If life were a CW drama, Nicole Richie would be the kind of girl everybody loves to hate. With success as a clothing, jewelry, and housewares designer (House of Harlow), actor (Camping, Great News), parent (Harlow, 10, and Sparrow, 9) and spouse (Joel Madden), she seems to be the kind of modern-day superwoman that does it all — on her own and stylishly, no less.
But this is real life — and for Richie is far more evolved (and honest). She’ll be the first to tell you that a big part of her success — from finding design inspiration to launching new ventures — relies on the power of sisterhood to amplify her wins. That’s exactly what she did when we sat down with her at the recent grand re-opening of LA’s Beverly Center. Below, she explains why standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other women beats out stepping on toes every time.
Start with sisterhood
“This idea of sisterhood is so special,” Richie tells GLAM. “The women in my life play a very different role than my husband, who is my partner in life. I love him, and I value him more than anything, of course, and at the same time, my girlfriends see a very different side of me. They’re coming from a place of being a female. It’s really everything.”
Crowdsource with your girls
“Relying on yourself puts a cap on how far you can go, but collaboration will get you everywhere. So every part of my life is all a collaboration — it’s not only important, but imperative,” she says. “I wouldn’t be where I am in any area of my life if it wasn’t for my girlfriends around me. First of all, they’re my greatest inspiration and who I want to impress all the time. Everytime I design anything, I’m always thinking, what would my girlfriends wear? What do I feel like they need? And that’s just aesthetics.”
Seek a sis outside of your industry
Richie also taps the collective magic of her crew — some she has known since kindergarten — to help drive unexpected business ventures and evoke untapped potential. The key? She doesn’t overlook those in widely different fields.
“I think it’s so important to surround yourself with people who do things that you don’t do,” she says. “One of my best friends is co-founder of Clique Brands and we are nothing alike, but I love sitting down with her and picking her brain. She brings me to another level. For me to hear an honest opinion on how I could improve in my business? It makes me smarter, it elevates me, it gives me a new perspective — and we should always be open to a different perspective.”
Photo: Nicole Richie and Rashida Jones at the Beverly Center Grand Reveal Weekend in Los Angeles/SplashNews
Take advantage of the sisterhood grapevine
At this stage in her career, the 37-year-old is finding that the relationships she’s made along the way are the very ones that help birth new ventures. “In being around such incredible, talented, strong women — and mind you a lot of my friends don’t necessarily work in the entertainment industry — it definitely all comes together where you do cross paths, especially now,” she says. In teaming up with the women-led Working Sundays, for example, Richie has helped conceptualize Wylde Honey, a comedic digital series (launching November 15 on Yahoo Lifestyle) that will feature a see-now-buy-now shoppable platform built in. The partnership? It came courtesy of the sisterhood grapevine.
“The women behind Working Sundays have been in LA a very long time, we have many mutual friends. From hearing about me through their girlfriends who I’m friends with, we came together,” she says. “So this would be my strongest advice to anyone going into their 30s: I don’t care who you know, you always circle back to them, and it’s really interesting to see how you can come together with somebody because they have heard about you from someone else. Our footprint is very strong. Our footprint is permanent, and our words are permanent. So what we put out in the world always comes back around and in the most random, crazy ways.”
Tap into shared values and team up
If your twenties are for forging your own way in the world, Richie sees the next decade as a time to join forces with other cool-ass chicks for a greater outcome. “I’ve sat across from people — and I’m still doing it now — where I’m like, ‘we don’t have anything in common in our work worlds, but can we start a business or something?’’’ she says. “Because at this point, you understand the amount of work and time it takes away from your home or your kids. So if I’m going to go out there, I actually want this to be enjoyable, and I want to be inspired.”
She continues, “It’s become an opposite thing. Instead of thinking, ‘we do the same thing, maybe we should work together,’ it’s like, ‘let’s figure out how to work together, but I don’t know what we’ll do. I just want to be next to you and collaborating with you in whatever way.’ So the narrative is actually flipping.”