CARENE Chong chats to Couturing.com founders Lisa Teh and Thom Whilton about fashion, passion and making it big in the cut-throat blogging world.
It is obvious fashion flows in the blood of Lisa Teh and Thom Whilton, the founders of fashion news website Couturing.com. There’s no fashion event in Melbourne left uncovered by the duo, be it line launches, new trends, runway shows, VIP events or even restaurant openings.
“When we started Couturing.com we really wanted it to be an easy-to-use guide to the current happenings in Melbourne’s fashion party scene, as well as any news in fashion in Australia and internationally,” Thom says.
Less than a year old, the website is already drawing thousands of hits a month and is quickly becoming a must-go-to site for anyone looking for fashion tips, trends or news. And it all started when the two true-blue Melburnians met as bloggers. Lisa’s blog was more about the business side of fashion, while Thom, a vlogger/blogger, featured street-style fashion. After multiple meetings, it dawned on the duo they had a lot in common.
“We liked (and disliked) the same things about Melbourne fashion,” Thom recalls.
“Then suddenly within a week, Couturing was born and there was no turning back.”
But what makes this blog different to the millions of other similar websites currently on the World Wide Web? Originality and creativity, say the duo.
“Lisa and I started off as bloggers and there was a real stigma that all bloggers did was recycle content,” Thom reflects.
“We endeavoured to create something original and break fashion news to our readers.”
One of their favourite “original content” featured on the site is CouturingTV, which is packed full of videos on Australian designers and boutiques, directed and edited in-house. The pair also style and shoot their own fashion spreads, sometimes with the odd local celeb. Think Harpers Bazaar, except online.
Bur like any other venture, starting off and maintaining the site wasn’t easy.
“I won’t lie to you, it’s pretty tiring but definitely worth it,” Lisa says.
“At the start it was just Thom and I trying to do everything ourselves. Now we’ve got some fantastic photographers and writers helping us out, which definitely makes it easier.”
However, there is still some way to go before the website pays off, literally.
“We’re very lucky that Couturing has received such a great response in its first few months, but there’s still a lot more to do before we look to make a profit,” Lisa says. “Right now it’s more of a labor of love.”
It goes without saying that as messengers of fabulous fashion, the duo only don the trendiest of outfits and accessories. But like all of us, they have style icons too.
“I love Diane Kruger and Blake Lively because they don’t have stylists and always look great,” Lisa says.
“I also love Miranda Kerr, Miroslava Duma and (Vogue Australia’s senior fashion editor) Christine Centenara for street style inspiration as they always look effortlessly amazing.”
Not surprisingly, Thom shares the same view.
“I look at Christine Centenara as a style idol as the way she puts her outfits together is stunning. Her and (Australian fashion stylist) Stevie Dance. I like to be inspired by their style in my own way.”
So what advice do Lisa and Thom have for aspiring bloggers?
“It sounds clichéd but always follow your dream,” Lisa says.
“The thing I love about fashion is that everyone working in the industry is passionate about what they do, which I really admire and respect.
“We only get one shot at life so you should spend it doing something you love.”
Thom agrees, adding that life is about making the right changes before it’s too late.
“If something isn’t working, change it up. Don’t get tunnel vision and believe as if something is the ‘be all and end all’. Be ready to admit when a bad idea is a bad idea and throw it out the window, you’ll save so much time and stress.”
Check out Lisa Teh and Thom Whilton’s labour of love at Couturing.com.