This is the first installment in a new series that shares what I’ve learned from the people who have inspired me the most.
My friend Mickey Drexler, the Chairman and CEO of J. Crew, is incredibly funny and candid. I once hung out with Mickey and his best friends from the Bronx. I felt like Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment, surrounded by an amazing group of wisecracking guys. The jokes were nonstop and I spent the entire time laughing.
What I love is that Mickey is the same guy whether he’s in the office or not. The laughs don’t stop just because he’s clocked in for the day. I once met with him at J. Crew’s corporate offices and we were trying to decide where to eat lunch. He got on the loudspeaker to ask the entire company if anyone had any good restaurant ideas. It was off the cuff and fun; he’s that kind of guy.
Seeing how Mickey runs his business reminds me that work and fun don’t have to be separate. For me, that means blasting hip hop while I’m at a photo shoot, wearing my Converse high tops during high-level meetings, and letting my staff bring their dogs to the office. Like Mickey, I believe in the importance of creating a certain vibe at work to inspire creativity and ideas. As creative people, we’ve both chosen to have our offices in Soho, an exciting part of the city that inspires me daily. We also believe in surrounding ourselves with the right people, letting them shine, and being accessible to anyone on staff who has an idea to share. My staff is my team and my door is always open. What I’ve learned from watching Mickey, is that having fun at work—whether you’re in a staff lunch or a power meeting—is the key.