Phoebe Lovatt is a woman of many talents. From curating culture-packed newsletters for The WW Club, the women’s network she founded, to writing a weekly column for Courier and designing shoes for Nike in-between, Phoebe has an enviable work ethic and impressive resume to match. This month Phoebe adds another line to her CV, author, with the launch of her first book, The Working Woman’s Handbook: Ideas, Insight and Inspiration for a Successful Creative Career. We spoke to the New-York based Londoner about interesting women, good advice and, of course, autumnal dressing…
How would you describe your book to someone who knows nothing about The WW Club?
Both the book and The WW Club stem from the same overall mission: to provide the support, information and inspiration women need to create the careers and lifestyles they really want. Through the book, my events, my podcasts, my newsletters, and everything else I do through this platform, my aim is to provide practical advice in an aesthetically pleasing package! I want to make even the hardest challenges – financial inconsistency, lack of self-confidence – feel surmountable.
Phrases like ‘female empowerment’ seem to be having a moment. How does the The WW Club turn them into something more than words?
It’s great to see – and be part of – this huge wave of solidarity and support for working women, but I’m not such a fan of the ‘inspirational’ quotes and repetitive career stories. My goal has always been to provide practical and tangible tools for self-empowerment, whether that’s the emotional lift you get from attending a career event in a beautiful setting or an equation for calculating your target hourly rate (which I actually include in the book!)
What’s the best thing about running The WW Club?
Undoubtedly, the women I’ve met through it and the feeling that I’ve hopefully helped others to pursue work that makes them happy and fulfilled. It can be really tough to run a business on your own, so I keep a file on my computer with all the amazing emails I’ve received over the past couple of years from women who have contacted me to say they’ve been inspired by something I’ve written or shared, or have gone on to form professional relationships and friendships with other women they’ve met at my events. When I get stuck or burnt out, I just read one of those messages and it gives me the motivation to keep going.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been lucky to receive and share a huge amount of professional advice, so this is hard to answer! I think different things resonate at different times, depending on what I’m going through on a personal level. Right now, I’m transitioning into a new chapter of my career and trying to streamline accordingly. The Pareto Principle – the idea that 20% of the effort yields 80% of the results – is on my mind a lot. I’m trying to use this to figure out how and where I can really focus my energy to be more effective in my working life. Easier described than applied, trust me!
Who are some of the most interesting women you’ve interviewed?
Every woman I’ve interviewed has had her own unique wisdom to impart, whatever her age or industry. Whether it’s Neneh Cherry talking about how she balanced motherhood with a successful music career at the age of 19 or The Gentlewoman’s editor Penny Martin stressing the importance of being an autodidact, their unique experiences offer a fresh perspective on universal challenges. My job as the writer and interviewer is to find the ‘angle’ that I think is most beneficial to my readers – luckily, working as a journalist for ten years has given me a fair amount of experience in that arena!
How would you describe your style?
Simple, feminine, and quite sporty – I’ve worn sportswear and sneakers since long before the ‘athleisure’ trend came about, but I also love heels and a dress. When I’m hosting an event, I like to wear clean shapes that provide a strong, flattering silhouette on stage or in front of a group. If I’m just working from home or my office, I’m usually in high-waisted straight-leg trousers, a cropped jacket or jumper and sneakers. If I’m going out-out, I like to expose my shoulders and neck as I think this is the most beautiful and elegant part of any woman’s body.
Tell us about some of the pieces you wore in the shoot and how you styled them…
I love the oxblood patent trench! This will be perfect with wide-leg trousers and a cashmere crew-neck through autumn, or dressed down with a hoodie or even a full tracksuit on weekends. The chunky navy roll-neck sweater is one of those essential seasonal pieces that I know I’ll wear over and over again – I like the idea of pairing it with something more delicate like the skirt in the shoot, or I’ll wear it over one of my many vintage silk slip dresses. And you can never go wrong with a statement coat! This pink one is perfect for adding a bit of drama to simple winter outfits.
What’s your favourite thing about fall dressing?
The chance to wear a really great coat! In my book, Sandy Liang (a friend and incredible fashion designer, who lives and works in Manhattan’s Lower East Side) says that in New York ‘your coat is like your boyfriend’ because you spend so much time with it. So true – and in both cases, it pays to choose wisely!
Take a peek at the book below and buy it here…