Hilary Hahn

Develop action plans with those who know the mission leads to success


While on tour with Destiny’s Child and Christina Aguilera, Hilary Hahn found her calling and it wasn’t where she thought it would be. She opened for the pair of headliners on the tour. Her budget was much smaller than theirs for costumes. The tour was sponsored by Levi’s and thus there was fresh denim in constant supply. To create unique costumes, Hilary spent her time off stage designing, bedazzling, and creating unique denim creations for the stage. Her creative skills didn’t go unnoticed.

Soon, the Levi’s Design team was paying close attention to her creations. They dubbed her the Levi’s Girl, which began to inspire the vision for The Style Club. Since those early days as the Levi’s Girl, Hilary Novelle Hahn has been on a mission to create and design unique, empowerment attire that touches hearts and minds. Her mission with The Style Club has caught media attention over the years and inspired women from all walks of life.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, still exploring her music, and relaxing with a good book or podcast.

Where did the idea for Style Club come from?

I was on tour with some girl groups several years back. It was a whole lot of fun to be able to live my dream and preform on stage. I didn’t have the budget they had, but I had denim, thanks to the fact that Levi’s Strauss and Company were the sponsors of the tour. It was like a teenage girl’s dream land to have so much available to me. I used the jeans and assorted other items they provided for us and created new and unique designs for my costumes. It was something new every single night.

It didn’t go unnoticed. The other girls on the tour took note, which was a huge help. Then there was also a number of people at Levi’s that took notice and they dubbed me the Levi’s Girl. That was a whirlwind of fun and creativity. That’s where and when The Style Club started.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Oh, good question. Well, I start every morning with a positive mindset. When I get into the office I catch up on what progress was completed at the end of the day before and set my schedule. Before lunch I work through the most creative and energy intensive projects. After lunch, I focus on emails, connecting with my teams, and making sure I’m in touch with vendors and my creative team.

How do you bring ideas to life?

That’s a team effort. Whenever one of us conceives of an idea, whether it’s a design or a new direction for our expansion, we discuss it together. From discussions, we determine if it is a viable option, fits into our mission, and develops our brand effectively. If it does all those things, we move forward with it, investing time and resources where required until it comes to fruition.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The trend that excites me the most is the women’s movement. There are a lot of women making their way in places they never pushed or rarely pushed to be in the past. We are seeing more in congress, many in activism, and just as many taking the lead in their own companies. This has resulted in the initial steps of change that will last for another generation or more. Truly this movement is leaving its mark in a way that will create a better world for all of us.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I know that I’m not in this business alone. I have a group of people around me who are much smarter than I am in areas they are focused on. I know to lean upon them for their expertise as they lean upon me for mine. This team effort ensures the social brand we are creating thrives and reaches its audience.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself not to sweat the small stuff. We all stress too much when we shouldn’t. Everything honestly works out as it needs to in time and if we are stressing and focusing on the details, we could miss the amazing things right in front of us.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Wow, this is tough. If I had to say something, I would say that everything really does work out. Many times, we doubt our vision or ourselves to the point that we self sabotage our goals. That result can be excessively disconcerting. If you focus on the goal, work daily on things that create forward momentum, you’ll find everything you need comes together.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Make time for yourself. No reason to work yourself until you’re burnt out on something you love doing. That would be horrible. I make time every single day to do one nice thing for me or my body. It might be exercise, or reading, or just enjoying the quiet of a moment. It keeps the mind clear and the productivity in high gear.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We have worked to create an experience for our customers. The shopping experience integrates their pictures, their knowledge along with an appealing portal. When our customers at The Style Club offer suggestions, we actively discuss them and determine if and how they could fit into our greater plan for things. So, we are putting our customers and their thoughts into our overall plan. They are more connected and so are we.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I think every person who has to hire another has to learn how to avoid issues with the team members. It really is a matter of learning how to hire the right fit for the given team. It took me some time and I’m happy that I learned what I had to.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would say anything you can do online is a great start. Opening a store is a fantastic way to create income that connects with people and develops lasting relationships.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

You can’t do much for a hundred dollars these days, but it does make a good thank you to people who have worked hard. I have often purchased 100-dollar gift cards or just given that as a bonus for a project well done or just because I wanted to pay the bonus.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

My calendar is fantastic for keeping me on schedule and ensuring that my team is in the loop about what is needed. At The Style Club, we have really maximized our resources and created a way to track our results, in part, because we can keep a timely schedule.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would suggest reading something that makes you realize how powerful you really can be. Check out the book A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. It will help you see that no matter what happens you, the person reading this, can overcome anything.

What is your favorite quote?

I have more than one.

One of the one’s I really like was by Estee Lauder. “No one ever became a success without taking chances. One must be able to recognize the moment and seize it without delay.” I think I really had to do that when things started taking off back with the Levi’s Girl push.

Another one that I really enjoy is, “Think like a Queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is a stepping stone to greatness.” I’m pretty sure that was Oprah. I really believe that everyone should know this and think like this.

Key Learnings:

  • Creativity is a cornerstone
  • Focus on creating experiences
  • Developing action plans with those who know the mission leads to success
  • Finding that one thing you love and sticking with it