Jul 20, 2021

5 Takeaways from Rebecca Minkoff's New Book Fearless

Fashion fans: if you're looking for something fun to read this summer, look no further than Rebecca Minkoff's new book Fearless. Those of you that know me well, know that I'm a sucker for two things: fashion exhibits and fashion books. So naturally, when I stumbled upon this book at the airport while waiting for a recent flight to LA, I purchased it. I'll be honest, I haven't kept up with her career aside from noticing when she appeared on Project Runway: Fashion Startup back in 2016, but I do remember the popularity of her handbags from back in the day. 

The book is divided into 21 different rules for success, including things like "Go for Purpose Over Payout", "Create Two Way Streets", and "Communicate Your Heart Out", which as a fashion publicist, resonates with me deeply. The book starts out by diving into Rebecca's early days in the fashion industry. She became a household name when a "I Love New York" t-shirt she designed was worn by a famous actress on The Tonight Show. Four years later, she designed her first handbag, and the rest is history. Here are my 5 favorite takeaways from the book. 

#1 - You Have More to Offer Than You Might Think 

In the early days of Rebecca's New York journey, she had no friends and virtually no money so she decided to spend her free time volunteering and began picking up hours at a space that hosted gallery nights for up-and-coming artists. "The only things I had to offer," says Rebecca, "were time and energy." Through the experience, she met like-minded people, expanded her network, and found a connection point to the city. 

There are so many young people today who are eager to break into the fashion industry but hold themselves back because they think they have nothing to offer when nothing could be further from the truth. Don't underestimate the value of time and energy. It's a resource that not everyone has, so if you have the time, interest, and energy to volunteer in spaces that speak to you, DO IT! You never know what you might learn or who you might meet. 

#2 - Don't Take It Personally If Something Doesn't Work Out

There will be many times throughout the course of your career that things won't work out the way you planned. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's the art of the pivot. You may test out great ideas that fail miserably for whatever reason and it's important not to berate yourself when that happens. In the book, Rebecca notes that ideas are experiments. The important thing is to learn from them and move on. "Every minute you spend stuck on the hamster wheel or why something didn't go exactly as you had planned is a minute you could be spending on creating something new." 

#3 - Networking Flows Both Ways

Relationships are everything in every industry, which is why networking is critically important for success. As you can imagine, the fashion industry in New York is notoriously cliquey, and since Rebecca started her career before the birth of social media, she was on her own when it came to navigating the world of fashion. The key to networking is about asking what can we do for each other versus asking what can you do for me? There should be a give and take. For example, if you are asking for introductions, be prepared to return the favor down the line. And don't forget to thank the people that have helped you along the way.

#4 - Talk A Lot of Shop

When Rebecca Minkoff was getting started, sample sales in New York were starting to take off. Not only was it a great way for designers to make some extra cash while cleaning out their storage rooms, it provided a fun experience for fashion fans. Rebecca noticed early on that sample sales were a great way to connect with customers and get their feedback on products. She got to eavesdrop on what people were saying and always paid attention to what products went first and which ones were left over at the end of the day. That insight proved to be invaluable and the community-building that the samples sales provided was a also a way for the brand to stay engaged with its audience. Rebecca Minkoff eventually started doing sample sales twice a year and it became an amazing way to get product into people's hands. 

#5 - Give Your Gut Some Credit

"I do not regret my big messy failures. I regret that when I knew in my gut something was wrong even when it was something small, I didn't have enough faith in myself to fight for what I knew was right," says Rebecca Minkoff. This is a big part of being fearless. You have to trust your gut. There is an inner knowing in each of us that is there to help guide us in the right direction. When we ignore that inner voice because it's not convenient, or we feel like we would be rocking the boat if we spoke up, we are blocking our own intuitive wisdom. Trust your gut. There is a reason it's called a "gut instinct" and those feelings are there for a reason. 

This is a great book for fashion students who are just starting out in the industry and want to hear words of widsom from someone who started small, worked hard, and built a $100 million dollar fashion empire. Fearless is full of lessons learned and tangible takeaways. It's a great summer read and I finished it over a long weekend. Find it at your local bookstore or on Amazon


The Disneyland Style Guide

Disneyland is now open to out-of-state travelers (as of June 15, 2021) and the park is back to full capacity. To manage attendance, the park is requiring all guests to have advance reservations at either Disneyland or California Adventure. Park hopper passes are also available and many of them require you to start your day at California Adventure and then cross over to Disneyland at 1 p.m. (Note: Theme park reservations are limited and subject to availability so book early if you can.) 

Disney App

Downloading the Disney app in advance is critical for a seamless day at the park. You'll need it for everything from checking out estimated wait times for rides to ordering food and drinks.  From the app,  you can join the virtual queue for the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride (highly recommend!) and find what you're looking for quickly with the GPS-enabled maps. 

Face Masks 

With regard to masks, face coverings are not required for fully vaccinated guests at Disneyland. Now that the park is open in full capacity, it's virtually impossible to properly social distance while waiting in line for popular rides, so plan accordingly if you want to be extra safe. 

The Best Rides

When we visited the park in mid-June, Fast Passes weren't available yet, so we had to wait in line for the rides we wanted to go on. You can burn up a lot of the day waiting in line at Disneyland, so if you have access to virtual queues or fast passes, definitely plan ahead and take advantage. Joining the virtual queue was the only way we could get on the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride and after missing the window to join several times, we FINALLY got access in the evening on our first day at Disneyland. If you have Star Wars fans in your family, this new ride can't be missed. 

At California Adventure, my kids loved going on the Radiator Springs Racers ride which is a cool kid roller coaster experience but fun for grown-ups, too. 

What to Wear

It's hot in Anaheim and generally in the 80's on most days, so be sure to apply sunscreen and dress in light-colored, lightweight fabrics or you won't last very long. We walked over 8 miles a day, both days at Disneyland and California Adventure with our park hopper passes so dressing for the weather and packing comfortable shoes is a must. 

Here are a few of my summer wardrobe favorites:

Athleta Tank Top

Gap Denim Overalls

Calson Linen Shorts

Gap Denim Shorts 

Converse Shoreline Shoes

Zella Tank Top

Downtown Disney

At Downtown Disney you'll find restaurants, shopping, and entertainment for guests of all ages. Admission is free and it's a great place to shop for Disney merch and grab dinner after a day at the park. We liked the burgers at Black Tap and tried the CrazyShake for dessert, too (pictured above). Plan in advance if you're hungry because every single restaurant had a wait time of 20-60+ minutes each time we visited. There's also a Starbucks on-site and a cool Star Wars store. 

Where to Stay 

For our Disney trip, we stayed at the Radisson Blu Anaheim, which is less than 5 minutes away from the park. The rooms are clean, spacious, and if you're traveling with kids, you can get a cool bunkbed room. The pool is great too and stays open late for evening swims. 

Disneyland is a great place to make memories with your family. Have fun, take pics, and make some epic memories!

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