Style Profile: Lily MacKenzie


Lily is not your ordinary high school student. She is a 16-year old student, fellow blogger, and business owner. Since August 2014, Lily has been blogging on her platform, www.theuncommonteen.com. It covers everything from lifestyle to fashion, recipes, and more! 

Even more recently, in May 2015, Lily created her print collection, Lily Grace Paper Co. This first small business of her's has been a great creative outlet for her and an insight to the world of business! The idea of this business first started about two years ago when she was known among her friends and family to always make such unique and creative cards. It was an on-going joke in her family that they were so good - that they could be sold. Lily ended up test-driving the idea in her grandparents flower shop, Quinn's Blooms and Greenery. To her surprise, the card sales were successful. It then sparked her interest to venture into the print-making industry; a huge trend right now. Thus, her first business was born! You can check out all of her hand crafted and digitally created prints on Facebook or Instagram. She also loves doing custom orders, and they can be made by contacting her at LilyGMacKenzie@gmail.com. They come ready-to-frame and make the perfect touch to any work or living space!

I met up with Lily this past week to photograph her and ask her a few things about her experiences in blogging and print making. She brought along some of her beautiful prints to show as well as a huge smile and super friendly personality. Take a look at all of her oh-so-cute photos below and my full interview with her!



Mikayla:

How would you describe your personal style/ fashion sense?

Lily:

At the moment, I would say that I am drawn to clothes that are casual, classic, and fun.

Mikayla:

What kind of things influence you, your blog and your print collection?

Lily:

First and foremost, I am influenced by the work of other creative people. Whether it is beautiful typography and photographs on Pinterest or a well-designed advertisement on a billboard, I have a ton of respect and love for art and creativity. Great artists, designers, crafters, and tastemakers inspire and challenge me to think bigger, worry less and create something truly amazing.

The incredible people who surround me everyday also influence me. I am inspired by the stories they tell, the things they accomplish, and the confidence and strength they show in life’s toughest moments. My friends and family mean everything to me, so it is no coincidence that their words, opinions and actions have an impact on me and on my creative endeavors. 



Mikayla:

What other bloggers do you follow and/or look up to?

Lily:

Elsie and Emma Chapman (abeautifulmess.com) – A Beautiful Mess was the first blog I ever read. My mom stumbled upon it a few years ago and started using their recipes and DIYs constantly. I would peek over her shoulder and read bits and pieces of the posts, so filled with colour and cool ideas. Three years have passed since then and it is still among my favourite blogs to read because there is never a shortage of inspiration and fun.

Natalie Holbrook (heynataliejean.com) – Natalie’s posts are honest, witty and laugh-out-loud hilarious and I loved her blog instantly. Her stories and musings are somehow relatable to me, even though she’s a thirty-something mother and I’m, well, not. Judging by the comments on her blog and Instagram feed, it seems that countless other people, across the world, agree with me. Somehow, no matter who or where you are, Natalie makes you feel like her best friend in a single sentence.

Jillian Harris (jillianharris.com) – You may know Jillian Harris from ABC’s The Bachelorette or from HGTV’s Love It Or List It Vancouver, but in my opinion, you don’t really know her, until you have read her lovely blog. I’ll start by saying she has the coolest closet EVER! Honestly, she owns my dream wardrobe and all of her outfits are perfectly styled, right down to the smallest accessory. She also has a beautifully curated Instagram feed with loads of photos of pretty clothes, yummy food, and, of course, incredible interior design. 



Mikayla:

What keeps you motivated at such a young age?

Lily:

I think that a lot of my motivation is instinct because of my personality. I am a busy bee and a perfectionist and I always have been. Therefore, it is only natural for me to have several projects on the go at once and to always be looking for more to take on. Making to-do lists is a part of my daily routine, and for me, there is nothing more satisfying than checking something off the list. I will note that although this part of my personality is great for staying motivated, it also often creates unnecessary stress for me, so it is both a blessing and a curse.

Mikayla:

Talk a bit more about your role on student council this past year.

