Not Your Standard officially launched in late 2012. But like all great products, there’s a world of inspiration behind what you see. Quite literally, in this case. Born with Italian roots on one side and Chinese on the other, being monocultural was never in the cards for Kayla Seah. Even while she was completing a four-year degree at one of North America’s top fashion schools in the most diverse city on the planet, her hometown of Toronto, she couldn’t resist the urge to expand her horizons. The $5,000 loan she took out to learn the ropes of a rapidly emerging online fashion industry in New York City in the summer of 2010 was one of the best decisions of her life.
As she was gaining valuable professional experience with some of the leading fashion and social media platforms at the time, she always had the goal of launching her own creative outlet – one that shares a standard of living for fashion, travel, décor and healthy living around the details of exceptional design and DIY attainability. Not Your Standard is the culmination of that effort.
Kayla has had the privilege of working with some of the world’s most creative and recognized brands as well as being featured in publications like WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report, Grazia, Apartment Therapy, and The Huffington Post.
DNP: What does a typical day look like for you?
Kayla: I get up fairly early, make breakfast and instantly head to my desk. I usually catch up on emails and make sure everything is working well on the blog. The rest of my day pretty much varies depending on what projects I’m working on, sometimes it’s an afternoon of shootings, others is running errands for upcoming shoots or I have meetings about brand partnerships.
DNP: What projects have you recently been working on?
Kayla: I’m working on the “Not Your Standard Insider” at the moment, it will be an extension of the blog that will showcase new content separate from the typical blog post.
DNP: What do you find most challenging and exciting about your career?
Kayla: Attempting to create original content. There are so many bloggers out there doing the same thing, I’m trying to achieve something that’s not your standard.
The most exciting part are the endless possibilities my career brings me. I never imagined travelling and working with brands in such unique and innovative ways.
DNP: Where does your passion derive from?
Kayla: My readers and their constant support drives me to keep creating and doing what I’m doing. I also find passion within myself, I think that’s key when you have your own business. You have to have that personal motivation that keeps you going when no one else is telling you to.
DNP: How do you manage a healthy work/life balance?
Kayla: I have grown to realize that I don’t work well unless I have a healthy life balance. I try my best to work out about 4-5 times a week, I find it a good time to either clear my head or think of new ideas.
DNP: What does success look like to you?
Kayla: Working in a happy environment and being excited to wake up every day.
DNP: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Kayla: Moving my blog from Berlin to Toronto was a scary thing for me. There was a lot of things to figure out while still maintaining consistency on the blog, it’s not like you can really take a month off in this business and figure it all out. I would have to say achieving the move and seeing the development in North America has been very rewarding.
Besides that, there are some highlights like my feature in InStyle Magazine and working with reputable brands like Kenzo, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs.
DNP: What’s one word that best describes your personality?
DNP: What is your greatest fear?
Kayla: Hating work.
DNP: What is your most treasured possession?
Kayla: My camera.
DNP: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Kayla: I don’t know, I think event planning. I like creating worlds of inspiration.
DNP: Do you have any upcoming projects in the pipeline?
Kayla: I have a lot of projects in early stages right now, too early to say anything. Stay tuned.
DNP: Where is your favorite place to travel and why?
Kayla: Paris and LA.
DNP: Where would you most like to live?
Kayla: LA or New York.
DNP: How do you spend your down time?
Kayla: Friends, wine and music.
DNP: If you could spend a day with any person (living or dead), who would it be and why?
Kayla: Yves Saint Laurent.
DNP: If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Kayla: Probably Zelda Fitzgerald, her lifestyle and the 1920’s fascinate me.
DNP: Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Kayla: “Create your own visual style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” – Orsen Welles