An Interview with Entrepreneur Extraordinaire: Kelly Hoey
Posted on April 15 2015
Left: Jia Li Right: Kelly Hoey
We love what we do here at Jia Collection: we get the privilege of designing clothes for amazing women doing amazing things. Recently, our designer Jia was excited to collaborate with one such amazing woman. Kelly Hoey is a CMO, strategist, speaker, startup advisor, and board member. Despite her incredibly jam-packed schedule, Kelly still found the time to share a little bit about herself, as well as why she loves Jia Collection (she recently took our Max scarf/cape on her business trip). In this interview, Kelly divulges a little bit about how she manages to accomplish everything that she does each day.
- How did you discover Jia Collection?
Hoey: Through the founder herself, Jia Li. Jia connected with me back in 2012 when I was operating Women Innovate Mobile (Accelerator) and hosting the Founders Breakfast speaker series. Jump ahead to the Winter of 2014/2015, Jia has stayed in touch with me (primarily through social media) to keep me up-to-date on developments with her business and when she jumped at the opportunity to be interviewed for my “In Conversation With” column on SharpHeels, we really clicked.
- What do you like most about Jia Collection's designs?
Hoey: Timeless and genuine are the guiding words for my style and Jia Collection is both. And as my schedule includes a lot of diversity – from geography to industry to titles - having pieces that are multifunctional and stylish is essential for me.
- What do you think are the biggest differentiating benefits of Jia's designs versus other fashion brands?
Hoey: High quality, multifunctional separates which are effortless. Jia’s designs provide the inspiration to make these pieces your own by incorporating them into your own lifestyle and with your existing go-to closet items.
- What do you envision the fashion industry in 20 years? What kind of fashion designs would you like to see and wear more?
Hoey: I’m hoping that wearable tech will be far more fashionable in 20 years! For me, I know style, comfort, natural materials and classic design will continue to be what I’m looking for.
- How do you see tech and fashion merging these days, and what is tech's biggest influence on fashion? How can fashion brands take advantage of that?
Hoey: I think we’re seeing fashion’s impact on tech. Look at the sales strategy for the new Apple watch? Boom! It had Angela Ahrendts’ luxury brand strategy written all over it. The biggest impact on all consumer brands is mobile and the ever-connected consumer. How can products improve her life and connect with her genuinely?
- What is your motto?
Hoey: Invest in the change you want to see in the world.
- Biggest regret?
Hoey: If I don’t live the life I want to lead, I’ll regret that.
- Which talent would you like to have?
Hoey: Two finger, one handed whistle. It would make hailing cabs so much easier.
- What’s the most important startup/entrepreneurship lesson you’ve learned?
Hoey: Entrepreneurship can hit you at anytime and it is never to late to start. For me, it was 2009 after 18 years in the legal industry.
- What makes you happy and what makes you upset?
Hoey: I’m an optimist. I can see the bright side to most outcomes.
- One place and time you’d like to visit?
Hoey: I’m happy with the here and now, although I do wonder how the pyramids were built.
- How do you get so much done and stay focused? Any productivity tips to share?
Hoey: I chunk time in my calendar to get things done. My mornings are my most productive “thinking” time so I do not schedule meetings or calls then (plus I turn off my phone and email). I don’t take coffee meetings when a 15-minute call will suffice. I try to avoid being a slave to email by dedicating time to it, twice a day. I also use TeuxDeux (to do list) and I’m really loving Inbox by Gmail.
- Have you personally witnessed and supported the turnaround of a startup business? What do you think are the major reasons that made them successfully turn around the business?
Hoey: Stamina of the founder – along with focus and tenacity. The tech press would have you believe that it takes no time and little money to have a business. Wrong! It may take fewer resources to start a business in 2015 however, if you lack stamina it doesn’t matter how great your idea or promise is.
- You are described by Forbes as one of five women changing the world of venture capital entrepreneurship. Is there any advice you can give to the fashion entrepreneurs if they want to raise fund to grow and scale their business?
Hoey: Know what your business needs in terms of funding, not simply funding for funding sake. Not all money is the same so figure out who would be the best type of investor to partner with. Then Network. Network. Network. Your fundraising efforts start well before you need the money. Investors need to know you and believe in you as the founder, they aren’t simply buying into a big market opportunity.
- You have seen many entrepreneurs succeed and fail. For the successful ones, what do you think are the major reasons that make them a success, and for the failed ones, what tips you can give them on not to losing faith in themselves and moving forward?
Hoey: The successful ones are the founders who learn and move forward from their failures or past mistakes. I strongly recommend Daniel Lubetzky’s book Do the KIND Thing. Daniel is the CEO and Founder of KIND, the healthy snack bars we’re all addicted to and have created a new market category. In his book, Daniel is brutally honest on the 10 years of mistakes he made with his prior food-industry focused company. Learning from those mistakes paved the way for KIND’s staggering success.
We are so grateful for Hoey’s insightful words about entrepreneurship, and we hope you learned as much from them as we did. We are very honored to be featured as one of the innovators in Kelly's newsletter. Be sure to stay tuned later in this week to learn more about Hoey’s go-to organizational tools, and photos of her wearing Jia Collection on her recent trip.