Welcoming the world into her life with open, cashmere-sleeved, arms, Peony Lim is the last word in luxury lifestyle blogging and with a heartfelt passion for all things travel; I knew I had to speak with her.
THE PEONY LIM BRAND.
The term entrepreneur gets bandied about with little regard these days and while the ethos of what it means certainly does describe Peony’s tenacious stride into the business world, I think something a little more soft to the touch and stylish needs to be applied to her. After all, we’re talking about a spectacularly intelligent young woman with model good looks, who has sought to showcase her luxurious lifestyle in a bid to offer aspirational motivation to the masses.
While Peony is by no means the only person to be crafting a luxury lifestyle blog, she is enjoying a level of success that most can only dream of, so what does she put this down to? I asked her to open up about her Unique Selling Point (USP),
“I try and stay true to myself, which in nearly 9 years of blogging, hasn’t always been easy. I think the USP is probably the authenticity of the luxury world I share. I only promote and share products and brands I really love and only luxury ones. That’s always been the case on the site.”
In a fully saturated blogosphere, being recognisable is a valuable asset, but to gain recognition, while never compromising on the original values and aims that underpinned a personal project from the very beginning is exceptional work. As a long-time follower of Peony’s I can tell you that it’s her personable approach that keeps us all coming back for more and the way that she manages to make you feel as though you have been personally invited to experience new brands, countries and activities with her. As she slips on a fabulous new scarf, my neck tingles in anticipation of feeling the same fabric gliding over my skin, if I follow suit and take her advice to buy.
Luxury living is for the elite, but Peony makes it accessible for all, through a beautifully written and sumptuously simple website, but it’s her travelling that really excites me, as a reader. With Chinese and English heritage, Peony regularly travels between London and Asia, but she has far more stamps in her passport than just those two destinations. I asked about her very obvious love of travel and she revealed that,
“I have travelled since I was a child. If I am in town for too long I get itchy feet and go to the country or abroad. I love being at home, but I need to travel too. I think it has just been hardwired-in since I was tiny.”
Interestingly enough, travel wasn’t always a part of her blog, but having introduced it, Peony acknowledges that it was a smooth and natural transition,
“It was a big thing when I started sharing travel content on the site. I loved the experience of travel and I wanted share the beautiful wonders that I find. So it felt natural and exciting. Once I was able to work with travel brands, it just made sense.”
There’s a modest hint at how strong Peony’s business credentials are right there in that she waited until there was an organic evolution into travel ready to develop and now, her exploration pieces are some of the most popular. For anyone that is on the edge of their seats waiting for new wanderlust instalments, you won’t have to wait long, as there is a long list of countries that Peony is hoping to experience soon,
“Iceland, Australia, Bora Bora, Madagascar, Cuba, much more of America…I could go on. I hope Iceland will happen this year.”
As an international business owner with a penchant for exploration, Peony is the perfect person to ask about travelling stylishly, but also comfortably. Long gone are the days when velour lounge suits were considered appropriate attire for foreign travel and now, more classic motifs seem to be the way to go, as Peony divulged,
“Wear natural fibres. Breathable clothes will make a huge difference. Also wear socks and carry a large cashmere scarf. I nearly always travel in flats and carry a large tote bag.”
This is most definitely a look that I can get onboard with. I never like to travel looking too smart, but I certainly don’t want to arrive in a disheveled state either. Adding a timeless scarf, carrying a decent-sized carry-on bag and wearing flat shoes certainly sounds appealing. Slip on some large sunglasses and even jetlag won’t be able to ruin the aesthetic.
Girls will be girls, so while we were discussing the business of blogging, a few fun questions were added in as well. Asking Peony what would be her choices, if she was only allowed to take seven items on her next trip, she was characteristically cool, calm and collected in her answer,
“A white shirt, jeans, toothbrush, hairbrush, face wipes, moisturiser and clean underwear. Actually, I think I have just chosen the essentials here that would drive me mad to go without them! If I were able to choose seven clothing and seven beauty items, that would be totally different. Beauty wise that would be…cleanser, moisturiser, lip balm, hairbrush, toothbrush, mascara and foundation. Clothes wise…a white shirt, jeans, Stubbs and Wootton slippers, cargo jacket, Manolo Blahnik BBs, bikini and a cashmere jumper or scarf.”
It’s quite something to realise that you’re jealous of a fellow woman’s travel wardrobe, but it made me understand the Peony doesn’t see travelling as the necessary part of getting to a new destination; it’s n experience in its own right. It’s worthy of excitement, preparation and a fabulous outfit and really, what else would you expect from a fashion commentator that has sought to include a bustling boutique on her website? It’s worth noting here that Peony hand picks each of the items that she sells in her boutique, so if you purchase something (my favourite items right now are her smocks!), you know that she has given it her exclusive seal of approval and that she also wears it.
Back to travelling! I wanted to know if Peony has any pre-journey rituals that always serve to make her travel time a little more pleasant,
“I have a checklist for packing on my phone I always reference. I also try and empty my wash bags and start afresh each trip. At the airport I nearly always get a pret and magazines.”
As Pret always seem to offer the most vegan options and no flight is complete without a few generously sized magazines under my arm I really can’t disagree with her choices. I will be trying out the phone packing list hack though; as that isn’t something I’ve done before. Paper lists that I lose? Yes, I’m well versed in those, but this is a simple yet effective solution to the issue of always leaving something behind.
As my bio on The Lost Executive website states, I’m not one for traditionally smart clothing and given her penchant for all things soft, silky and glamorous, I couldn’t help but wonder what Peony sees as a more fashion-forward look for modern businesswomen,
“My feelings about fashion and style are the same whatever the situation. Be comfortable and be yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people think, as long as you’re not offending anyone it’s fine to wear whatever makes you better at being you!”
As we started to draw our conversation to a close, our attention naturally turned to what the future holds for Peony and her enterprising blog,
“I have had a busy few years in my personal life, renovating my home and getting married, so I’m delighted be back fully focused on work again. I am working towards a redesign of the site and much, much more. Stay tuned.”
And there it is; you CAN have it all, if you follow just one piece of advice,
“Be authentic. Nothing else will make or break you as much.”
The thing is, I believe her. Peony has made a lasting career out of being unapologetically fabulous in every aspect of her life. From travelling with aplomb through to selecting exceptional garments for her legions of loyal followers to buy, she is paving the way for more young people that know they have a special essence to bring to the business world. I’m definitely going to follow her on the next part of her blogging journey and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do as well.
In the mood for some shopping? Check out the latest offers on:
ASOS – If you like Peony’s pink wool beret, you can find it here.
boohoo – From Manchester’s fashion secret to one of the fastest growing etailers, boohoo.com has quickly evolved into a global fashion leader.
Comments? Join the social discussion. Twitter. Instagram, Facebook.