We asked the high-flying ballers behind Net-A-Porter, Co-Lab and The PR Net to share their pro tips for smart business travel, the global hotels they call their home away from home and most importantly how to master the art of a wrinkle-free wardrobe.
Sarah Rutson, Global Brand Builder
On Sarah’s resume Rutson is one of the most influential women on planet fashion. The former Vice President of Global Buying for Net-A-Porter, she is now working with global fashion and beauty brands as a brand architect, shaping and defining their identity.
Do you spend your life on a plane? When I was with Net-A-Porter, I spent 10.5 months on the road, so I am an expert packer. I travel more than people that work in airlines. I am an insomniac, but when I get on the plane, I instantly fall asleep. Flying is the last bastian where people can’t get hold of you and it’s OK to get off the grid. Give me a long haul flight any day.
How does one pack for that long on the road? I always pack two suitcases. Each trip is 11 weeks and I go back and forth between New York, London, Paris, Milan. When you leave New York in January in a snowstorm and finish in April in Paris in a heatwave you need a chameleon-like wardrobe. I have always been an expert at layering and I play with proportions so I can switch things around to reimagine different looks. I also go for classics that are well cut and relevant, a great jacket, shirt and skirt and I never wear a lot of print or huge amounts of color. I pack eight pairs of shoes.
Share those pro packing tips?I am not a roller. I have my shirts professionally done and they lay flat in my suitcase. I then hang them all up in the bathroom and run the steam hot, it works. And I always carry two days worth of clothes in my carry-on because when you travel this much and are switching flights, there’s the chance of things going missing. I can’t leave a fashion city at 11 pm and have an 8 am meeting in another without an outfit. Thankfully, it’s only happened twice. I never wear make up on a flight, clean, clean, skin and I apply my Augustinus Bader Face Oil throughout.
Which hotels are on your favorite list? I love Hong Kong. Asia has the best service of all the hotels in the world. I don’t stay in boutique hotels for business, I need the service, great Internet, and a really good 24 hour menu. I am a fashionista that eats. The Upper House in Hong Kong is incredible and has amazing views so you feel like you are in the city. On a business trip when you are going from meeting to meeting, getting up early and coming in late, I need to feel like I am experiencing that city, I don’t want to be somewhere where you don’t get a sense of the place you are in. I always stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel, as it’s so LA. In New York, I stay at The Soho Grand, they do an epic breakfast. In Paris, I have stayed at Le Meurice for 30 years. I love that I look over the Tuileries, which again feels like quintessential Paris and in Milan, the Principe di Savoia.
Any last words of wisdom from a high flyer? I have three dogs so I fly by private plane with flyXO when I can so I don’t have to deal with airport stress or being disturbed. People talk about the carbon footprint, but often these planes are flying back empty, so I’m going to take it.
Lisa Smith, Founder The PR Net
On Lisa’s resume Lisa founded The PR Net to create a network for marketing and communications professionals. Part industry publication and part event programming, she produces events for members that range from expert speaker panels to the discovery of new venues and cultural events.
How often do you fly for business? Work wise I’m a domestic traveler. I’m New York based but I fly to attend our PR Net events in cities around the US – mainly Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We’re known for hosting events in newly opened venues, so I have the pleasure of discovering new places and love the nuances of each city. It’s quite cliché: New Yorkers love a breakfast event then promptly head to the office, Angelenos stay on later (and then the photographer heads for a surf), Miamians like a party and cocktail and prefer a later start.
What do you look for in a hotel? Small, boutique, low key are my preference over big hotel brands unless they’re really special. I’ve worked with and stayed in a diverse range of properties which have perfected hospitality in a personal, non-mainstream way; 1 Hotels, Edition, Baccarat, Freehand, Hoxton, 11 Howard, The Whitby, The Beekman, Park Hyatt and Palihouse.
Any pro tips for business travel? I just arrived back from Australia and New Zealand (a trip I’ve done many times as I hail from there), so I’m very familiar with long haul flights. On board I have a hydrating spray for my face, eye drops for when I land, and Aesop’s sanitizing spray – the aroma is therapeutic and it’s a necessity these days. For longer stays I pack most clothing on hangers so when you arrive, it shaves lots of time off unpacking. There are often not enough hangers at the hotel and clothes can unwrinkle in the closet. My jet lag strategy is to force myself into the local time zone, get lots of sunlight for natural melatonin, drink tons of water and take a long walk.
Kristy Hurt, founder and CEO of Kristy Hurt Consulting and the Co-Lab
On Kristy’s resume Kristy runs her Kristy Hurt Consulting, an executive search practice for global fashion and beauty brands, and founded the Co-lab, a networking community for professionals in fashion and beauty during Covid as a way to support the industry and bring influential people in business together.
What’s your business travel schedule look like? I have clients all over the world and while much of the work can be done remotely, when the key to success in your career path is networking, you go anyway. I love to travel to major global cities to meet people in my industry, go to dinners and events and see where that leads. Some of my favorite cities outside of NYC where I live are LA, London, Paris, Rome and Hong Kong. I recently spent time in Morocco which was life changing, with a little stop over in Madrid. I lived in Spain one summer in college and it was so fun going back.
Which hotels are on your must-visit list? My favorite hotels in the world are the Peninsula Beverly Hills and La Mamounia, Marrakech. The thing I love about both aside from beauty and interiors, which is very different at each property -is the service. Service is everything and they treat you like royalty.
Share your pro tips for business travel? I never travel with anything other than my carry on, a versatile handbag, and an evening bag. I like to mix and match outfits, and I typically only travel to warm places so I don’t have to bring as much. Silky dresses, a bathing suit, sneakers and maybe one pair of strappy sandals gets me everywhere I need to go. As for overcoming jet lag, drink a ton of water on the plane and always splurge on business class so you can sleep if it’s an overnight flight.