Rebecca Tay, 31 is Editorial Director at THE OUTNET.COM, part of the NET-A-PORTER group.
I first came across Rebecca on Instagram (where else?), and was instantly drawn to her eclectic mix of images, from fashion week and style posts (natch) to food and architecture (with the odd animal or two). What I like most about her feed is that, as stylish and envy-inducing as it is (this is a woman who travels regularly and wears the hottest labels), Rebecca’s story is honest, unfiltered and, at times, humorous. After a bit of Googling, I discovered why she seems so real – because she is! As well as being super stylish, she has substance – a psychology degree, a law degree (during which she worked) and ten years’ experience working for respected and popular publications, including the Business of Fashion, the Wall Street Journal, Wallpaper and now THE OUTNET. Rebecca is a modern-day inspiration, and a wonderful example of today’s working young women.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Where do you live?
What did you want to be when growing up?
A neurosurgeon… and then a lawyer.
What does your job involve?
I oversee all of THE OUTNET’s brand messaging, both on site and off. This includes everything from home pages and emails for our U.S. and International sites to social media, special projects, videos, campaigns and exclusive collaborations.
What does your average working day look like?
No two days are the same at THE OUTNET. Things move at an extremely quick pace, so there’s definitely a lot of variety. Some days are all about planning out our editorial calendar with the trends and stories we want to get behind, assessing performance of current stories and discussing customer insights; other days I might attend a shoot edit, go on set to interview the face of an exclusive new campaign, or meet some of the brands and partners we work with to discuss future initiatives.
Best thing about your work?
Definitely the variety and the fast pace. I marvel pretty much every day about how quickly the hours go by!
Worst thing about your work?
It can be hard to turn off, I won’t lie! We move at such a fast pace and something is always happening on site, so I like to make sure I check in at least a couple of times in the evenings and on weekends to make sure I haven’t missed anything important or in case I need to make any last-minute quick decisions.
Lots of good pens, a fan, a thesaurus, a stapler (I like to keep things organised!), my Moleskine, hand cream, a hand mirror, Jurlique rosewater facial spritz and chewing gum.
What has been your career highlight so far?
That’s a hard one! I have been able to work with some pretty incredible people. Interviewing Victoria Beckham for THE OUTNET’s Victoria Beckham Charity Sale last year was pretty surreal. She was so nice, super professional, and had a pretty cheeky sense of humor – as well as some amazing stories and memories behind the pieces she selected for the charity sale. As a journalist, my first major interview was with Diane von Furstenberg, and of course, I’ll never forget it. I remember being so nervous as I knocked on the door to her suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver and being in awe of how kind, inspiring and altogether amazing she was.
How have things changed since you started out?
When I first started out as a magazine editor, the majority of people definitely did all of their shopping – for clothing and otherwise – in actual stores. That has definitely changed: these days, most of my friends and peers are just as likely (if not more likely) to buy a new dress online as they are in an actual shop.
Who or what is your inspiration/motivation?
I’m quite self-motivated. I’m a perfectionist by nature and am quite meticulous, which means I truly believe that every little detail counts and can make a difference. I also believe quite strongly in the idea of taking responsibility for yourself and your actions. This is a pretty motivating thing for me because it means that at the end of the day, I’m the only person who can be held responsible for my own happiness, actions, and reactions.
Best piece of professional advice you’ve received?
You only have one reputation, so don’t say or do anything you’ll regret later on. Fashion and publishing are also very small industries, even if they feel vast – so bad behaviour will never go unnoticed and in this day and age. It’s near impossible to make any record of it disappear completely!
Top tip for getting into the industry?
Intern! Almost everyone I know who works in fashion started out as an intern – and many did three or four unpaid internships. It’s still, in my opinion, the best way to learn about the industry and get hands-on experience and mentorship from someone working in fashion.
Something we don’t know about you?
I started playing piano at the age of three and once had aspirations to become a famous concert pianist. I had quite an atypical childhood – I was always being shuttled to and from piano lessons, recitals and competitions, and even spent a few summers at music camp – which everyone loved calling “band camp”, of course.
Paper or Digital: Both, always
Tea or Coffee: Coffee
Heels or Flats: Fancy flats
Save or Spend: Spend!
Day or Night: Day
Beach or Snow: Beach, forever
Phone or Email: Email
Dogs or Cats: Both, but cats are lower maintenance so I have an orange cat named Woody
Sweet or Savoury: Savoury, every time
Champagne or Cocktails: Champagne!