Hillary France is the CEO and co-founder of Brand Assembly, a community created to nurture and elevate incredible businesses. Hillary founded Brand Assembly because she was passionate about emerging fashion brands, and saw so many of them struggling to get off of the ground because they were too busy focusing on administrative aspects to spend time on creative aspects. At the same time, Hillary was also noticing a shift toward more collaboration in the fashion industry. With the mission to “break down barriers and remove obstacles for these designers and their brands,” she started her company. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Hillary worked at impressive places like Rachel Zoe, Kate Spade, DVF, Guess, and Kimberly Ovitz. She was also a junior national tennis champion and NCAA All-American at Duke University. Talk about impressive. We asked this busy founder to tell us how she unwinds during a hectic day. She breaks it all down below. 

Bad habits you’ve cut from your routine?

  1. Eating cookie dough and frosting… together! This was a college habit that stuck around for a very long time. It might not sound appetizing, but it’s probably the best combination of two things, ever! Kind of Sonny & Cher and Simon & Garfunkel good. Alas, for my own longevity, I thought that it might be a smart idea to cut this out of my daily routine. But I do want everyone to try it just once!
  2. Fast Fashion. Back in the day, I used to visit these large retailers constantly looking to buy what was new and now. I broke that daily habit (yep, it was daily) when I started Brand Assembly 6 years ago. Now, I am passionate about promoting the brands in our amazing community, which, in my mind, is a better investment of my time and money!
  3. Being in constant GO mode. In the last two years, I have become much more protective of my physical and mental wellbeing. As a founder and a CEO, and especially as someone so motivated and driven, it can still be hard for me to slow down, but I know that my creativity and my ability to grow Brand Assembly and our clients’ businesses depends upon me taking care of my body and mind.

Good habits you’ve added?

  1. Setting blocks of time to bring greater focus and productivity to my work day, sometimes doing this outside the office where I won’t be distracted by all the activity. My schedule can get pretty jammed up, but I’m working really hard to resist the urge to please everyone (ladies, does this sound familiar?), say yes to everything that pops onto my schedule, or think that I must do everything in that very moment.
  2. Physical activity – After playing competitive tennis for so long, I somehow let this fall by the wayside, so in the last few years, I started working out regularly and seriously with a trainer. Even though I am a naturally motivated person, having a trainer adds a layer of accountability that leaves little room for excuses.
  3. Meditation – Ugh I know this sounds clichéd, but it really does help to get out of your own head and into a more relaxed and calmer state of mind.  As a creative person who can’t stop myself from always coming up with new ideas, this really helps me quiet my mind. I try to do it at least 3-4 times a week in the morning so it sets me up for the day ahead.

How do you take care of yourself throughout the day?

Oh man, I am still learning how to do this. Thanks to a special someone, I am much more aware of taking care of myself in so many ways…from what I eat to working out to getting sleep. I like to take time in the morning to have no devices and to just “be” for a little while before getting into the pace and momentum of the day. During the week, I walk to and from work without any contact with digital devices. I use this time to reflect, plan and generate ideas, and I’ve found it makes a big difference for me.

Are there any activities you do to de-stress?

There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting outdoors, in front of a fire pit and letting my mind wander. I love being outside and moving in nature, whether a long walk on a country road or a hike in the mountains. On the other end of the spectrum, I love live music. Nothing gets me more inspired or energized than being at a big concert or a small venue listening to live music. I try to go to a performance at least twice a month and I love discovering new bands. Some of my favorites right now are CAAMP, National Parks Radio, and Dawsons Hollow.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?  

I would say I average a good 7 hours a night. I have no problems falling asleep and staying asleep. It is an amazing gift!! Sometimes it does become a problem when I start to fall asleep in public places. Once that sleepy feeling hits, it’s lights out for me!

Do you have a favorite wellness trend? 

I have started to pay more attention to what I use on my skin. I have always loved facial and body oils and recently came across NOTO Botanics, a skincare line that started with some basic oils and has since expanded into a full range of cosmetics. I have also become more vigilant about drinking enough water throughout the day, and it makes a big difference for me.

What is your favorite healthy food?

Does cheese count?  Let’s just say this area has room for improvement!