Lily:

This past year, I was Promotions Minister on CCI’s Student Council. Before I assumed my role in September, I did not really know what I was signing up for. I was sure that I wanted to be on Council, but I was not certain what being “Promotions Minister” would look like. Many students said it was just making posters, but as the year progressed, I realized that it was so much more than that. As Promotions Minister, you are responsible for “branding” each event that Student Council runs. The brand that you build must be recognizable and make students want to be a part of the event. At many meetings I would start discussions with other council members about what type of student we were trying to attract, so that I could create the perfect posters, announcements, etc. for any given event.

The promotional campaign I was the most proud of this year was for Semi-Formal. Our theme was “The Oscars” and there were several council members that were dedicated to buying and building incredible decorations to make this Semi bigger and better than ever before. I saw all of the hard work they were putting into it and I knew that my posters had to set the standard for an above-average school dance. I was determined to come up with something that was universally appealing, and fairly simple to understand. In the end, I designed four posters, each with a white background and a papparazi photo of a celebrity talking on their phone. I added a speech bubble coming from the head of each celebrity and a caption inside, saying something along the lines of, “You don’t understand! I have to be there!”. Then under the photo there were big bold letters that said, “SHE’S NOT INVITED BUT YOU ARE” and then the date of the formal. These posters achieved my goal perfectly and they were received well by students and teachers alike. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time as Promotions Minister. 




Mikayla:

In what ways has your experience with a role as Promotions Minister on student council helped you in terms of your education and future career?

Lily:

Until last year, I had not considered a career in something like Marketing or Public Relations. I never thought I had the skills to be successful in that industry. My role as Promotions Minister certainly opened my eyes a bit and showed how fun, interesting, and challenging it can be to build a brand. I learned so much over the course of the year and I cannot wait to learn even more during my term this coming year. (I ran for Promotions again) I am hoping to make Student Council more active on social media with fresh and new facebooktwitter, and Instagram accounts. 

Mikayla:

What kinds of things have you learned as a small business owner of your print collection over the last few months?

Lily:

One of the biggest things I have learned is that not every business venture will be a success. Before I started, I had this idea in my head that, if I worked hard enough on a product or idea, it would do well. Sadly, that has not been the case. Some products just don’t fit with the customer you are trying to sell them to. Or maybe that marketing campaign you spent so much time on is not as dynamic as you thought. Having those experiences was a big wake-up call for me and, eventually, I realized that it’s okay to fail every once in a while. It just means you are human and it is actually helpful in the long run. If I never failed, I would never be able to get a feel for what my customer likes and dislikes.

The second lesson I learned over the past few months is… you can never stop learning. Even if you feel like you know everything there is to know about your product or industry, there will always be something new to learn, figure out, or wrap your head around. That’s just the way it is. The business world (and any other world for that matter) is ever changing. In my moments of doubt, I try to tell myself, “You are still learning”. Everyone is.



Mikayla:

Do you feel like being so young in the entrepreneurial world puts you at a disadvantage, advantage, or neither?

Lily:

The answer to that is definitely both. I think that being young is sometimes a huge advantage because I have fresh ideas and lots of time ahead of me to set them in motion. At the same time, I am at a disadvantage because I have less life experience behind me to draw from. The good thing is that, so far, no one I have met, with my business ventures, has treated me any differently because of my age. I love that people are willing to overlook a possible lack of experience and look at my products and business from an unbiased perspective. It is honestly so lovely to have a conversation with an adult and not be talked down to because I am a teenager. I really cherish those interactions and I am grateful that my business serves as the perfect conversation piece.


Mikayla:

List the types of careers you hope to get into one day and what interests you about them.

Lily:

Dietetics – I have always been passionate about food and I like to know what is in the food that I eat. Good nutrition is important to me and I want to spread that love to others.

Physiotherapy / Sports Therapy – Having someone come into your office in one condition and leave in a completely different condition, feeling healthier and happier than before, is the definition of job satisfaction in my opinion. Being able to help people every single day would be a dream for me.

Public Relations – PR is something I never would have imagined for myself had I not been the Promotions Minister on Students’ Council. Being the liaison between a company and their public sounds challenging and amazing all at once and working with a company to help them put their best foot forward sounds even better.

Instagram - @lgpaperco

Facebook - facebook.com/lilygracepaperco


Thanks for reading!

XO,

Mikayla

Photos by Mikayla Kuehn

© All content is my own. Feel free to use anything you would like, while giving proper credit. 
Thank you. 

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