Fashion designer and entrepreuner Hilary Novelle Hahn is a rockstar (literally) who has decided to change the fashion world with her use of social media and female empowerment focused products! Check out the scoop on Hilary to learn more about her, her story, and her awesome clothing!
You are the founder of The Style Club! Can you tell our readers what your company is and how you first started the company?
The Style Club is a fashion apparel brand for the social media generation. We make clothes that send a message whether it’s to spread a little girl power or promote love and unity. We want to empower women with our collections and bring a little fun to their wardrobe.
What were you up to before starting The Style Club?
The Style Club started back when I opened for Destiny’s Child and Christina Aguilera making my costumes before I went on stage. Levis was the tour sponsor which meant there was free Levis denim on tap. Every girls dream, I know! I was designing a new pair of jeans everyday! Ripping, shredding, bedazzling, embroidering, sticking patches all over anything I could because I didn’t have the money to buy fancy costumes. It quickly caught the eyes of the girls on tour and the head designers at Levis and I soon became the “Levis Girl”. Little did I know, that was when The Style Club was born. Over time, it has evolved into what it is today. Somewhere in the middle there though, I was working at a fashion start-up and doing fashion correspondent work.
What is your best seller? Can you explain to us how you first thought of the design of it and why it sells so well?
Our Babe collection and Love Club bomber jackets sell really well. Our pieces are meant to make a statement. I think these little written messages are reminders to yourself and to the world that you’re a babe and you’re part of something bigger! In everything we design, we want that message to resonate.
You have multiple products in your line. What is the overall vision for your company and how do you plan on expanding from here?
We are all about female empowerment and saying something a little bit more than your average tee. For example: our People for Peace tee that is part of the Love Club collection. We represent positivity and unity. We want to continue that in our next collections as our brand evolves. Our next collection is a collaboration with artist Robin Eisenberg that’s inspired by a Spike Lee Film called “Do the Right Thing”.
Just recently, you were on Shark Tank! What was that experience like and how did you prepare for it?
It was one of the best experiences. They have such an amazing and talented group of people putting that show together. I really enjoyed working with them. To prepare, I just read everything and kept myself focused on my business and what our competitors are doing and how we can do better. I also practiced a lot in front of my friends and family.
Any female entrepreneur has had her fair share of backlash. How have you handled that sort of thing?
You just have to keep moving. People are going to put you down no matter what. The hardest thing for me is when other female entrepreneurs do this. I’m a firm believer that women need to support each other and stick together because it’s hard enough out there as it is.
Do you consider yourself as a woman breaking the glass ceiling? Why or why not?
I don’t know, possibly? I mean, it’s getting harder and harder for entrepreneurs, especially women, to enter into the VC game. It’s a male dominated area and it’s flooded with the already wealthy and connected. So unless you are already well connected or well backed by friends and family from the start, it can be really hard to break through. I don’t want to come off negative because anything is possible, but you have to fight for it and find a way to build something big enough that they end up coming to you. I think I’m now just starting to build something that is getting some looks from people who would otherwise laugh me out of the room.
As someone who wants to have it all, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out the right balance in life. Is it difficult for you to balance you career and personal life?
Yes. My business comes first for right now, but as a woman I would like to get married and start a family. I think it’s hard for me to step away from work and focus on my social/love life, but I’ll manage.
Can you tell us a fun fact or two about yourself that we might not expect to hear?
I’m a really good basketball player. I love dropping that fact in anywhere I can. I wanted to be the first girl to make it to the NBA when I was little. Sadly, I stopped growing, but I’ll still beat most of the boys on the court in a pick-up game.
What advice would you give to future female entrepreneurs?
Know that we do everything better backwards and in heels. Don’t let the men intimidate you. They would never be able to handle even a second in our shoes!
Do you have any final thoughts that you want to inspire our readers with?
If you want to start something, do it. Go for it! Don’t worry about the bad days or the roadblocks you might come across because you’ll have a million of them, but you’ll learn from it all and it will all be worth it in the end!