Kat Tanita is the mind and creator behind With Love From Kat – a travel, fashion and beauty blog that is your one-stop shop for all things lifestyle. Initially, her heart was set on interior design as a career but Kat changed her job aspirations after discovering social media. After graduating from college with a degree in design, she started interning and realised this wasn’t her dream job so she decided to look at other creative outlets.
Being one of the first bloggers in the business, she has risen from success to success and is an experienced and talented lady in the industry. We had a chat with Kat about what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur, the blogging life and her favourite travel spots. Her way of living? The simple life. All things minimalistic and relaxed.
“I think beauty from the inside radiates out – I’m a firm believer in that. I think the mind-body connection is so important.”
Taylor Magazine: How did you get started with blogging?
With Love From Kat: I started my blog, just as a side project, and then I moved to New York and started working in the fashion industry. I got a job in social media for small jewellery brands – every day I would go to work and I would be really inspired by fashion so I started talking about it more on my blog. About a year and a half later, after working full-time and blogging at midnight, I realised I was really passionate about it and wanted to make it my full-time job. So, I quit my job and started blogging full time!
Taylor Magazine: Blogging is quite competitive and it’s a hard industry to get into for a lot of people. What did you find made you stand out and gain popularity from so many of your followers?
With Love From Kat: Absolutely, it’s a very saturated market right now. I feel so lucky that I was able to start blogging six years ago when it was still up and coming and unknown. I still go back to my roots, where I only promote things that I love and try and stay genuine to myself. I’ve learned to turn down projects and say no if they don’t seem like the right fit. I’ve gained so much trust with my readers. For anyone trying to start a blog, my advice would be that anything you put out there, make sure it’s genuine, relevant and something that you wear or love already because readers are really smart and savvy and can see through something that doesn’t feel organic.
Taylor Magazine: Your blog does cover a lot of things. Why did you decide to write about a range of different topics?
With Love From Kat: It originally began as a more interior design focused blog and then I started incorporating travel. Then, of course after starting to work in the fashion industry, I started talking about fashion. Living in New York you are surrounded by amazing restaurants, shops, hotels and the world is basically your oyster. I combined all the things that I love – fashion, food, beauty, travel.
Taylor Magazine: I’m having a look at your blog now and it all seems very neat, clean and feels like a true representation of you, just as you have described. How important is it for you to be really honest with your readers?
With Love From Kat: Thank you! I work really hard to make the blog design really clean and easy to read. I think with anything in life, in any line of work it’s so important to stay true to yourself, stay genuine and I hope that shows through on my blog!
Taylor Magazine: What would you say was the hardest thing you faced when you first started out?
With Love From Kat: When I started my blog, people didn’t really know what blogging was or they didn’t believe in the power of blogging. There wasn’t even Instagram or Pinterest when I started blogging, so getting new readers and followers was tricky and it was just such unchartered water. So of course, you make mistakes when you’re younger and when you’re starting a business – it’s still all about evolving, growing and learning today. The fact that I just tapped into an unknown industry was the most challenging part I think – back then there was no book on how to start a blog! I just googled things, asked different mentors that had their own businesses and looked for any advice I could get.
Taylor Magazine: How did you come up with the name? That must be quite a challenging part!
With Love From Kat: It’s funny because I wanted it to be a personal travel diary and a personal journey so I thought ‘what phrase would encompass that?’ The name ‘With Love From Kat’ sounds like a diary entry and as if you’re signing off. It fitted well with what I wanted to put out there.
Taylor Magazine: That does sound like a great fit! Obviously you’re a blogger, but you’re also a businesswoman. What is the most challenging thing about being your own boss?
With Love From Kat: I didn’t go to school for business so luckily my first job gave me an idea on everything from invoicing to learning how to Photoshop, marketing, analytics, etc. This was invaluable experience. It’s hard when something isn’t your area of expertise but I’m always willing to learn and reach out to people – I’m not afraid to ask for help.
“I’m constantly trying to learn, grow and be open to a changing industry.”
Taylor Magazine: What would you say is the main lesson you have learnt from having your own business and being your own boss?
