Learning from Dazey Lady Lavendaire
I met Aileen, aka Lavendaire, through a mutual friend, Lynette. Lynette had a vision board event at our Biz Babez space. I not only got to meet and chat with Aileen but was gifted a copy of her amazing book. The year was coming to an end and I was anxiously planning for 2018 and I found it so incredibly helpful! After hearing more about her journey as a YouTube star come author I had to ask for a feature!
She's gone through the self discovery journey and now makes it her goal to help others with the skills and tips she's acquired along the way. Her mission is to equip and empower people to persue their dreams! Obviously something we can really get behind here at Dazey. :)
See the full shoot and deep dive into Aileen's inspiring journey below. We talk about all the odds jobs she had along the way, how she got started on YouYube, and how she went about creating her workbook!
Let’s rewind back to the beginning! What was your personal experience in college? What was your major and why?
I went to USC and majored in Business Administration. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so business seemed like a general and practical major that could lead to a variety of career paths. It was a major I could count on to get me a job when I graduated, because my biggest fear was to graduate jobless and unsuccessful. I was really ambitious and wanted to feel like I was “doing well” compared to my peers.
On the side, I pursued my creative passions: I was making singing videos on YouTube, on the hip hop dance team, and played the lead in a school musical. Around junior year, I started to question my life existence, asking questions like “What’s the meaning of life?” “Why are we here?” and “What the heck am I doing with my life?” I started thinking differently about everything I knew - it was quite dramatic for me.
Then I got the opportunity to study abroad in Milan, which is where I embarked on a “soul search” and introduced myself to self help books about finding your life purpose. Traveling abroad opened my eyes to so much more. Away from the demands, stress and competition of school in my old bubble, I was able to learn more about myself and what I truly wanted out of life. I gained clarity and inspiration to take my life in a new direction, a direction that aligned with my true dreams, rather than the expectations of others.
The irony is that in the end, my biggest fear came true: I graduated jobless and “unsuccessful” in the eyes of my family and peers. It was a struggle. But it taught me to let go of what others thought of me, and it led me to create my best life.
Following college what did you decide to pursue? You mentioned having a lot of internships!
I had six or seven internships throughout college in entertainment, social media, marketing and advertising industries. I loved the idea of working in entertainment, because I love performing and the arts. But each internship taught me the reality of the business-side of these industries, how unglamorous it is and how it’s just regular work, like everything else. These internships taught me more about what I don’t like and what I don’t want with my life, which I’m grateful for. I got honest with myself and realized that deep down I had always wanted to be on the talent and creative end of the work, instead of the business end.
After college, I decided not to pursue the corporate route that I was expected to take, and instead set off to explore all the creative paths that interested me. I pursued music, making more YouTube videos, performing often, and producing an album. I pursued acting and hosting. I volunteered for a food festival startup, doing marketing, PR and video production, which later became a fun freelance job.
What were some of the highs and lows you had before deciding to work for yourself?
Some highs: Recorded and produced my own album and threw an amazing album release party. Some of my videos were shared by DJs Dash Berlin and Nicky Romero. I got to manage a video team for the food festival and produce my first short film, entered a singing competition on Chinese TV.
Some lows: Dealing with depression my last semester of college, getting fired from a couple internships, clashing with parents & family who didn’t understand me, working with other creators and getting burned/disrespected from people I thought were my friends, getting disqualified from the singing competition because of irresponsibly showing up late to rehearsals.
It’s funny to organize it this way because as you might suspect, there’s a story in each of those lines. Another observation I made right now: I listed my highs in past tense and my lows in present tense, maybe because my highs are “things I’m proud of accomplishing” and lows are “difficult times I had to go through.” Interesting!
What lead you to start producing content on youtube?
In those years of creative and self exploration, I realized that we can really shape our lives in any way that we want, and that was so exciting. Because I didn’t have a 9-5 job, I had the flexibility to say yes to all of these odd jobs and opportunities that made my life so much more interesting than it would have been otherwise. In those years, I learned how to be an artist of life.
I started Lavendaire to share this discovery and all the insights and lessons that came from my experience so far. I had gained so much knowledge in personal growth from reading books & studying people I admired online. I was totally a sponge during those years. Lavendaire was my outlet to share all that I was learning. At the time, it was hard to find people my age talking about self help on YouTube—I was like “Why isn’t anyone talking about this?” I knew that there must have been others my age going through the same struggles, so I decided to start sharing.
What are the best tips you have on building a following on YouTube?
