As a leader in the Canadian fashion industry, Lisa Tant has a resume that is one to admire and learn from. This award-winning editor, writer, and media personality has unquestionable experience. Her unparalleled knowledge of the business lends her expertise in all things fashion, beauty, and style. A Vancouver native, Tant moved to Toronto early in her career and made a voice for herself at Chatelaine, Hello! Canada, Flare (where she worked as Editor – in – Chief), and Holt Renfrew, where she took on the role of VP Fashion Editor. With such an extensive background, her current break from the corporate world is one that is well deserved.
Dauphine recently sat down with Tant to learn about her professional next steps, and get a word from the wise on the many lessons from her fashion-filled life.
D: What are your current plans for the future?
LT: I’m currently taking time off from the corporate world. I’m blogging to be creative. I’ve seen all sides of the industry and now I want to do something creative for myself, while going back and forth from Vancouver and Toronto. I’m heading back to Vancouver for a little bit. It’s my hometown and just has a different lifestyle, a more laid-back approach to life.
D: You mentioned in a recent blog post that you were now getting back to being ‘yourself’, when do you feel you lost sense of that?
LT: When you’re working corporate for so long you’re doing things you’re not personally invested in. It’s about the heart. My heart wasn’t in it. Of course I enjoyed my job, but my true self was not there. I was craving change.
D: What is your favourite way to connect with your current readers, and what type of content do you feel they respond best to?
LT: My blog is aimed for an audience interested in fashion, but first and foremost, I’m a storyteller. I think people relate most to the personal stories I’ve written. For example, The Letter to My Fifteen Year Old Self is one that was very honest and relatable for people. I’m comfortable sharing the good and the bad of life. People respond to honestly. I love people and sharing stories.
D: How do you view the digital shift in the fashion industry, and what is your relationship with the online world like?
Image Courtesy: @eightyseventhst
LT: I remember seeing the change of the digital take over while I was at Flare. I embraced it! I was one of the first editors at Rogers on Twitter. I don’t see social media as a chore, which I feel most people do. I think the fashion world has changed, with bloggers and the rise of digital, but I love it. I love how creative people are and how they can showcase that no matter where they are from. It’s different, but better in my opinion. I love blogs because I feel like it’s a peak into people’s lives. I’m a very curious person.
D: What have you found to be the best strategies when working with advertisers and gaining an online audience?
LT: You have to really believe in your vision. Pick what you want to be and be it. Advertisers will see that. You also need to really think about what your reader wants. As a blogger now, I can clearly see what works for me and what doesn’t. There are no lies to digital. As opposed to traditional magazines, where it was a little trickier to figure out how your reader responded to content, with digital the response is immediate. In the future sponsored work with the blog would be great, but that’s not the reason I started. It was first a creative outlet for me.
D: What are some of your most treasured memories from your career?
LT: Anything with Chanel is an amazing memory, I’ve been to a number of their shows all around the world. Meeting Madonna at TIFF in 2012 was also one of my favourite memories by far.
D: What are some lessons that have stuck with you throughout your work life?
LT: I’ve learned a lot. If you don’t experience the lows, you won’t appreciate the highs. Be yourself, it’s very simple advice. Everyone wants to fit in, but the people who are successful are themselves. People will like you for you and if they don’t, who needs them. Always remember to reconnect back to yourself. I had to grow a very thick skin throughout my career. But instead on focusing on that negativity, I focused on myself.
D: What advice can you give those entering the fashion publishing business?
LT: It’s a courageous time to be in the publishing business. Know very well what the reader wants, even if it may not be what the editor wants. It is difficult, but I say the cream always rises.