Don’t fake it until you make it


Most people know Brooklyn Decker as a former model and an actress, who currently stars on Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.”

But now, Decker is also an entrepreneur. The company she co-founded, Finery, recently raised $5 million. The app and website, which launched in 2017, creates outfits for the user based on clothes they already have in their wardrobe (akin to character Cher’s virtual closet in the movie “Clueless”).

Decker admits that her entertainment background didn’t necessarily prepare her for the world of business. In fact, she says she even used a cheat sheet at meetings to help her in the early days.

“Things like business acronyms. I had no idea what [they meant],” Decker tells CNBC Make It at the BlogHer conference in New York on Aug. 8. “Like really simple ones, like ‘SEO,'” she says, referring to the acronym for “search engine optimization,” an important term for an online business founder to know. “[It] sounds ridiculous, but why would I know that coming from entertainment?” she says.

So while on calls with investors and potential partners, Decker used a cheat sheet: “I used to have a list of acronyms in front of me, which sounds so naive and juvenile, but it was true,” she adds. “Because again, I was a brand new entrepreneur and I had to kind of learn on the job.”

Having gone through it, Decker now emphasizes that an open mind and the ability to ask for help are crucial when starting any new job or endeavor. “Faking it until you make it” isn’t in her character she says, and she recommends other young people avoid that mindset too. Saying you need help is actually the more admirable route, according to Decker.

“I think it’s much braver and stronger and it’s an incredible leadership quality to admit when you don’t know something, versus pretending and faking it until you make it,” Decker says.

“I don’t believe in faking it until you make it. I believe in laying it on the table and being like, ‘Look, here are my weaknesses, can you help me? What can I do to make myself better?’

“As long as there’s an openness and willingness to grow and learn, I think your superiors would be really impressed.”

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