Creatives In Conversation: Skylar Kearney and the importance of creating with intention.
To properly introduce Skylar Kearney, we're going to need multiple commas: she's a self-described serial entrepreneur, social strategist, content creator, founder of a gorgeous intimates brand, As You Are Intimates, and is also holding it down as a full-time Social Media Strategist at BuzzFeed. Currently based in New York, the Georgia native certainly wears a lot of different hats and honestly could write a masterclass in time management, how to find your passion and how to creatively share your story with others. In fact, she does exactly that every week, happily sharing her knowledge, insight and resources with fellow creatives in the form of her Sunday Social Sauce newsletter.
While taking a closer look at Skylar's work and the projects she has a direct hand in, it's hard not to see how each of her various passions are interconnected by arguably the most important ingredient: intention. Her quest to creating with purpose is one she is especially transparent about; she'll be the first to tell you that it's a journey and honoring that process is important. Whether she's working with other brands and creators, or nourishing one of her own endeavors, Skylar aims to bring purpose and authenticity into each project, and this has become one of her many shining strengths. Being able to tell a story that resonates with others is not the easiest feat to accomplish, but standing firmly in a place of truth and authenticity often makes for a rewarding outcome.
As many creatives can attest, the discovery of one's identity and voice is not a linear pathway to follow, especially when it comes to being creative and moving with purpose. For Skylar, being able to elevate the stories and unique voices of others in an authentic way is a collaborative process, and one that she absolutely takes pride in. Her drive to help others succeed is as admirable as it is appreciated, as well as has led her to where she is today. Being purpose-driven is something Skylar eloquently discusses more in-depth during our interview, below.
What do you do for a living and what helped you get started?
At this point I've made peace with the fact that what I do for a living is quite literally summed up in two words: the most. For my 9-5, I work as a social strategist for Buzzfeed, handling social for some of our biggest verticals. My 5-9 consists of handling social strategy for black and brown-owned brands, knowledge sharing by way of my newsletter Sunday Social Sauce, and sharing my travels around the world through a storytelling lens. I'm also never not working on my lingerie company, As You Are Intimates, a body-positive lingerie brand that aims to produce lingerie that not only allows for intimate comfort, but that allows women to embrace who they are, as they are, from any shape, shade, or size. Again, the most. I feel I don't know how to function if I'm not doing something constantly; this also means I'm in a perpetual state of being booked and busy.
What is your favorite accomplishment or a project that you're really proud of?
By far it's been taking on the social media efforts for The Creative Collective, especially when it comes to CultureCon. Sometimes you hear whispers in your ear to be a part of something and this was one of those things. Growing up, I never imagined being able to work so closely with my tribe, so doing so blew my mind. We went from about 700+ attendees last year to 2,000+ this year. My job was to come in and translate the hype into content in the months leading up to CultureCon, and then on the day of, capture it in real time. I'm sure the FOMO (fear of missing out) from anyone who hadn't attended was real, but that's the point, it's somewhere you've just gotta be. It's surreal, being able to contribute to history. There's nothing quite like a room full of creatives of color, orchestrated to be there by creatives of color.
What’s one non-career related thing you want to learn how to do?
Manage. My. Finances. I would love to really sit down and get a better handle on how I can do this whole life thing (and have fun) while also paying off student loans and manage a decent savings account. No one teaches you these things; they just throw you to the wilderness after you graduate. I think in this age of instant gratification, we forget to plan for later, because now is asking so much of you. This is also why I've made sure my partner has a better hold on the whole financial world than I do, that way one of us has our sh*t together, you know? Otherwise, I'd love to learn how to play an instrument or finish learning French. My attention was so fickle when I was younger, I didn't realize how important it was to sit through those piano lessons or keep up with French classes. They're both things that interest me but also something I think makes you exceptionally cool by default. For instance, my best friend can juggle and used to be in a mariachi band. What's that even about? That's so cool and she's already cool! So sign me up, for any of the above. Juggling included.
What do you do to get into your creative zone?
I think my creative zone has to make time for me because when I attempt to make time for it, it's a fail. I draw so much inspiration from how I feel, so anything that evokes emotion triggers it, but at the most random times. That might look like an album cover from one of my many playlists, a pattern from one of my fabrics, an ad design that speaks to me on the subway, etc. but it all comes in waves. As a creative, I'm easily falling victim to burn out, and I think it's hard to constantly create great things. So, half of the struggle is using those peak moments of creativity to stretch out over a work week. I have to hurry and jot it all down and make it make sense before it leaves and I can't grasp it again. That's also why a lot of the work I do outside of my 9-5 has to be passion projects, so at the very least it's able to trigger an emotion and speak to me.
What do you aim to accomplish next in your career?
I think that I'm trying a lot of stuff right now, to see what feels good and give myself the space to do it in the first place. I'm young so I'm not pressed to have it all figured out. The issue with that, though, is finding my sense of purpose within all of these odds and ends. I think the next step is to refine and condense what I'm spending my energy on. I have a handful of clients right now, so cutting down within the next year will be a goal of mine. Then I'd like to take all of that energy that I'm currently giving to other brands and focus it on my own. I'm big on being purpose-driven, so finding a piece of purpose within the work I'm now doing for The Creative Collective, as well as As You Are, is what makes all of the other work (that I love doing but that doesn't fully align with what I want to do long-term) worth it.
What is an important mantra that you live by?
My step-father is a proud Bajan man and one of the hardest working individuals I know. I grew up with him telling me constantly (between anxiety attacks and too many cups of coffee), "Your to-do list will never be finished. So get what you can, done and leave the rest for another day." I've taken to making sure that I find those moments for me. To step away from the chaos that can be my day-to-day and indulge in what does my heart good. It's one of the reasons it's been so easy to support what DropLabs is doing, because the experiences they create do your heart good.
How would you explain the DropLabs experience to your friends?
Immersive is the first word to come to mind, the idea of completely submerging yourself in an experience. I remember meeting some of the DropLabs team and trying on the shoes and literally not being able to sit still, that's how overwhelmed I was. To create something not done before that made so much sense. Then my mind blasted off into the possibilities of everything this kind of technology could open the doors to, but they'd already thought of it! And you've gotta love that, the idea of something so well done that it's not only epic but fully flushed out. Those are the kinds of ideas I aim to have and then execute, the ones that are so successful because of the minds behind them.
As innovators by design, the team behind DropLabs Technology™ is dedicated to supporting and elevating members of the creative community. Together, we aim to serve as a platform highlighting different creators as they work towards achieving visionary excellence and inspiring others along their path. To nominate a creative leader you’d like to see highlighted on our website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.