Industry Interviews

Talisa Sutton
Digital entrepreneur

March 02, 2018

Your background is in graphic design, and print media. Tell us how you built your personal brand as an influencer. 

Things have come around very organically for me. I started my blog as a creative outlet eight years ago, and it has grown with me and my career to get to where I am today. It’s advantageous to have your own distinct style and niche, particularly in the digital space. I’ve applied my background in design and fashion to a lot of my work, and my experience in print media helped me so much around the launch of Badlands Journal.

Congratulations on the launch Badlands Journal – it looks beautiful. What inspired this leap into launching your own digital magazine? 

Thank you! Magazines have been a long-term passion of mine, since I was in high school. I always saw myself working in that space, but durin my career the landscape has changed a lot with the evolution of digital content. I wanted to bridge the space between print and digital, and an online magazine felt like the best way to do that. We also see it as a platform to really promote Australian talent, alongside the creative work we produce as a design studio.

What has been the hardest learning curve so far?

You definitely have to be prepared to be across all aspects of the publication – some days I’m a producer, others a writer, then sometimes I’ll be on set art directing or styling. Because we’re such a small team, I have learnt how to adapt very quickly! 

What do you think is the biggest misconception about being an ‘influencer’?

I think from the outside it can definitely look like quite a glamorous career option. I feel very grateful to be in the position I’m in, but the reality is definitely long hours, never switching off and essentially running two start-ups. There is always a lot going on behind the scenes – I think any industry where you are self-employed requires a lot of perseverance and dedication.

What is the biggest perk of working for yourself?

Being able to have a flexible work schedule, particularly when I’m travelling. Also being able to push myself creatively, to keep evolving and to try new things.

You work closely with your husband on Badlands Journal. How, if at all, has this impacted your relationship? 

Rohan and I had worked together for over a year on the launch of our design practice, Badlands Studio, so luckily we already knew we had a good working dynamic. We’re very lucky that we have similar personality types and aesthetics – it makes working together very fluid, but we also push each other creatively. My number one tip for working with your partner is definitely communication. You need to be open and honest when working together, but try not to take your work home with you. It’s not always easy, but we usually try to block out one day a week where it’s just us – no work talk!

Your personal style is a huge part of your brand – both as @talisa_sutton and also at Badlands Journal. How would you describe it, and inspires you, sartorially?

I would describe my style as minimal/classic. I always look to great basics and comfortable wardrobe staples that stand the test of time. From there I add in more seasonal pieces, and the odd print or hit of colour to suit my mood. Usually I’m mostly in black, white and denim – however at the moment I’m really loving all things neutral.

I’m inspired by art, travel and film – Badlands itself is named after the Terrence Malick film, a personal favourite. I love a combination of old and new references. A few of my style muses are Jane Birkin, Lauren Hutton, Bianca Jagger, Charlotte Rampling, Ashley Olsen and Joan Didion.

Are there any fellow influencers that have significantly influenced, supported or helped you in your journey?

Definitely, I’m lucky to have a few friends in this space that have helped me so much along the way. They’ve helped with everything from leaving my job to go freelance, to helping me navigate international fashion weeks and the day-to-day of running an online business.

You recently came back from LA – would you ever consider moving to the States, as many successful Australian influencers have done?

Yes, for sure. I feel very comfortable in LA and New York – I would love to one day expand the Journal and the Studio to be between Australia and the US.

What are the first three things you do whenever you come home to Sydney to make yourself feel ‘at home’ again? 

Take my dog for a walk, go for an ocean swim (if the weather permits), and have coffee and breakfast at my favourite cafe, Room 10.

 Tell is, who, or what, is exciting you right now in fashion? 

The sustainability movement is an exciting space, and one that’s so important for the fashion industry to embrace. I’m loving seeing all the sustainable and ethically produced brands that are popping up – I’m predicting more and more developments this year.

Shot on location at La Porte Space

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