HOW I QUIT MY JOB: FINANCE TO INFLUENCER | Blogger Panel Q&A | Levitate Style
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HOW I QUIT MY JOB: FINANCE TO INFLUENCER | Blogger Panel Q&A | Levitate Style

Hi I’m Leo Chan of Levitate Style I’m born in Hong Kong, raised in New York City Moved here with my family when I was 10 The immigrant kid, you know, I kind of did like the right thing. First to go to college Make my parents proud so I studied accounting Worked in finance, but I’ve always been
into fashion, photography, modeling 4 years ago started Levitate Style with my
girlfriend Alicia That was kind of like a side hustle, that creative outlet Trying to see what we can do outside of our everyday 9-5 Honestly, one of the main points was to represent my Asian community and we
noticed that like there weren’t that many male bloggers doing this and at
the same time that wasn’t that many Asian male positive image in all of media What were some key milestones or moments and lessons that shaped you as a business person? When I first started I was still working in finance and that side hustle was after work change my clothes, go to events, network, meet people The first big milestone was definitely we met the people from GQ GQ, they were just fascinated that some guy working in finance does this fashion stuff. It’s a little different from
the usual people with the fashion background and so within that first year
of blogging I was featured in like the GQ September big issue spread Oh my god like that’s pretty crazy to see not just a influencer or Instagrammer or blogger but an Asian guy and so for me, like, that kind of hit home why I started the whole thing because I flipped through the magazine I was
like this is one more Asian guy than before Second big milestone um when both Alicia and I, my girlfriend We both quit our full-time jobs because we had a project that had us travel the world for five months and so when that came I was like wow
this is like once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Iike I we have to take it there’s no way If we come back we can’t do this thing full time It’s fine, we’ll find another job, whatever It’s amazing where social media and content creation can take you We traveled the world for 5 months creating content for a brand and it was amazing That is how we kind of started our full time journey Allen Edmonds, so it’s like a shoe company I was part of their like lookbook, their fall campaign but they used influencers, like real people instead of typical model and like have a
story to tell you know behind the brand and Allen Edmonds was THE shoe brand that I wore every day to work when I was in finance and so like I was a customer first I love the brand, I love the product I worked with them on small influencer things throughout of the year and then last year I was part of the phase, part of their campaign so I was like it’s such a crazy
full circle thing and I don’t know it was just incredible and to see yourself in the
store What are some industry lessons you learned early on? Industry wise I think early on what I learned was that so much of what we do is digital emails, you know photos, everything is on this platform it’s on the phone, on your laptop and so
and the end of the day Behind the brand, behind all these things is people and what I learned is that you know, it’s very important to show your face to have that human connection I think it’s very important to network, to meet people in
person, to get coffee with them, to get to know them. Get to know the people behind the brand Get to know, you know, what they’re doing at the company, what they
are like outside of the company and I think it’s very important to network
that way because you never know, like a year or two later they might be working at
a different company and now they have budget for influencers or now they want to do something else but they remember who you are Let’s talk about monetizing digital influence – what are your deal breakers? Definitely brands that are not “on brand” with my personal style and you’re promoting a brand that makes no sense at all and your audience is going to be like you’re just doing this for the money They can see through that Like, I can’t see myself wearing Crocs so if I’m promoting Crocs my friends, you know, my audience be like what are you doing? How are you trying to make that? Brands reach out about smoking and I’m like, I don’t smoke so I can’t do this and so definitely like you have to be real and true to yourself because people can
definitely see through that How do you juggle your relationship life and business life? Work life balance with your girlfriend Day in and day out we’re shooting content together um so that’s really nice So even when we travel we’re not, you know separated we’re not alone, like we’re together and we can make the most out of the work trip so the nice part is work
doesn’t feel like work So that you know, but the bad part is you’re kind of working 24/7 Well for me I’m always like I wanna get photos, I want to create content, I want to create content, like nonstop So like, for me it’s really understanding how my partner works safe to say that she gets overwhelmed so I know when I have to stop So when we’re traveling, for example, I know that I have certain hours or I have to get better at how I want to capture content and then have that balance where “alright we’re done shooting” and now we can go on a date, you know go to the bookstore and
like do fun stuff How do you envision your career in 5 years? Five year plan – I mean the past five
years has been incredible I couldn’t even plan out all the things that’s
happened A five year plan I just really want to keep doing what I’m doing as well and I think especially this past year with Asian representation with Crazy Rich
Asians and different things like that the media it just kind of solidifies why
I’m doing this and why representation matters and why I should keep going so I’m interested in, I would love to do more things with street wear and
sports and you know maybe have a TV show, write a book, I don’t know I just think that there’s so many things you can do now a days and you should try and like give it a try and you never know what’s gonna happen in 5 years At the core of it, I remind myself like why am I doing this So, you know I wanted to represent you know the Asian guys and I want to learn something, I wanted to learn
about social media, learn about marketing and photography and like just building
yourself so you’re not really failing you just continuously learning new
skills and you know I was working in finance so like this was just really you know
building up my portfolio, building out my resume like tack on new skills I want to change my career and thankfully it all happened that way but like there’s no failing
you’re just kind of learning new things For me there were a few guys that had
their blogs a few years before me and networking, meeting him, made a huge
difference because they kind of paved the way and they made me see what was possible and so it’s really cool to see that what they’re doing and what they been doing
helps give you little pointers and there and there like how you should talk to people, how you should be shooting your content and in a way like your peers and
your mentors kind of like comparing your work but you know it kind of elevates
the standard I mean honestly I’m really thankful for what I have right now I mean I
already have like a dream job I’ve gone on like a dream vacation thing, but I mean it would be cool to be in a movie or James Bond kind of thing that would be cool As an immigrant kid brought up in NYC the first to go to college definitely
felt the pressure to obviously please my parents and make them proud so I studied accounting I worked at Morgan Stanley and Barclays and they were proud. At the
end of the day this is your life you want to be happy, you want to love
what you do, because you don’t want to be 60 years later and be like oh my god
like I regret not doing this, not persuing my passion. The thing is that with passion and you know your skills that money will come. With my Asian parents you know I
show them magazines, I show them things and they don’t quite understand it they just think I’m just a model and I’m like no we shoot this we do the videos, all this production like
we do all of this and they still don’t understand it. It’s okay I explained to them you know we love what we do we’re our own boss, we set the schedule, there’s
freedom Teaching ourselves how to do video How to get better at that and editing our own video and as completely new territory for us the same when we started the blog it’s kind of like starting over but now with a new skill and this past year’s has been a
really good learning experience just constantly picking up new skills now I can confidently say we can do a good video it’s been really helpful especially with the way Instagram is changing with Instastory and the video platform and
obviously YouTube is still there that’s been really big for us to keep pushing


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  • Musa Kazmi Fashion

    Thanks for this. It's really motivating. I agree, in this field, we're not necessarily ever failing , just learning as long as one doesn't give up.

  • A Lun

    It is also my goal to let the western media have more positive Asian male representation, because even in nowadays, attractive figures like James Bonds still belong to White people in the media. If we want to see more Asian male representation we have to work for it and your blogger just make me realized that I am not facing this alone. So keep working and be supportive, the Asian James Bond will become true one day!!

  • vincentnnyc

    good job representing the asian male. we all know hollywood is biased toward the asian males. just keep doing your thing. with youtube nowaday, you can skip hollywood as the middle man and do your video for a wider audience.

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