Alyssa Lau; Edmonton; @imalyssalau
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
In the shortest amount of words possible, I’m a photographer, style blogger, social media influencer, and the founder and buyer for one of Canada’s only online sustainable fashion sites, New Classics Studios. If you want the long story short though, I’d consider myself a creative professional (whatever that means).
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to the University of Alberta and studied chemistry and anthropology. I graduated with a bachelor of science.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
My first job after I graduated was as a part-time research assistant at a University of Alberta Biochemistry lab. Shortly after, I took on another part-time job at a local womenswear boutique, so I would be working Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the lab, and Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Saturdays at the boutique.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
During New Classics’ first year of operation, we had a bout of online press (including an article from FLARE!) that really helped propel us into more mainstream media. Honestly I’m not sure what prompted this, but I like to think this happened because people believed in our mission and the importance of sustainable fashion!
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
The moment we sent out our 500th online order.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
Honestly, I can’t tell you any specific moment in my career that I regret or consider a failure. I’ve obviously made mistakes, but they have always been experiences I’ve been able to learn from. And that’s all you can really do with mistakes.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Always ask questions. Everything will be a 100 percent “no” until you ask!
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
‘Just follow your gut.’ There are always so many other factors you need to consider as well!
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
I can’t recall any moments of outright sexism, but the nuances of being a woman in any business can always be felt. Sometimes people don’t take you seriously or they overlook your achievements.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
As a self-employed creative, you’re always hustling. My partner, Eric, and I always have different projects going on aside from the store, including freelance photography work, content creation and brand collaborations. Not only does this push me to keep learning and growing, but it also has lead me to a number of opportunities I could’ve never dreamed of!
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
That we don’t work hard enough and that we’re lazy.