With Love From Kat: I would say stay humble and stay hungry. Having a business is a really humbling experience – you’ll have really high highs and you’ll have low lows. It’s challenging being an entrepreneur, especially a female entrepreneur. Be prepared to ride through the ups and downs. Stay hungry because this industry can be very saturated, it is ever-changing. Always hone in on your craft, bring something different and relevant to the table to keep your readers engaged.
Taylor Magazine: Was there a point where you realised with your blog that this was definitely something that was going to be sustainable?
With Love From Kat: When I quit my full-time job, I wasn’t making enough money from my blog to support myself completely so I actually started a social media consulting business, which I did to make ends meet. After 6 months, my blog started to take off and I was bringing in more income so I could support myself fully and was able to focus on my blog completely at that point. People often wonder how long it takes for a blog to make money, but it’s not something that happens overnight, it took years. I did a lot of unpaid work to make my blog stand out – I was a contributing writer for olivapalermo.com, glitterguides.com, etc. I tried to get myself out there as much as possible while my blog was still growing. I did the extra leg work so my blog would eventually go further.
Taylor Magazine: I saw you moved from New York to California. What inspired you to make that move? They’re both amazing places, but what took you back to California?
With Love From Kat: New York is incredible but I started to crave that West Coast laid back vibe. I fell in love with Venice Beach, which is actually modelled on Venice, Italy. It was so charming and sunny and I was ready to live in a house, have a car and get back to a slower pace of life. It has been wonderful settling here but it is obviously so different to New York. I’m three blocks from the beach now, which is totally my style! It’s a great change of pace for me, and I always love going back to New York to visit.
Taylor Magazine: What’s an average day like for you?
With Love From Kat: I’ll wake up at 7am and I’ll do a 20 minute meditation. Then I’ll have hot water and lemon, and I’ll try to fit in a workout or go for a run on the beach. Then, I’ll take conference calls before I head out for the day and I’ll meet with a brand or catch up with a friend.
I’ll usually head into Beverly Hills or West Hollywood and I’ll pull outfits and try out a new collection. By the time I get back to Venice I’ll need to answer more emails or get organised. Lots of packing, organising and planning!
Taylor Magazine: We’re focused a lot on mindfulness, minimalistic living and self-care at Taylor Magazine. What is one thing you do each day to look after yourself and get through the day?
With Love From Kat: I love that you guys are focused on that because I’m actually starting to open up around that subject and talk more about wellness. I think beauty from the inside radiates out – I’m a firm believer in that. The mind-body connection is so important. I started meditation around a year and a half ago and it has totally changed my life. Every morning, before I do anything I will do a 20 minute meditation. It was so grounding for me, and I can’t live without it. Eating healthy, doing yoga and getting outside are things I try to do on a daily basis.
Taylor Magazine: What motivates you?
With Love From Kat: Honestly, I just want to help women elevate their lives and make their lives a little bit better. Whether it be through sharing ideas for having friends over for spring brunch, or whether it be an outfit that gives them the confidence to ace their next interview, or confidence to decorate their new home. For me, I feel the need and desire to connect with other women and inspire them and show them how to live beautifully in a very simplified way.
“Stay humble and stay hungry. Having a business is a really humbling experience – you’ll have really high highs and you’ll have low lows.”
Taylor Magazine: You’ve lived in some cool places and you travel a lot. Is there somewhere you’ve been to recently that you’ve loved?
With Love From Kat: I actually just went to a cool place called San Miguel de Allende – I went with the New York Times. It’s this charming town in Mexico and it’s funny because I hadn’t ever heard of it before! It’s very up and coming and it has cobblestone streets, brightly coloured buildings, really great artisan markets, gorgeous hotels. It really blew me away. I love St Barts and St Tropez and it really had that feel but a little bit more authentic. I enjoyed going there and then Capri in the summer is one of my favourite places.
Taylor Magazine: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Kat: Keep an open mind, trust your gut and don’t worry so much!
Taylor Magazine: If you’re having a down day, what is the one thing you would do to cheer yourself up?
Kat: I would blast music and just dance around the house or maybe have a glass of rosé on my patio with a girlfriend!
Taylor Magazine: Tell us a fun or unusual fact about yourself.
Kat: Most people always ask what nationality I am – I’m half Japanese and half Irish!
Taylor Magazine: What is next for you in 2017?
Kat: I’m working on my travel apps and I’m launching my fourth travel collection. But I’m also working on a top secret travel TV series – stay tuned!