C letter Book Club: April Walker's "Walker Gems"
April Walker wants you out of her DMs and off of your couch.
“How do I find an internship?” “I have no social media following, how do I start a business?” “Will you be my mentor?” These are the types of questions tweeted and commented daily by people so overwhelmed by the thrill of access that they ignore the availability of information. The legendary fashion designer and stylist, like many other notable professionals, has been inundated with industry inquires since she joined social media and now she’s doing something about it.
In an effort to address these constant questions Walker shares what she’s learned from her experiences by using the hashtag #WalkerGems to encourage and inform others. Recently she gathered those gems and assembled them into a quick, digestible, read that shares both the importance of spiritual connections and pragmatic objectivity.
Her social media gems are integrated throughout the pages to punctuate her concepts, and just like some of your favorite memes the books mixes metaphors to illustrate that the path to greatness is rarely parallel.
“Walker Gems” includes lists of examples of people who achieved extraordinary things despite their age. While we’ve all heard of tech wunderkinds like Mark Zuckerberg it also helps that she includes lesser known tidbits like the fact that the founder of Grey Goose was in his seventies when he started the business.
Walker advises optimism but not recklessness. Just as her fellow entrepreneurs Titi and Miko Branch did she points out that “if you have a job maybe that job will be what ends up acting as an investor to fund your dream” because “dreams don’t become real without your participation.”
Many have been divisive in their approach to covering the different approaches to business by different generations but Walker acknowledges that everyone from baby boomers to those included in Gen Z has an “edge” that makes them special. She suggests investing in your dream in “growth stages” as this “allows you to master every part well before you take it up a notch.”
She may not reccomend getting bogged down in nearly obsolete hundred page business plans, (“While you’re spending time over-researching and micro-managing your perfect plan, someone else has started doing and grabbing your potential customers”) but she makes it clear she finds research valuable.
She shares information about the steps she took to relaunch her brand and how research helped her become fluid enough to create a plan B and C when it became apparent plan A wasn’t going to work out. By being transparent about her failures she imparts the message that it’s possible to be committed without being rigid. After all contingency planning can take you where posting a party flyer a thousand times on instagram can’t.
Those who are looking for a step-by-step manual to Walker’s early success will be sorely disappointed. This isn't her bragging about what she's done and who she’s done it with as much as her sharing how she became the person she needed to become to do it. Frankly though to a young entrepreneur receiving conflicting messages in the age of the #girlboss that information might be a tad more useful.