We've given the mic to the industry's future leaders. Bea Taylor, digital producer for Homes to Love, shares her thoughts on the media industry.
What sparked your interest in getting into the media industry?
Like anyone, I went through a volume of “what I want to be when I grow up” ideas. On the list were the likes of; fashion designer, actor, writer, food stylist, florist and photographer. But I think my interest in the media industry sprung up because I realised it was a job where I could do elements of all these things.
Can you explain your career path so far?
I completed my Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism at Massey in 2015 and I had been accepted into their post-grad journalism course, to start in 2016. But whilst I was backpacking through South-East Asia, my mum emailed me saying there was a job going at NZ House & Garden.
I emailed in (from my hostel room in Phnom Penh) to ask whether they were still taking applications (thinking it was a long shot, but you’ve got to be in it to win it) and I ended up getting the job and so withdrew from the post-grad course.
I was the NZ House & Garden staff writer and social media editor for just over three years. And the job definitely grew with me. NZ House & Garden is part of stuff, so in addition to doing mag work (writing features, curating the shopping pages and doing social media) I was also writing and producing content for online (articles, videos etc). In September last year, I accepted the role at Bauer to be a digital producer for Homes to Love (homestolove.co.nz).
Here, I produce content for online and manage the social media accounts for Home magazine, Your Home & Garden and Homes to Love.
What’s your favourite piece of work so far?
That’s a very hard question to answer, because there have been so many favourite pieces - and they’re all in different parts of the job, so it seems unfair to choose. I really love creating videos. Some standouts have been wallpapering a school staffroom single-handedly to test how hard wallpapering actually is (FYI, pretty hard). Another one was how to create an expensive looking valentines bouquet out of $20 dairy flowers. Another favourite piece would be the feature I wrote about Georgina Skinner’s Greek holiday home. It was a big one for me because it was the first house I had scouted for the mag and pitched to the team. Georgina is such a lovely person to work with, which made writing about her home and her family a pleasure. Early last year I wrote an online story about the op-shoppers of Instagram; The Goods We Found and The Boho Thrifter.
I recently met Charlotte Burt (The Goods We Found) in person for the first time (we had previously communicated via email and phone) and she said to me that my article kicked off her business. That was a really nice feeling, knowing my article had helped a local business in a small way. And how can a favourite part not be posting beautiful photos? I love curating the Instagram feeds for Homes To Love, Your Home & Garden and Home. Tell you what though, it definitely gives you a warped expectation for what your own home should look like.
What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role?
I’ve been lucky that in my job I deal with lovely homeowners and interesting experts, who are all open and willing to work with. So, I guess the most challenging thing I’ve had to deal with was actually deciding when it was time to move on from my first job (which I was very happy in) and chase the next career opportunity that was offered to me. It’s hard to leave a good thing, especially when you’re not sure what you’re going to will be as good. And I’m lucky that it was. But what’s life without taking a few leaps of faith and seeing where you end up?
What’s the best part of working in the magazine industry?
This is a tricky one to answer because it’s too predictable (and a little bit boring) to say “everything”. Even though it’s true. I’ve transitioned from working on print magazines to working on the online part of magazines and there are definite “best parts” to both sides. What I always enjoyed, and always found appealing about mags was the variety.
You’ve got style pages, short articles, longer articles, photoshoots; it’s the best way to flex every creative and editorial muscle you have. However, the overarching ‘best part’ of working in the magazine industry (online and print) is being able to work for a product that completely dedicates itself to one passion. And to be able to talk to experts, homeowners and purveyors in that particular field is pretty special. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there are some lovely perks too. Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a flower arranging course with some incredibly talented and creative women. I learnt a lot, connected with new people and got a great idea for an article - mornings like this are also pretty special.
What’s your advice you would give to those entering the industry?
Confidence in yourself and in your work will get you far, but you’ll also need to learn to take criticism on the chin. Most of the valuable things I have learnt, whether it was about writing and interviewing style, or career progression, was from taking in the advice from much more experienced colleagues and learning how to adapt that to my own work style. I also probably couldn’t stress the importance of putting your ideas forward and having the courage to wave your own flag every now and again to say “I want to do that” or “I can do that”.