Interview: Penny Lane, Editor & Founder of TheStyleLane.com
Penny Lane, Editor and Founder of TheStyleLane.com, was born in Middlesex but grew up in Hampshire. She has been running The Style Lane for four years now. With over 3.5k followers on Instagram and 16.7k followers on Twitter, I was interested to find out about a day in the life of an online magazine editor. When asked what the best perks of her job are, Penny said, “There are many lovely experiences that come with the travel and dining reviews. I also get to meet very inspiring people through collaborations, meetings and at launches. It’s always great to try so many beauty treats, too.” I wanted to find out how it all began and what advice Penny would give others…
What made you want to start The Style Lane as an online magazine?
After completing a journalism degree in Southampton, I began freelancing for different magazines and online titles. As I completed each article, I wanted to put my own spin on the stories. Creating a platform for women to source a streamlined edit of fashion, beauty and lifestyle news seemed like the perfect solution to focus my ideas.
What’s your favourite topic to write about?
I love compiling how-to features with tips and advice on all sorts of subjects. It’s also very insightful interviewing different entrepreneurs to explore each individual’s journey to success.
Have you always known this is what you wanted to do?
There’s no denying I always wanted to write with an involvement in the fashion and beauty industry, but the power and visuals of the digital world has also allowed me to discover a love for photography.
How has your day-to- day life changed since you began?
I juggle keeping the site fresh with daily content, work on creative consultancy for other brands and combine freelance projects that come my way. Most days, I dip into all three of these tasks. Emails are my weakness, as I really struggle to stay on top of these. Work life has changed so much from the beginning and list making is the only way to stay organised.
What advice would you give to those wanting to start their careers in lifestyle journalism?
Offer to write for free for online publications from the very beginning. Targeting online editors is likely to be more successful than print initially, as they have a fast turnover and are hungry for features and contributors. Give a unique slant on the topic where possible, to make your ideas stand out from the rest. Once you’ve got some good features under your belt, create a digital portfolio of your work to showcase your style and experience. With strong examples you can begin pitching professionally.
A lot of the photography is done by yourself, what camera do you use and what tips would you give for bloggers wanting to produce top quality photography?
The Style Lane is very monochrome and simplistic, so beautiful photography is essential to breathe life into the design. We use a mix of the good old iPhone (the quality you can produce with an editing app is truly amazing when you’re pushed for time) and a Canon DSLR, brightening each image on Photoshop. For product flatlays or food, shoot from above and find a spot with lots of natural light.
Which is your favourite social media platform and why?
Which is best for promoting and sharing content from The Style Lane? The most enjoyable to use is Instagram but this is quickly being overshadowed by the fun of Snapchat. Twitter sees the most response and activity for us.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given throughout your career?
There’s nothing worse than a big task hanging over you, so get it ticked off today, rather than tomorrow. I’m also a fan of not comparing your progress. Keep the focus and energy on your own career game.
What are your Spring/Summer 2016 product recommendations?
My favourite multitasking skincare product is currently Pommade Divine. It’s fabulous for a multitude of concerns, targeting everything from dry lips and ragged cuticles to burns or bites, and really speeds up the healing process.
What’s next for 2016?
I have a few plans up my sleeve for developing the site to blend editorial with retail. YouTube is also on the menu.
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