Ever think about following your dreams? We had the pleasure this month of sitting down with Lauren, from This Renegade Love and her story. Read more below!
First off – happy one year anniversary! Tell us a bit about This Renegade Love and its role in the Toronto community.
Yay! Thank you. I launched This Renegade Love the same week I moved back to Toronto from the UK and I always tell everyone that had I stayed in London, it would not have had the same impact as it’s had in Toronto. When I came back after a year and a half of being away, I was surprised by how much Toronto had changed – it was revitalized and vibrant in a way I hadn’t seen before. Everyone was doing their own thing and it really became the perfect time for This Renegade Love to exist, profiling those renegades that were following their dreams.
How did This Renegade Love come to be?
It started over a drink in London, with my boyfriend telling me to quit my job because I was miserable, and the concept just grew over time. I had started my career in editorial so had a background in writing, and my dream had always been to create my own content website where I had total creative freedom. I also really wanted to develop a platform for ordinary people to share the stories of how they built extraordinary lives for themselves. With my boyfriend’s amazing support, I quit my job and got to work on building the brand, having the renegades at the core of it all, but tying in inspirational content on travel, career, wellness, style and giving back.
If you were to give This Renegade Love three personality traits, what would they be?
Authentic, Inspiring, Relatable
What does it take to successfully manage a blog?
More than anything, to be successful in the blogging world you need an authentic voice and the strength to not be influenced by what other people are doing. There are a million and one bloggers out there, and your unique vision and voice are what will set you apart from the rest.
What has been the most challenging aspect of transitioning your blog from a hobby to your full-time job? Most rewarding?
Well for me, I launched This Renegade Love with the intention of building it into my full-time job, and so I think the most challenging part has been wearing the business hat as a creative. When it’s not just a hobby, you need to be very strategic in everything you do, whether it’s working with brands, collaborating with other influencers or analyzing what content performs well and why. And that’s something than can be really tough for people who are creatively-driven rather than business savvy.
That being said, the most rewarding part is the total flexibility to create the content I want, for no one else but me and my readers. There’s none of the red tape that you get stuck behind when working for a corporation, and no one telling me that I can’t execute something. If I want to create it, I do. And even though I had to make a lot of sacrifices to be able to do this (good-bye, steady salary!), it’s the best feeling in the world to wake up and create what I love.
How do you build awareness and attract followers?
Instagram has been a massive driver for This Renegade Love – I’ve gained an awesome loyal following of readers through the app. I like to be pretty transparent on social media as well, and I think that’s worked to my advantage – my followers can see that I’m a real person and that not everything is heavily curated, which helps them relate to me and my content. I’m also pretty active in the Toronto community and love to network at events, so that’s helped me to grow a great local following.
What’s your ideal weekend look like in Toronto?
Oh man, so much to do! A perfect weekend would be a gorgeous summer day, and my boyfriend Damien and I would kick things off with coffee at Boxcar Social in the east end followed by brunch at Saturday Dinette. We’d throw a Jays game in there, open roof, mid-afternoon. For dinner we’d hit up Gusto or Mengrai Thai, then head to Clocktower Bar in Summerhill for a few old-fashioneds with friends on the patio.
Favourite Toronto resto at the moment?
Saturday Dinette. Amazing brunch, lovely staff and a chill vibe that’s tough to come by.
What is the number one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to turn their passion project into a full-time gig?
If you need help, ask for it. No one wants to see their business fall apart because they were too proud to ask for help. The smartest business owners are the ones who hire people who can do what they can’t.
Favourite place to have a sweat sesh in Toronto?
I’ve been living for Spokehaus spin classes recently. 45 minutes of sweat dripping from every pore to some kick-ass tunes – when you don’t have a ton of time in your day it’s a great way to squeeze in an awesome workout.
Where do you see This Renegade Love in 5 years?
When I started This Renegade Love, the idea was always to build brand awareness online, then grow it offline after a few years. I’d love to develop it into a full lifestyle brand centred around inspiring other to become renegades in their own right, whether that means I write a book or host workshops for bloggers and small business owners.
How can people reach you?
Like, anywhere online, haha! You can follow me on Instagram at @thisrenegadelove or shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]. Or you can check me out on Snapchat at @Lozzamcp, where I let my freak flag fly.