I’m so excited to share this exclusive interview with you. Farissa Knox is a Chicago based entrepreneur, fashionista, author, speaker and an all around inspiration. Farissa founded RLM Media and WhatRUWearing (you should absolutely download this app if you haven’t already). I recently finished her new book Love, Sex & Friendship; In No Particular Order. I loved this candid look into her 20s. I had the pleasure of asking Farissa some follow up questions on fashion, relationships, and more.
1) AB: In your book, you always seem to have a positive outlook on whatever came your way. This is something I sometimes struggle with and I think is especially important for entrepreneurs. What advice do you have for staying positive no matter what?
FK: The first thing anyone who has accomplished anything will tell you is that in order to achieve what is to most people ‘the impossible’ is to be able to see through the obstacles and the only way to do that is to not get buried in the heaviness of mistakes or what comes your way. If you want to be successful, you have to think positively so that all of your energy is going towards achieving, and not dwelling in anything else. For some, this comes easier then to others, but if you work at it, anyone can do it.
2) AB: When you originally moved back to New York, you wrote that you were picking yourself over your relationship. Why do you think this is important, especially for women early in their careers?
FK: OMG! This is so important for women our entire lives, but especially in the beginning of our careers because that is the only time (unless you plan on being single and having no kids) that we can be 100% completely selfish and concentrate on what we want and not have to worry about the needs or desires of anyone else. The more you can do it in the beginning, the faster you can get to where you think you want to go without giving anything up on the other side!
3) AB: Do you feel you were at a disadvantage starting a fashion company in Chicago instead of New York?
FK: I actually think I was at an advantage. For every person like me, there are hundreds of thousands in New York. In Chicago, there are maybe tens of thousands. We aim to be an international brand, so where we are head quartered matters less then how I navigate the marketplace.
4) AB: I totally related when you said that women are long-term planners and “it’s just in our blood.” What advice do you have for dealing with the stress of uncertainty when things aren’t all neatly planned out?
FK: It is so hard to deal with that feeling. The way I deal is by planning out for as far as I can see. When I start to feel off balance or out of control or not sure of the next step, I look out as far as I can see and adjust the plan from here to there. It helps put things back into perspective- even if they have to change.
5) AB: There’s so much competition in the fashion industry. How did you set WRUW apart?
FK: There is so much attention paid to celebrities and bloggers who have access to clothes that are unattainable for most of their followers or readers. I wanted to create a space for the style-obsessed trendsetter who shops where most people shop (F21/H&M/Zara…) and looks damn good doing it. WRUW is a place that this girl can not just post/share, but take a peek at what her spirit animals all across the world are wearing everyday.
6) AB: What are three must-haves that every fashion-preneur should have in her wardrobe?
FK: Cute. Everyone needs a killer black dress that you can wear in any season, a pair of heels that look ridiculously uncomfortable but are, and a pair of jeans that goes with heels, booties and sneakers so you can be ready for any occasion.
7) AB: What do you look for in a WRUW intern?
FK: Someone who, first and foremost, understands the brand and where I am trying to take it. Then I love for them to have drive and the desire to be the best at PR, Editorial or Social Media. Bring something new to the table that we haven’t thought of yet and love to have fun!
8) AB: What’s the biggest mistake that an intern can make?
FK: Not trying to add value to the relationship. The worse interns are the ones who think they are here to get a notch on their resume and not to give us anything. We haven’t had any of those!
9) AB: Where is your favorite place to shop in Chicago?
FK: I am HUGE online shopper and love to do most of my shopping that way since I am so busy. But when I do have time, I love to go to high-end re-sale shops to see what I can find. I once found a Robe Coat from SAKS for $15
10) AB: What’s your top piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?
FK: If you are just getting started, don’t get discouraged. There are going to be up’s and downs and sometimes you won’t feel like you are getting anywhere. But one day you will look up and 6 months will have passed and then 12 and then 24 and you will see the progress!