This month's KITRI spotlight muse is former Grazia features editor and founder of digital platform WorkWorkWork, Katherine Ormerod - a fashion industry expert constantly challenging the face of the ever-evolving digital world for women. After hosting our first KITRI pop up customer event discussing perfectionism in and out of the office and how to manage the feeling of inadequacy amongst women, we met up with Katherine to find out more about the woman behind the bangs.
For those who aren’t familiar, tell us a little about WorkWorkWork
WorkWorkWork is a platform I set up to offer a space for people – women specifically who work in aspirational industries and social media in particular, to share the less photogenic sides of their lives with their peers and followers.
We love the WorkWorkWork motto – (1. No-one’s Life Is Perfect, 2. Nothing Worth Having Comes For Free, 3. What You See Isn’t Always What You Get) – Have you got a personal motto you live by?
Balance. I try to balance out doing things that feel inspiring and real to me and things that pay the bills. For me, it’s about trying to find that balance in terms of your output and making sure that at no point you forget that there is a commercial side of life where you have to do things to earn money and there’s a more inspired and inspiring side of life where you can invest your time and energy into doing something that makes a difference.
What’s the biggest career lesson that you’ve learned from a mistake over the years?
I don’t think I’ve made any mistakes in my career to be honest. I always look at it as one door closes, another door opens. Of course, there are times when I think ‘It would've been so great to do that’ or ‘I wish I had that opportunity to make that happen’ but you have to keep progressing. If you feel stuck somewhere it’s always a good time to move on. I always get people telling me they think I’ve been very brave in my choices but at the time, I’ve always been absolutely terrified. There’s no moment where you can see into the future. You can’t. But equally, you can’t make a career by just being cautious. You have to push yourself. And the scarier it is, the better it is.
I’m currently working on a book and I think that’s going to be a really defining moment for me. For years I was a fashion journalist and there were some amazing moments throughout that career which I was really proud of but now, doing what I’m doing, it’s a different level in terms of the way it touches people and I guess the impact it can have on people’s happiness. Not that fashion can’t offer happiness because it so can!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since going at it on your own?
This isn’t the first time I’ve left a job without having one to go to. It’s becoming a bit of a pattern of mine! I left the Sunday Times at 26 and moved to Cape Town and in between that, I left Grazia and Lyst without a job to go to. I think because I’ve done it before I’m not so worried about it anymore. I generally think things always work out in the end. The first time when I was 26 was by far the hardest. I felt like I had worked so hard for years and hadn’t really achieved the level needed to go off and make it on my own but I was really unhappy so I decided to leave and switch my life up. If you are someone who isn’t a snob and you’re happy to move into different careers then there will always be jobs for you. Although, it might not be the dream job or linear path you imagined.
I think it comes from growing up without having anything. Having two parents who lived in council houses and having aspirations to live a different life. They very much instilled in me, the value of hard work. I was working from 14 years old and they always told me, if I wanted to do something different with my life I was going to have to work really hard for it. So I did.
Any favourite instagrammers?
How do you strike the balance between using social media without getting sucked into the pressures of being perfect?
The first thing would be continually reiterating to yourself that you are in control of what you consume and don’t be scared to hit that unfollow button if something is making you feel bad about yourself. It might not be that other person or accounts fault but for whatever reason it’s hitting a nerve, you don’t have to have that in your life. I think people forget that.
I also think on the positive side of social media, people forget the network side of the social network and only focus on the social side of things. It’s meant to be about bringing people together, not alienating them and making them feel further apart.
And finally, make sure you have real life time with real life friends. If you are ever struggling, speak to them. Grab a glass of wine, get together and chat through the feelings that social media brings up for you because without a doubt, your friends will also be able to empathise, offer advice and share some laughs in a way that will make you feel much better about it.
What advice would you give 18-year-old Katherine?
I think I’d just say carry on doing what you are doing and don’t be so hard on yourself. There was a lot of angst early in my career and a lot of anxiety so I would say “Be less punishing on yourself and give yourself a break”.
I’m working on my book and investing in the site as much as possible, involving people from all works of life to broaden the representation across the site with the different pieces and who knows what else! When you work for yourself, every month is different and there are always exciting things going on so just go with the flow.