Class is officially in session.
It’s an exciting day at Teen Vogue’s New York City headquarters. Around 500 girls from around the globe are joining us at our new home in One World Trade Center for this year’s Fashion University to learn all about the business from our all-star speakers. And the dean of the event? None other than our first-ever cover girl Jessica Simpson, who filled us in on how she’s gone from musician to actress to one of fashion’s biggest female moguls.
During Jessica’s panel with editor in chief Amy Astley, she shared everything from what inspires her line to how she’s built such a successful career.
Here are 10 tips from the business woman herself.
1. Be inspired by everything around you.
I’m always inspired by women—even at the airport, just watching people walk through and seeing what they’re wearing. Then I’m also inspired by the runway models that I’ll never be tall enough to be. I really do believe it’s all about what you feel inside, and if you believe, that can transform into a brand or whatever you want it to be.
2. Learn from others.
You have to get to that place in your life where you really just listen to what you need and what you want. People might be more successful than you, but you should listen to those people and take their advice. Humility is the key. I’m inspired by all designers—I’m not sitting up here saying I’m a designer and I’m amazing at what I do. It’s OK to take that inspiration and try and incorporate it into your own life.
3. Use being the newbie in the business as a tool.
You need to know you’re a newcomer. Know your place and respect the people around you. Always listen. Listening is key because there are so many people out there who can help make your visions come to life. That’s success. But it’s hard—we have egos and sometimes we don’t want to listen.
4. Let being a woman empower you.
I really don’t feel intimidated by men. Intimidation is a normal way to feel, but I’ve gone through so many things in my life…even in my music career in the very beginning at 14 years old. But whether the experiences are good or bad, they lead you to where you’re supposed to be.
5. Don’t let anything (or anyone!) get you down.
I had so many let-downs—so much stuff to go through and try to persevere through. That’s what makes you beautiful. That’s what makes your clothes who you are, and that’s what makes your blogs what you want them to be. I had success—I’ll admit that—but I’ve also been through a lot of heartbreak. I’ve had to make decisions, and sometimes they were the right ones and sometimes they were the wrong ones. And that’s OK.
6. Turn your passion into a career.
My mom would always be the one who would dress me. I never wore the same thing twice—I was my mom’s paper doll that she dreamt about a long time ago when she was a little girl. That’s when I started to fall in love with clothes. We didn’t have money growing up—I was a minister’s daughter. There wasn’t a lot there, but we would go into department stores and she would create outfits for me.
7. Listen to your instincts.
Listen to yourself, know yourself, and know how to listen to yourself. Know what you want. It’s always going to change, and that’s OK. You go through so many different phases in your life, and I think it’s important to accept all those phases and understand them.
8. Know the key to success is simply being yourself.
I’m just being myself. I say random things. I am who I am, and I think that’s what makes someone successful. That’s what everyone needs to know within themselves. It’s OK to be weird, it’s OK to say the wrong thing, it’s OK to stick your foot in your mouth sometimes.
9. Don’t let people tell you there’s something you can’t do.
I don’t define myself as a musician, actor, or designer—I feel like that’s never been part of my psyche. Even though I’ve been doing this since I was 14. I think you can be any and everything. Coming from a place of purpose is always the most important, whether you’re singing, acting, blogging, creating—whatever it is. You have to know you can achieve it, and you have to understand what your own purpose is. Even through all the trials and tribulations, there’s success.
10. Don’t care what other people think.
We’re always going to worry about what people think—honestly it’s every day of a woman’s life. But to be able to understand your inner beauty and the core of who you are and your heart, it doesn’t get more beautiful.