Career Code: Rachel Zoe Wants You to Succeed at Work (Here's How)

In honour of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s upcoming book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career (£12), we secured an interview with one of most inspirational female leaders in the fashion industry, Rachel Zoe.

To say Rachel Zoe is a fashion powerhouse is an understatement—fashion mogul is more like it. Not only is RZ one of the most stylish ladies in the business, she's also catapulted her career from celebrity stylist to full-on entrepreneur as the editor in chief of The Zoe Report (which reaches 13 million people worldwide and recently launched subscription style service, Box of Style); a designer; an author; and a working mum. She's on top of her game and has conquered every aspect of her industry—and has no intention of slowing down. (Like, ever.) So naturally we wanted to know just how she manages to do it all.

Keep scrolling to learn more about Rachel's secret to success and get inspired to take control of your work life—just like RZ herself.


"Like most modern women, I do a million different things. Though my job title used to simply be ‘stylist,’ I’m now the editor in chief of The Zoe Reporta designer for my clothing, jewelry and footwear collections; an author; and a working mum. One-hundred percent of my time is spent balancing work and time with my family."

"I believe in being very hands-on and transparent—my door is almost never closed. I spend lots of one-on-one time with my team while I’m in the office, because I think it’s so important to be accessible at all times."

"I wore a vintage Chanel jacket with black pants and a white button-down shirt… and pearls! I felt like I needed to look very conservative. I later purchased a Chanel briefcase."

"Oprah…duh! Need I say more?"

"WWD and Business of Fashion."

"Being naïve and trusting the wrong people."

"Passion, enthusiasm, experience (quality over quantity), knowledge of my business, and, most importantly, someone who always smiles and has good energy… That really goes a long way."

"A black or white tailored suit or tuxedo. Usually with a white shirt underneath, classic pumps, and a red lip."

Above: Rachel Zoe Tuxedo Blazer (£297); Rachel Zoe Talia Ruffled Blouse (£227); Gianvito Rossi Carla High Suede Pumps (£625)

"I think my assistant would say that I'm hard-working and capable of multitasking! I pride myself on being kind to everyone. I think she would also say that I always have good snacks… Once a Jewish mom, always a Jewish mom!"

"If I have the luxury of time, I like to remove myself from my environment and take a quick trip to get away! When I don't have the time, I grab an English breakfast tea and get some fresh air—I'm always inspired by nature, and I love to take a few minutes to stop and smell the roses… literally!"

"I've only ever had to resign from one job in my life to go freelance at the age of 25. Giving advance notice to your employer and giving the time to train your replacement is so important. It will also do wonders to keep your relationship with that employer positive—which also gives them the opportunity to counter and possibly fight for you. You never know what opportunities might be on the table."

"If I order in, I always get an açaí bowl from Backyard Bowl or a Greek salad from Urth Caffe. And if I go out for lunch, it's usually to Soho House. It's a great off-site office where I can schedule back-to-back meetings while enjoying the incredible view."

"I would say having a sense of entitlement. I feel like there is a trend with young professionals where they expect to climb the ladder much faster than is realistic. In regard to my peers, a common mistake is talking badly about their competition. It’s so important to always be mindful of what you are saying (and to whom)."

"Marc Jacobs: He is such a dear friend, and I feel like he never filters what he posts—what you see is what you get!

"Givenchy: Everything seems as though it comes straight from Riccardo Tisci, and his posts always include a model or actress who I’m excited about. 

"Balmain: Olivier Rousteing is always posting a plethora of supermodels—his posts are fashionably sexy and over the top.

"Burberry: I'm such a fan of what Christopher Bailey has created over the past few years. I really admire the way he merges tech with fashion.

"Gwyneth Paltrow: I feel like I can hear her voice in her posts… She's really honest and practices what she preaches!"

"My older son, Skyler, is my human alarm clock. He wakes me up face to face anywhere from 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. I make the kids’ breakfast and Skyler's lunch. I usually drop Sky at school on my way to the office and sometimes bring Kaius with me. In the evenings after work, I make dinner and we do bath time, story time, and bedtime. If we don't have dinner plans out, Rodger and I usually have dinner at home and play catch-up on our days. I typically shower at night, which helps speed up my morning routine. And more often than not, I fall asleep in bed with my laptop open, mid email."

"Not everyone you work with has to be your best friend. I think it's important to have a mutual admiration and respect for your colleagues, but they don't have be a part of your social circle. This took me a while to learn, but as my company has grown, this has gotten easier for me to practice."

"I'm most excited about my ever-growing media business, the launch of my e-commerce site, and the continued growth of The Zoe Report. I’m currently finalizing my Resort 17 collection, and I'm looking forward to curating the next Box of Style! There are some really great things on the horizon!"

What's the best career advice you've ever received? Let us know in the comments.

Opening Image: Rachel Zoe

Related Stories