Talking creativity with Hannah Bronfman, Tavi Gevinson and Margaret Zhang

Starting a business is no easy feat. But putting together a venture that is sustainable, financially stable and gathers a huge following of tastemakers in a process, is an exploit. Especially when you have yet to celebrate your 25th birthday. 
We picked the brains of three of these shiny unicorns of millennial entrepreneurship - Tavi Gevinson, Hannah Bronfman and Margaret Zhang, all of them young and successful entrepreneurs, are goldmines of creative advice.
Starting this week, they’re fronting Clinique’s global advertising campaign #FaceForward (the first featuring faces!), one that doesn’t aim to move product, but to empower and inspire women to accomplish their goals. We couldn’t be more excited if we tried. Read on!

But first, a little reminder:


Tavi Gevinson launched her fashion blog Style Rookie at the tender age of 11, claiming a million hits on its first day, and went on to deliver with Rookie the magazine that the post-Sassy generation was lacking. She was named twice in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, and is currently starring in Broadway play This Is Our Youth.

Tavi campaign face.jpg
Hannah Bronfman #Face Forward.jpg

Hannah Bronfman launched her first venture at 23, and went on to raise 1.2 million dollars in seed funding to launch Beautified, an app that allows New Yorkers to book last-minute beauty appointments. She maintains her health blog HBfit, hosts DJ gigs around the world, and will make her television debut next Fall.


Margaret Zhang is an equally busy lady. She launched her successful style blog ShinebyThree when she was only 16, which she has since parlayed into TV hosting gigs and for which she was nominated for last year’s Bloglovin’ Award for "Best Photography", all the while studying Law full time.

Margaret Zhang #FaceForward.jpg


When are you the most creative?

Tavi: I feel the most creative after I’ve really taken in something that someone else has made, and internalized the feeling of wanting someone else to feel that way because of something you’ve made. My mind opens up to the possibilities of what I can create. Even just going to the movies is a wonderful little experience to inspire creativity.

Margaret: I think I feel the most creative when I’ve taken on as many roles as possible. I’ve done shoots where I’ve been modeling, styling, shooting, and creative directing, which is super invigorating because I’m on a time limit and taking on so many roles. I’m in complete and control and able to make my vision a reality. 


When do you feel the most confident?

Tavi: I think I feel most confident when I’ve made something I’m really proud of. I can waste so much time, really holding myself back based on the silliest factors and insecurities, but then I find a way to decide that it doesn’t matter and just focus on what I’m doing in the moment. 

Hannah: I feel most confident after I’ve had a good breakfast and a great workout. My mind is clear, and when my mind is clear I really focus on the task at hand and whatever the rest of the day has in store.

Having thick skin is key when starting your own business. We now live in a world where everyone and anyone is a critic. Be prepared for criticism, but you cannot let it get to you. You have to stay on your course and do you.
— Hannah Bronfman

Is there anything you do to help you think creatively?

Tavi: In terms of a creative environment, when I started doing the play, I learned a lot about rituals that other actors did and the environment they kept for themselves. You can really go crazy with that stuff because you’re trying to have control over your mental and emotional state. […] So I really try not to be too picky about when I can feel creative and just know that when creativity hits, go with it and trust it.

Do you feel that you are a risk taker?

Tavi: I often forget that my life is one where I’ve taken lots of risks because I’ve honestly been doing creative professional work of some kind from a really young age. I forget that it is sort of crazy to start a magazine when you’re 15, or to be in this play when you’re 18. So when I look back on why I made those decisions, it’s really just fun to try something that you don’t know what it could end up meaning to other people. There’s always that kind of unknown when you’re creating something. You never know how rewarding it could be, so you have to give yourself over to it, and really commit to it.  The first year of Rookie I did not sleep at all, and I got horrible grades for the rest of high school. But, I felt like I had done this thing that was satisfying for me in this completely different way that school never was, and that actually ended up helping other people too. So when you take chances like that, there’s risk and there’s fear and compromises, but the thing you find could be so incredible.

To me, the fear of what you could be missing out on always outweighs the fear of looking stupid. The worst thing in life is regret - looking back and thinking why didn’t I commit more or why didn’t I try to be open and have fun that night.
— Tavi Gevinson

What advice would you give a young woman about becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Hannah: Don’t be afraid to take risks. You can never make too many mistakes. You must ask as many questions as possible and network with business people. Don’t discuss your business plans with just anyone, be mindful of who you share your information with. Don’t be afraid of failure. You will fail at some point, however, you will learn from it and it will be extremely beneficial in the end. Also, don’t go into business with just anyone. Just because someone shared the same idea as you for the venture, doesn’t mean that you necessarily need that person. Don’t ever think that you’re not capable. Having confidence in yourself in key.


Something that really helped me become successful in my ventures thus far has been to set goals and timelines. I set aside three months to really understand each industry and do a full competitive analysis. It allowed me to assess whether that particular venture would make sense financially and be worth the year and a half of time, hard work, and dedication that I was about to put in. You need to take your time with whatever you’re starting because it will ultimately be your baby.

Margaret: I think the most important thing that I try and get people to remember is that it’s never too early or too late to try something. We live in a world where anything is possible. Things are no longer formulaic - what you study in school does not end up being your career. Look at me, I’m in law school and I’m working in the fashion industry. However, my experiences have helped me build my skillset and utilize them in achieving my goals no matter that career path that I end up going towards.


I’ve learned to watch each person on set and how they utilize their skillsets to better enhance my own.
— Margaret Zhang

What do you suggest they strive for to achieve their goals?

Margaret: I think it’s important to have a plan and goal. Think about where you want to be in ten years and put together your vision. You do not need to have everything down to the minute, but have a broad vision and ensure that you are going along the right path and that what you are doing is contributing to the end goal.


What keeps you motivated in your career?

Margaret: I stay motivated by never becoming complacent or feeling like I’ve made it. Working with vast talents helps me stay on my toes and allows me to continuously learn. You can always challenge yourself and push yourself to learn something new within your field. There’s nothing better than experience and learning from each and every endeavor.

I think it’s important to have a plan and goal. Think about where you want to be in ten years and put together your vision.
— Margaret Zhang

Join the conversation!

What do you want to achieve? What would be the advice you’d give to your future self? Clinique invites you to pledge to accomplish your goals by tweeting them @ yourself using #FaceForward. Let’s embrace our power and roll up our sleeves.

We can do this!