An Interview with Laura Jane from Laura Jane Atelier
Last week, Vancouver Fashion Week collaborated with the quintessential blogger Laura Jane, owner of lifestyle brand Laura Jane Atelier. Laura has an avid following around the vintage lifestyle, capturing timeless vintage fashion and lifestyle pieces on her blog and social media, as well as running a hand-crafted, hand-poured small batch perfume company, sold on Etsy.
Laura describes her brand as a gateway to nostalgia – “Feeling nostalgic is one of the best feelings, and I want to make people feel nostalgic five days a week on Laura Jane Atelier”. We wanted to know how she built a brand around that message, the struggles and triumphs along the way, and the future plans she has in store for her followers.
VFW: Laura Jane Atelier started when you came to a fork in the road and wanted to break free from the constraints of 9 to 5. How did you find yourself starting the blog?
L: I went to Emily Carr for painting, and before that I did fashion design at Kwantlen and in Toronto. As soon as a graduated from Emily Carr I got a job at an accounting firm – I knew someone there and the pay was okay. So I did that for a year and it was horrible, I just felt like I was a prisoner. Then I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend. I was in Vancouver for six more months alone and it was just so expensive and I felt unfulfilled. So, I decided to move back to Victoria. I don’t know if I want to say this, but I moved back in with my parents, very ‘I don’t know what to do with my life’, tried to find a job – it’s hard finding a job when you have a Fine Arts Degree – and then ended up working at club Monaco for about 6 months. When I kept complaining to my friend here in Vancouver she was like, ‘why don’t you start a blog?’ and I just said ‘okay’ – and I started doing it, posted 5 days a week, and kept doing it for years now!
VFW: So you followed what came most naturally to you, and that grew?
L: Yeah, I wouldn’t say I necessarily had a whole plan in mind, I just kind of did it. I didn’t know anything about blogging really, I went to school for art and fashion so maybe that part came naturally to me, but right away I really enjoyed doing it too, so it went from there.
VFW: What are some of the things you started blogging about?
L: Mainly outfit posts – different looks 5 days a week, and then when I was single I would blog about tinder dates and what not, which was funny. I just kind of write whatever comes naturally, on a whim, whatever comes to my mind.
VFW: With your blogging career growing, I’m sure there was a point in the business when you felt like it’s really become something – what would you say has been the biggest growth for the brand?
L: Wow, there’s been so many big moments throughout. A big moment I would say happened in 2014, a day before my 30th birthday. Monday Magazine emailed me and they wanted me to write the monthly fashion column – so I had only been blogging for 2 or 3 months. So when they asked me to do that, I felt like that was a really cool moment. It wasn’t paid, but it was good exposure, so that was definitely a big moment. After about a year, I did a campaign for DSW, they were opening a store in Victoria and they wanted me to do some blog posts for them, which was exciting because that was one of my first bigger collaborations of sorts. Once I started working with brands from the United States, then International Brands started happening, it all just sort of built up from there.
VFW: Wow, and it kind of all just fell into place from there?
L: Yeah, I mean I definitely struggled, I still do, and it’s not riches or anything, I mean I feel like a lot of bloggers just live it up. But it’s been years, I’ve been posting 5 days for years now, and for a while I didn’t even take a Christmas off. I haven’t taken a ‘vacation’ in three and a half years – it’s definitely hard work.
VFW: Definitely, it’s way more work than it seems to get the results people see at the end. Running a lifestyle brand is so entwined with your actual life. What would you say was one of the toughest times for your business, and how did you get over it?
L: I guess it’s just hard balancing work and life, there’s no off switch. You can always work if you want to, so it’s hard to turn it off. There’s always something to do, so it’s hard to step away, and you always feel like with everything you do you should blog about it. If you go on vacation you feel like ‘I have to photograph and blog about it’ so you feel obligated to always be recording and documenting everything in your life. I would say that is the hardest part.
VFW: What would you say a day in the life of keeping your lifestyle brand is? And future plans, where do you see your blog going?
L: Well usually I start my day with emails, checking emails and doing that sort of stuff, and then I will respond to comments on my blog. When people comment I talk to them and comment back. Then I’ll do Instagram for an hour or so and then I’ll usually go over to my office and take pictures of products, check for packages, I’ll usually try and do my blog posts and edit photos. I’ll take a break, go to the gym, come back home, work on more social media stuff and planning. Sometimes during the week I’ll go take photos with my boyfriend, we’ll do outfit photos as I mostly try to do them in one day. That’s my typical day!
VFW: Definitely sounds busy! Where do you see your blog heading in the next few years?
L: I want to keep it going, I want to get into YouTube, try and do videos, that’s my next challenge – I’d also like to do more lifestyle, I’ve thought about getting more into DIY type posts, get more into the vintage lifestyle. Primarily I’d say, more video, keep expanding, and more types of posts aside from fashion and beauty. I’d like to travel more too.