Jenna Lyons is on the cover of the current issue of Fast Company, and as ever the President and Creative Director of J.Crew does not hold back. She does however acknowledge that her famously candid quips might be “to a fault. I might take my teeth out.” Those teeth we learn were not always so perfect, and Lyons admits to being relentlessly teased for a congenital medical condition caused scarred skin, patchy hair, and lost teeth.
No matter. From “ugly ducking to fashion arbiter,” Jenna’s got the goods. And for anyone just starting out as an assistant, know there is hope for you to climb the corporate ladder yet.
How she got her start:
“As an ‘assistant to an assistant to someone else’s assistant.'”
“I didn’t think it was possible. I just assumed I’d plateau and that there would be no place for me to go.”
On her dual role as top creative executive and president:
“What it says, is that no financial decision weighs heavier than a creative decision. They are equal.”
On managing creative types:
“When someone creates something and puts it in front of you, that thing came from inside of them, and if you make them feel bad, it’s going to be hard to fix, because you’ve actually crushed them.”
On transforming the J. Crew aesthetic:
“For me, it was like, ‘I really want to get my hands on that because I want it to look more cohesive, and it’s driving me crazy.'”
On her drive:
“I felt a huge drive to make clothes that everybody could have because I felt ostracized by that world of beauty and fashion.
For more from Jenna and J.Crew, read the full article here.