There's "authentic," and then there's Nicole Corbett. She's all guts, a hint of glamour, and a hell of a lot of hustle. At 22, Corbett turned her self-created photography magazine into a full-blown digital agency. The hook? It's all about women. Worn is dedicated to hiring, serving, and empowering women—and they're slaying the game.
It's hard out there for an HBIC. (Take it from 305 founder and CEO, Sadie Kurzban.) We sat down with Corbett to hear more about the struggle, the success, and what it takes to get in that weekly sweat.
"When women win, everyone wins."
Where are you from? How did you get to New YorkCity?
From LA, by way of many other cities. I grew up in California, but I went to college in Washington, DC. When I was in college, I started a print fashion photography magazine: Worn Magazine. I eventually turned the publication into a full-service creative agency, and then I moved it up to NYC in 2014.
So many follow up questions. Let’s start with the magazine. What inspired you to start a project of that scale as a student?
I was so new to the east coast, new to DC. A big part of acclimating was getting in touch with the arts and creative culture in DC, but at the time it was underground to the majority of people in the area. It included street art, fashion, writing, photography— creative work by talented people that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved from mainstream media. Magazines in DC also weren’t highlighting the cultural diversity of DC. They were ignoring a large population that I could clearly see. I decided to create a photography-based magazine to showcase DC through the creative lens I saw it through. I got a team of photographers and writers together, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities gave us our first grant and we made it happen.
So print...it’s not dead?
Well it did take guts to start. Print magazines were dying around me (I worked at two of them). But we were showing off a side of DC that was both in plain sight and lacking the attention it deserved. It took off.
What led you to expand the magazine into an agency?
I loved working on the magazine. I had graduated from GW. I was 22. And I was spending more time on the magazine than I was looking for a “real” job. My parents said, “sounds like you care about this more than a getting a job.” They were right. I didn’t want a “real job." I needed to find a way to monetize the work I was doing, continue to focus on the work I was doing through the magazine, and make a living. That path was starting an agency.
Which brings us to Worn. Tell me a little bit about your company.
Worn is a mission-based creative agency that empowers women to lead. We’re founded by women. Our staff is 100% full-time women. We work with women entrepreneurs, women-focused campaigns, and advocates of women in leadership to create content, build brands, produce campaigns, and everything in between. We believe that focusing our work on women will make those companies more successful, give women a larger role in the business world, and improve the economy for everyone. When women win, everyone wins.
It’s important to me that women help women. Recently, we ran a video shoot where the entire production crew was made of women, which is extremely rare in this industry.
What’s the hardest part about being the CEO?
The juggle. I have a work life and a personal life, but as an entrepreneur, my work IS my life. One of the hardest parts of being the boss has been learning to juggle my priorities.
The expectations are so high for women in the domestic realm. There are only so many hours in the day, so I found a solution: I’m hiring a personal assistant. I don’t want to work less—I want to work smarter. I think that an assistant will give me the flexibility to do just that, not to mention more time with my boys—my husband and puppy.
Speaking of healthy, what do you do to workout?
I workout with a personal trainer three days a week. One day we’ll do a combination of strength training and boxing for a high intensity workout. The other two days I’m lifting. Lifting is so fun for me. It makes me feel confident and strong. It’s also a great morning workout, and it sets the tone for the rest of the
Where do you find the motivation to workout out when you JUST. DON’T. WANNA.
Well when you pay a trainer, you’re responsible for showing up. It’s about accountability.
Preach. Alright, let’s end this on a fun note. At ((305)) we’re all about making sweat sexy. What makes you feel sexy?
No one has ever asked me that before! If I’m being honest, I would say having everything under control. Chaos doesn’t feel sexy to me. I also think there’s something to real, open communication. It might sound boring, but it’s definitely intimate.
Big campaign coming up? Trying to nail the next photoshoot? Looking for and agency to give you a content strategy that *actually* works? Connect with Worn.