that made her new journey possible, so she could create “a vision for what I think fashion can be.”
- Find a way to leverage the skills you have: At first, Jones thought she did not have the skillset to address the sustainability issues in the fashion industry and that she had to go back to school for a science degree. Then she realized she could use her storytelling skills and deep contacts in the industry to make a difference in another way.
“All skill sets are entirely worthy,” Jones explained, “because when we’re talking about environmentalism…it’s all of us…each of us can find a way to leverage our skillset, our community, our voice, our friends, our family, however small or big it may be, to contribute to creating change.”
“I think that’s been the most rewarding part of this entire journey.”