I Want Your Job: Blythe Harris, CCO Of Stella & Dot
Blythe Harris doesn't get the Sunday scaries.
Harris, a California girl in both sunny disposition and self-assuredness, is the Chief Creative Officer of Stella & Dot. The social selling platform, a bohemian mecca of brightly-colored baubles, is every Instagram model's favorite accessories label and an Inc. 500 fastest-growing company.
That underlying brightness is evident in Harris' uninhibited enthusiasm for heading into work on Monday.
“On Sunday, I am like a kid before Christmas,” she tells me.
That's because Harris' love for her job is evident. It's in the way she talks about biannual inspirational trips to London and Paris. It's even apparent in her description of an average day's schedule, which always starts with “something creative” and ends with executive duties.
She is also the sort of woman who makes everyday life seem entirely effortless, which means I'm all the more intimidated when we finally touch base. I needn't have worried, though, because Harris speaks with the same assuredness and relatability of a close friend.
Three days earlier, she'd gotten back from a combination work and pleasure trip to Japan. It was hardly a mishmash of sushi and Hello Kitty, though.
“I went to Hokkaido and Niseko to go backcountry skiing. I love adventure,” Harris says. “I always love putting myself in uncomfortable situations. It's the way I keep my brain really motivated and open.”
It's hard not to vibe off of Harris' enthusiasm, whether it's about Tokyo street style or her love for her profession.
Harris is a fervent believer in blocking off chunks of time. She loves to start the day by thinking creatively, so mornings are comprised of meetings with design teams. Afternoons are for cross-sectional meetings.
The CCO exhibits the same kind of laser-precise organization when it comes to time spent with her children. While work-life balance is still one of the biggest challenges she and other professional women face, she stresses the importance of spending time with her two sons.
“When I'm home, I put away my phone. I schedule the important, really significant time with them and do really high-impact things. I try to take them on a field trip every year. I … really focus on them,” Harris says.
What makes Harris a force to be reckoned with, however, isn't just her dedication to focus and eye for what works creatively. It's the business acumen Harris acquired at an early age that helped propel her.
While still in college at Columbia, Harris helped started a toy company. The experience helped shed light on the skill set she'd one day need.
“I needed to know about supply chain and operations and accounting and the whole business side of it,” says Harris. “That's what's been really empowering — to have both the creative and the business knowledge and not just be in one box.”
There was also fashion know-how to master. Harris won a spot as artist-in-residence at the ultra-prestigious Parson's School of Design in Paris. She studied sculpture and accessories design, finally returning to New York to pursue an MBA.
That's not to say that the road has always been easy. Harris' dream job was a desk in the watches and jewelry division at Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. She flew herself over to Paris to meet with the CEO, who told her he intended on hiring someone local for the job, and definitely not an American.
In true girl boss fashion, Harris didn't take no for an answer. She came up with solutions for every problem he posed.
“I fought hard for it,” Harris recalls. “And I got the job.”
At Stella & Dot, unlike traditional retailers, the social selling platform allows independent fans (called “stylists”) to grow their own fan bases and sell jewelry on their own time. It's those stylists who inspire Harris the most.
“All these women that are a part of our community — each of them have such an amazing story. They're all incredibly inspiring,” she explains.
If Harris' job and the perks that come along with it — frequent travel, getting to collaborate with such inspiring women — seem too good to be true, it's because she designed it that way. Her career goal was not only to have a job, but also a passion and a lifestyle.
Those values ring true in the way she describes seeing the first samples of a new collection (“The first tangible result — it's so fun!”) to the way she discusses the customizability of each piece (“There are so many ways to go in terms of color or seam!”).
It's this kind of badass attitude that Harris advises women to carry throughout their lives and careers — be it at college, an internship or a first job.
“Have a vision and a point of view,” she says. “That's the most important thing.”
Everything about Harris' life is high impact. For a woman's whose motto is “get yourself out of your comfort zone,” it only makes sense.
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