Hilary Duff Explains Why Taking a Break Can Be the Key to Your Career
Hilary Duff, the beloved star from Lizzie McGuire, is now a mom and a total boss who calls the shots on all of her collaboration deals. After her Disney days, the actor has boldly spread her entrepreneurial wings and expanded her brand to include a vast array of business opportunities.
One of her most recent collaborations is with GlassesUSA.com, an online retailer of prescription eyewear. When Duff first learned that the company was interested in working with her, she was excited for the challenge. She was yearning for a creative outlet and designing a collection felt like the perfect fit. She also loved that the brand was open to giving her complete freedom to design a collection.
After a few conversations, Duff and GlassesUSA.com decided to create the Muse x Hilary Duff Eyewear Collection, beautifully designed eyewear that was both affordable and comfortable. Demonstrating her commitment to women’s empowerment, Duff chose to name each pair in the collection after a powerful woman in history.
The collection first launched in January, and its success led to the Bold Capsule, a limited-edition collection of Muse x Hilary Duff that launched on September 5.
Designing a collection with a well-known brand is a dream for many bloggers and creative business owners. So, I asked Duff about what advice she could share with other entrepreneurs on how to make this dream a reality.
How did the conversations begin with GlassesUSA.com? Did they approach you or vice-versa?
Duff: This was a totally unexpected partnership. I have regular conversations with my team about ideas I have and the direction I want to take my brand. I am approached a lot about various opportunities, and my team does an incredible job of vetting them.
With this, GlassesUSA.com reached out to do a one-off Instagram post wearing their glasses. I’m a total sunglass junkie and I loved their brand, so I said sure! After that post, the relationship organically grew into a collaboration where they asked me to design a capsule collection.
The one-off post was a great way to test the waters to see if we were a good fit for each other and if felt authentic to me to explore a deeper partnership.
You exude such poise and having your "feet firmly on the ground" in your interviews. You’ve shared that checking in with yourself is very important in order to discover yourself. What does it mean, to you, to check in with yourself?
I’m still on the path of discovering myself. What has helped me is to write things down. Whether it’s business, personal, reflections on parenting, it helps me to discover what’s really going on inside. From there, I lean in to what feels good, even if it feels uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable leads to bold opportunities, and bold opportunities are where dreams come alive.
You've had an outstanding career with incredible longevity. What are one or two key business decisions you've made, that have enabled you to have a successful, long career?
You know, I got really lucky with Lizzie McGuire. I booked that opportunity at a really young age, and it established a great platform for me -- and a chance to build a career based on authenticity, because I was so much like Lizzie. People loved her and, in turn, loved me. Since then, I’ve continued to be honest, relatable and approachable. I’m an open book, and that has really helped me navigate business relationships, because I only do projects that are authentic to me. Because of that, I also take my time with decisions. I don’t rush into anything that doesn’t feel right.
The other decision I have made is to take breaks and reflect. I took a big break before and after my first pregnancy, and that space allowed me to reevaluate what was no longer working for me. I broke away from my team of 10 years. After having someone else make all of my business decisions, do all of my negotiating, it was time for me to grow up and be an entrepreneur. I surrounded myself with new people and made more decisions for my business.
What are one or two business lessons you have learned with your GlassesUSA.com partnership?
You know when GlassesUSA.com approached me, I was very intimidated. Here’s this big machine that wants to work with me, and I thought, What do I have to offer? But, then I checked in with myself and realized that I absolutely have something to offer. I have a lot of value to bring the table.
I know what women around the age of 30 want to wear, how they feel, their dreams, desires and goals. Not only am I one of those women, but a lot of my followers are those women and have grown up with me from my Lizzie McGuire days. That knowledge and expertise I have is valuable to a company seeking to connect with this group of women. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this partnership. The importance of knowing your worth and sticking to it.
How do you feel your Muse x Hilary Duff collection and featuring women leaders/pioneers fits into today's culture?
It is so important. I am inspired by women who have paved the way for us by doing something bold, something uncomfortable and have fought to make their dream a reality. Wearing something with their name on it gives me confidence to continue to pursue my dreams and I hope it does the same for others.
What is your recommendation to an up-and-coming blogger who wishes to create partnerships with brands? How do you balance the desire to grow your business with being authentic?
Well, if I am completely honest, I have to say that I’m a little envious of bloggers. Because they have created a space for themselves where their readers actively seek them out for their authenticity. With that said, my one piece of advice is to keep doing what you’re doing and focus on knowing your worth. You and your work is valuable. Your message matters and brands are eager to work with you, just as you are.