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What I Wear to Work: Michelle Kennedy, CEO and Co-Founder of Peanut

Moms, or future moms, you need this app.

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Courtesy of Michelle Kennedy

In a bi-weekly series, we're interviewing female executives, founders, CEOs—basically, boss ladies—on their "power suit" a.k.a. the outfit they wear every day for easy dressing to conquer whatever the job throws at them.


I'm not expecting a child, or trying to conceive, nor am I a mother, but for research purposes and my own curiosity, I downloaded the Peanut app. The two-year-old social networking platform is designed to connect moms with other moms in the area.

The platform, which has been dubbed the "Tinder for moms" by the press is so much more than that, says CEO and Co-Founder Michelle Kennedy. "The conversations that are happening on Peanut are more than just about motherhood now," she says. "Women are talking about their love lives, their sex lives, and their work lives. There is a lot of depth to what these women are talking about and we're in a fortunate place to [facilitate] these one-on-one connections."

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A sample Peanut interface.
Courtesy

One of the most-talked about topics on Peanut, Kennedy and her team noticed, is infertility, miscarriages, and the emotional toll that takes on a person. In November 2019, to better address those issues, Peanut unveiled a special section within the app called Trying to Conceive. "Already, since November, we've had double the engagement that we've seen on Peanut Mama and that's because these women had not had this kind of platform to have those conversations with one another," says Kennedy.

Her intuitions as a mom (Kennedy has two kids: a 6-year-old boy, Finlay, and an 8-month-old girl, Nuala) combined with a desire to help others connect and her experience as an entrepreneur keep the Peanut community thriving (it currently has more than a million users) and reaching new women every day, including Meghan Markle.

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"When I was pregnant with my boy, I read somewhere that the baby, at that point, was the size of a peanut. He was the OG peanut, so it was never a question that my company should have that name."
Courtesy of Grace Tales

Following Markle's admission that no one had asked her if she was okay during her pregnancy and postpartum work as a senior royal, the Peanut team that they penned an open letter on Instagram to let her know she wasn't alone in her thoughts or feelings. "[Hearing her say that], that was a moment where we all had shivers because we were like, 'Yes, that's right. No one asks that,'" says Kennedy. "Everyone asks how is the baby, is [the mom] back in shape, when is she going back to work, what does she have planned for childcare, or will she have another one. Most people don't ask 'how are you? Do you need anything? Are you okay?'"

Markle, it seems, was grateful for the post. "She was very candid, open, and kind," says Kennedy of the conversation she had with Markle, who reached out about the Insta message. "She felt heard by us and the community. I think it took courage to do what she did and to say it so openly."

In my mind, Kennedy can happily retire (she's launched a successful business! She's helped so many women! She's talked to a duchess!), but she is too driven to quit. Kennedy has plans to launch another section within the app called Peanut Meno, where women can openly connect and chat about menopause. And with the time left on our call, Kennedy unveils a peek into her personal life, from her daily routines to her boss woman work wardrobe. Read it all, ahead.

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Kennedy with her son Finlay.
Courtesy of Grace Tales

Her Morning Routine

"Mornings are chaotic in our house because I have two little ones and a little French Bulldog called Matilda and she's really annoying as well. [Laughs.] We're up at 6 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. and it's like clockwork: lay out the school uniform, feed the children, send them off to school. Once they're off, that's when I can finally get ready for work. I'm very low maintenance, so it's very much about what can I do in and out of the shower and how to get ready in a way that I can still [present] the best version of myself, but in the shortest time possible. I wear a lot of jeans and kind of similar outfits in different color palettes. This sounds really boring, but that is genuinely my life now. I drive into work and get into the office around 9 o'clock."

Her Getting Dressed Strategy

"Definitely the calendar is important. If it's an internal day of meetings with my team, I'm more paired-back and it'll be a makeup-free day. Jeans and pumps or jeans and sweaters, that is my causal go-to. If it's a more formal day and I have either events that I'm speaking at or a business or partner meeting, I have to be a little bit more put together. [My strategy] is definitely calendar-led and also length-of-stay-led. If I know I'm not getting [enough sleep] and I've got a long day, then comfort wins. I can't believe I'm saying this—I never used to be that person."

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"If I wear heels, I go for a stiletto."
Courtesy of Michelle Kennedy

Her Work Uniform

"I love tailored fashion, especially suits. I think that suits with flat shoes or suits with heels always look great, either a masculine cut of suit or something more loose, baggier. I also love a high-waisted jean. I always think it looks very elegant, like a French-style high-waisted jean with loafers and a blazer. You always look good.

Blazé [Milano] does some amazing blazers and I've got some gorgeous ones [from them]. They do that wide, boxy fit really nicely without it looking too much like I'm wearing my husband's jacket. I also love Victoria Beckham, who makes those loose, baggy clothing. Stella McCartney does great tailoring as well, and I like that look. It works for me. I also just got a Gucci jumpsuit with a big belt on it and I love that too. It's really very easy to wear and comfortable. Reformation, lately, has some great basics where they do reconditioned Levi's and '90s-style denim, which reminds me of the kind I wore as a kid. I also wear quite a bit of Peanut T-shirts underneath my blazers too; it's again quite '90s.

I have a Peanut tote and tiny handbag or my Chanel backpack—you need a backpack if you have kids so you can hold their hands and carry things."

The Three Words That Describe Her Power Outfit

"Bright, strong, and chic."

Her Motto

"Why not you? If you see something that is broken or there is an opportunity to fix it or someone is not doing something and you wonder why it's not happening, why can't it be you doing it. So, why not you?"

If you love Kennedy's tailored and put-together style, get her power outfit aesthetic, below.


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