Find your voice, your message and your style. You really have to know who you are and what you want to say. Then, commit to creating and posting consistently. Stick to a schedule and treat it like a real job! Always create the highest quality videos you can with what you have, but don’t worry about the technical aspect, because you can learn along the way. Start with the gear you have and just create something and put it out there. Ask for feedback on your videos, and make efforts to learn and improve so that each new video is better than the last. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I love your brand name, Lavendaire, what does mean?
Thanks! It’s just a word I made up because I liked the sound of it. I wanted to create an original word that didn’t exist online yet, so that if you searched it up, I would be the only result that shows up! I brainstormed some other options but Lavendaire stuck, because I love lavender and the multiple meanings behind it—it’s a light, dreamy color, a flower, and a calming scent—all qualities I liked for my brand. And my hair was purple at the time. My friends at the time joked that it was just “lavender + hair” put together. But I added “aire” because I like an airy feel and wanted the word to sound a bit French.
You really focus your videos on teaching people and trying to spread a positive message! What is your main focus for your videos and why?
My mission is to empower people to realize and embrace their truest self, and set forth to create the life of their dreams. That’s the meaning of being an “artist of life.” I truly believe that we all have gifts and strengths to share, that make us incredibly unique. We’re meant to bring our uniqueness to the world, to light it up in some way. If everybody lives according to others’ expectations (like I did in my youth), the world would be made up of a lot of mediocre copycats, and our gifts would be wasted. The world benefits when you are being yourself and you share your unique light. You’ll also be infinitely happier. It’s a win-win situation for all parties.
So after building a popular fan base on YouTube and Instagram you decided to launch a book! Tell us a little about Artist of Life?
The Artist of Life Workbook is a book of questions and exercises to help you plan your best year. It’s essentially all the questions and exercises that I’ve personally done, that have helped me in my journey. Within are questions to help you reflect on the past year, clarify what you want for the new year, set your goals in all areas of your life, and help keep you accountable for your goals throughout the year.
You can learn more and see photos of the Artist of Life Workbook on my website here.
How does one go about creating a book!? Walk us through the process of idea to final product!
First comes the idea. I’ve actually had the idea of creating a life guide type of book five years ago, but the idea came back to me in 2016 with more clarity. I had so much inspiration to make the idea come to life, so I committed to setting aside time to get it done. I made the first version (the 2017 Artist of Life Workbook PDF) on Pages and launched it as a digital workbook. My audience asked if there would be a print version of the workbook, since a lot of people like using pen and paper. So, I started researching printers and emailing for quotes to get my digital workbook printed. In the end, my boyfriend connected me with a manufacturer in China who could help us with production. I collected photo examples of what I wanted and sent over samples for color and material for the workbook cover as well as samples for the paper I wanted to use. I also sent over the dimensions and design for the workbook and cover. Then, it’s up to them to source the right materials that are similar to my vision, send me photos of their findings and (if time permits) create samples to send over for me to review.
Because we were on a time constraint last year, we skipped the step of creating samples, so the workbook I sold was the first workbook they created. This year, I had more time to create the workbook. I took a class to learn Adobe InDesign and created the new workbook design on that. In production, we went through 2 rounds of samples before landing on the third and final design.
Tell us a little bit about your podcast! How long has it been going on? What are you trying to accomplish with it?
My podcast, The Lavendaire Lifestyle, has been going on for almost two years. It’s an extension of my channel so I chat about the same topics of lifestyle design and personal growth, but more in depth. I bring in a variety of guests in the self help, wellness and creativity spaces to share about different aspects of how to create your dream life. My guests embody what it means to be an artist of life, so they always have nuggets of wisdom to share on in our interviews. I actually learn a lot from interviewing guests on the podcast. My YouTube channel is generally me sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned. But my podcast is a chance for me to learn from someone else, an expert in a certain area, and share that experience with my audience.
You are a lady of so many talents and pursuits! What’s next for Aileen and Lavendaire?!
This year I’m focusing on laying the foundation for new beginnings. I’m looking to hire a couple people to help with video editing and production. I want to elevate the brand of Lavendaire and create content that’s high quality. I’m realizing that I can’t do it all myself at the quality level I want it to be. I have to collaborate and work with others, others who are better than me in areas where I am lacking. That’s the next step! Learning to build a small team, create new systems and learn to manage it all.
Another reason for wanting to get help is to free up my time for writing a book! Publishing a book has always been a dream of mine, so I’m just getting ready to tackle that.
What does being a Dazey Lady mean to you?
It means being a woman who feels empowered to express herself confidently and go after her biggest dreams, regardless of what anyone else thinks.