I am very excited to introduce today’s interview subject – the fantastic Lynn Liou, all around extraordinaire and editor of the luxury lifestyle magazine Phoenix International. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Lynn some questions that spanned career, work/family life balance, the future of luxury in Asia, and of course her wonderful style. Plus, can I just mention that she is just so, so beautiful? I’ve included some of my favorite photos of Lynn and her style (as well as her beautiful family!) throughout. Enjoy meeting her!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
I’m a wife, mom to a toddler boy, travel enthusiast, avid reader, sport shopper (that is, I shop as a form of exercise), food lover, California girl, and founder/editor-in-chief/publisher of a Chinese American luxury lifestyle magazine called Phoenix International. I currently split my time between the suburbs of LA and Taipei, Taiwan.
You have one of the ultimate dream jobs – editor in chief and publisher of a magazine. Can you share some more about how you landed here?
Prior to founding the Phoenix International, I was publisher and editor of Vivid, another Chinese American luxury lifestyle publication originally founded by a well known LA-based Chinese jeweler. Due to the unexpected passing of my boss in 2012, the magazine was shut down after 8 years in existence. After four years at the helm, I had built up a loyal following of readers and advertisers so I felt compelled to continue with my mission of bringing a high quality luxury publication to the Chinese community. So, I partnered with my printer and launched Phoenix; my first issue came out when I was 8 months pregnant with my son!
What have been the most surprisingly positive things that you’ve experienced in your current career? What about some unexpected difficulties?
When I first started out at Vivid, I had little experience and no connections in the publishing industry. Despite having received my graduate degree in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School of Communications, I took a detour in my career early on when I quit my marketing job to help my then-boyfriend (now-husband) build our business in a completely unrelated industry. During that time, I dabbled in blogging (Xanga!) and occasionally on-camera hosting to fulfill my creative side. It wasn’t until many years later that the opportunity to edit Vivid was presented to me, and of course I jumped at the chance.
I learned the magazine business from the ground up with only my instincts guiding me. The previous editor-in-chief had been terminated from the position, so I was essentially given a blank slate and no directions, which was both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. When I look back at my first couple of issues, it’s with a mixture of delight and embarrassment. I made a lot of mistakes, but I’m proud of the fact that, despite my lack of experience, I was able to grow a small regional publication into an industry recognized, internationally circulated magazine.
Today, Phoenix International has an esteemed roster of luxury advertisers such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Omega, Chopard, Rolex, Dior Couture, Versace, and many more. Last year, we were recognized by Media Industry News as one of the fifteen “Hottest Launches of 2012”, alongside titles such as Du Jour and Cosmopolitan for Latinas.
As a little girl growing up, I used to draw, write, and then staple pieces of paper together to create my own “magazine,” so I feel really blessed to be where I am today in my career. To be able to combine my love for luxury and fine living with my passion for media communications is a dream come true. I’ve always been very involved in the Chinese American community as well, so to be able to contribute by creating a product that has been so warmly received is something I’m very grateful for.
You have fantastic style. Can you share what a typical day and night look are for you? What are you typically doing day/night?
Thank you, I’m so flattered! My style has really evolved since becoming a mother. I’m much more relaxed now in my dress, which means that J Crew t-shirts, Rag and Bone boyfriend jeans, baseball caps, and sneakers or flats generally make up my outfit du jour. When I’m heading out and taking my son with me, I’ll wear leggings or skinny jeans with a relaxed, flowy top and pair it with boots (Chanel or YSL) or kitten-heel pointy-toed pumps (I’m obsessed with Valentino Rockstuds). Black, grey, and neutrals are my staple ‘colors,’ though I have an affinity for stripes and the occasional print (mostly leopard). The truth is, I’m pretty conservative when it comes to fashion. I prefer the French attitude towards dressing these days; my style mantra is “easy, timeless, and sophisticated.”