Entrepreneur, business woman and influencer by day, cool gal by night (really cool gal all day though), we caught up with Liv Perez, founder of Friend of a Friend to find out how she balances it all:
Tell us a little about what you do.
I’m the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Friend of a Friend, an online lifestyle publication I founded in 2015, focused on fashion, beauty, and travel. I started the site as a catalyst for new dialogue – a way to inspire our readers to go out and explore uncharted territory, create their own trends, and make new friends through the process. As the founder, I curate all the content on the site, oversee our brand partnerships, and act as the face of the brand. I’m also a contributor to forbes.com, a co-founder of System of Service (a non-profit organization I started this year with Joe Holder), an Outdoor Voices ambassador, and a creative consultant to a few startups in New York City. I’ve always considered myself a Swiss Army knife. That’s what I love most about my job – you can’t label me. I proudly wear a lot of hats.
How did you start A Friend of A Friend? What was the inspiration behind it?
During my junior year at NYU, I met so many talented students who were passionate about getting the most they could out of their NYU experience. They had nothing to lose and neither did I. We had access to information because we were living in New York City, interning and learning, and living a rather adult life at a young age. I found that perspective really unique—we weren’t influenced by the professional world or by a paycheck at the end of the day, but we were exposed to everything. I decide to create a space where people could talk about these discoveries and experiences—to create more of a millennial, highly-curated Yellow Pages. “Friend of a Friend” is just that – a community of people telling their stories in an intimate, authentic, and intentional space, as if you’re hearing it from a friend. We launched the site in May 2015 with Gigi Hadid as our first guest editor. Two years later, we’ve established ourselves as cultural archaeologists with readers around the world, contributors, and collaborations with brands like Chanel, Topshop, Tory Burch, and Maybelline.
Over the past two years, we’ve refined the site to reflect exactly what our readers want to see. We’ve streamlined our focus to fashion, beauty, travel, and a newly-launched op-ed section coming in November. We want to build a community where people can come to find new experiences, but also be a part of a larger social conversation. We’re excited to present a stronger editorial platform with new content series, video, and events programs rolling out over the next few months.
What are some of your daily inspirations for your blog and business?
Starting Friend of a Friend gave me a laundry list of things to do – a definitive guide of what to try, do, and see from our perspective as well as the perspective of today’s tastemakers. So I’m constantly on the go – trying new places, meeting new people, hearing their stories. There’s so much inspiration to be found in those physical experiences alone, which is truly the mission of my website and the content we put out.
Instagram is also where I find a ton of inspiration. I love being able to access millions of creatives around the world and see what they’re interested in, talking about, creating, and how my brand can fit into the larger ecosystem. Some of my favorite accounts now are @Double3xposure (Hi Reese!), @ButLikeMaybe, @Cris.Fragkou, @Vibes, and @SmithHotels.
Take us through a typical day. What’s the first thing you do in the morning, and last thing you do at night!
I’m an early bird so I’m up around 7am. I like to take 30 minutes to go through the news, Instagram, and emails just to get caught up to speed. I actually get my best work done in the morning when I’m not distracted by the rest of the day, so I’ll spend time writing until about noon. The rest of the day is spent out of the office taking meetings, shooting content, or testing new places. If I’m lucky I’ll get a workout in around 5pm either at SLT or Y7. Since a lot of my job involves going to events at night, I’m usually working around dinner time. I love a good night cap with friends, either at Bar Pitti or the Bowery Hotel. Then I’m in bed, ice mask on my face (I do this every night to reduce my immflamuation), with hot water and lemon around 11pm. There’s such a misconception about creatives in the digital space today. It’s not just an Instagram post or an article on the site – there’s a science and strategy to all my projects.
What is your self care philosophy?
I try to take myself out of my shoes at least once a day. Step out of my situation and look at it from an outsider’s perspective. How are you treating yourself? How are you treating others around you? It’s imperative to check in and take time for yourself to re-align. Listen to your mind and body so that you don’t lose sight of your goals. Being in tune with yourself and understanding your balance is your most powerful tool.
What are your three favorite things right now?
“The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur, Glossier’s Wowder, and John Mayer’s Twitter.
How do you think your age has affected your career? Do you think you have an advantage as one of the younger influencers in the field?
I’m really grateful to have had access to the resources I did at such a young age. Going to a college in the city, I was able to intern every semester; from entertainment at Teen Vogue, to working a summer at Ryan Seacrest Productions, to helping with personal shopping at Moda Operandi, all before my junior year. Figuring out what I didn’t like was most important to progressing my career, cutting the fat, and honing in on what it was I was good at. Those experiences also allowed me to network at a young age. I’ve met and collaborated with so many incredible people that have become the fabric of my career and are people I still collaborate with today, six years later.
I used to be shy about my age out of fear of not being respected. But being the youngest person in a room gives me a unique perspective. My age gives me the ability to provide insight on the most desirable audience today – millennials. I’ve built a brand around that audience because I’m included in it – I’m talking directly to my peers and understand what they want to see. Never let your age define your skill set or deny you of an opportunity. As HB always tells me, everyone wishes they were younger anyways 😉
What have been your biggest challenges running your business?
That there’s no roadmap. Social media is a completely new industry with advancements every day. I’ve forced myself to take an analytical approach with everything we do, whether it’s what I’m posting on social media, the companies we consult with, or articles we focus on. Evolving my company with the industry is something I’m cautious of every day to stay relevant and bring our readers the best content.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people. I get to work with the most creative people in the business who are using their platforms to actually say something and make a difference in their respective industries. I consider some of my closest friends today to be people who I’ve met through work, and I’m so grateful to be able to collaborate with them professionally and personally.
What is your perfect day in NYC like?
A day of spontaneous activities that give me something to write about.