Art Director + Blogger / Lion In The Wild
Kiara King is a content creator, blogger and fashion stalwart at her popular online destination Lion in the Wild.
An infectious digital personality (Kiara has over 60,000 Instagram followers) with the most glorious auburn mane, Kiara spent her childhood growing up in the sunny town of Perth. A self confessed “tom boy”, Kiara lived in cop tops and cargo shorts, which provide a complete juxtaposition to the style maven that you see before you today. But that’s why we LOVE this girl. FEARLESS.
After losing her way a little after university, Kiara took a chance to follow her passion, and the rest… they say… is history. Kiara has now been recognised by, and collaborated with global brands including Clinique, The Luxe Nomad, Steve Madden, Free People and Lifestyle Retreats, just to name a few.
This interview is for any girl that has burning desire to write a blog, and build it into a digital empire.
WARNING: The Cool Career advises you to hide your eftpos card while reading this #careerstory. Outfit envy is a given.
Kiara, you have no idea how excited I am for this interview, can you start by telling us where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I was born and raised in sunny Perth, Australia. I spent my days embracing my inner tomboy, skateboarding the suburban streets in a crop top and zip-off cargo pants, splashing around at the beach in a fluro onesie (thanks Mum), and creating my very own fashion magazine – all by hand, of course. I was way cooler back then.
Now days, I live by the coast and run my own personal style and beauty platform, and even occasionally go for a skate. I like to think that everything I do now is an culmination of the ‘fun stuff’ I used to do as a kid. Growing up, my parent’s nurtured our passions, so looking back it really comes as no surprise that I ended up evolving mine into my career.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
Honestly, my High School experience was fairly ‘normal’. I went to a school in the ‘burbs’ and learnt how to tie a tie very quickly (a skill I haven’t used since, mind you). Ties and blazers aside, I had a great group of friends and did pretty well in class despite not really ever trying. I rarely excelled though. I realise now that I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into things unless I was invested in them. I just went with the flow. I was still discovering who I was and who I wanted to be, like most teenagers.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I would say little to none. I always knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a fashion designer for most of my young adult life, until I took sewing lessons and hated it. Then I discovered Creative Advertising Design whilst flipping through a university handbook one day and that was that.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
Fresh from High School and just 17-years-old, I went straight to University, where I studied a BA in Design, majoring in Advertising. I liked that it was creative, yet strategic and I wanted to be a real life Peggy Olsen (Madmen). Just kidding… kind of. We studied anything from graphic design and photography, to marketing and consumer behaviour, and I really enjoyed every moment. While I strayed off course post-University, it was there that I learnt a skill set that is indispensable in today’s creative world.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
After University (and for years later) came a period of, simply put, not knowing what I really wanted to do for the first time in my life. I did really well at Uni, yet decided to defer my Honours to work full-time at Forever New in Visual Merchandising and Management. It was then that I started my little blog, Lion in the Wild.
I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry, yet still wasn’t entirely sure where that I was going to be. A year later, I took a few months off to travel and came back home with a little more clarity. I worked part time and spent the rest of my time teaching myself how to run a business or, more specifically, a fashion label.
Meanwhile, Lion in the Wild was demanding more and more time, and it was then that I realised its potential. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure to work with global brands like Clinique (of whom I also freelanced for as an art director and photographer), Shopbop, The Luxe Nomad, Target, Westfield and more. It was a huge risk taking it on full-time, not to mention the long hours and ample dedication, but you really can’t beat doing something you love.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
Honestly, Lion in the Wild and working as a freelancer came about from stepping outside of my comfort zone, something I’m not very good at. I began Lion in the Wild because I was simply bored on the weekends. I actually dreaded putting myself ‘out there’ for the world to see, but I needed a project to keep those creative juices flowing. And you know what? I loved it, so I was dedicated to it, which is a huge reason why I’m still here.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
I love what I do, but it can be difficult finding that crucial work/life balance, especially when you’re working from home. Home is my office, so it’s a challenge to turn off ‘work mode’. I’ve learnt that it’s incredibly important to have time off, not just for your sanity and productivity, but also for your loved ones.
It turns out, they actually want to spend time with you without your laptop or phone.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
No day is the same at Lion in the Wild HQ, as we’re always working with different clients on different campaigns, which makes what I do even more exciting and enjoyable.
I do work well with structure though, so each day begins with a cappuccino and a packed inbox, and any other administration. Then I spend the rest of the day bulk tasking; writing articles, photography and editing, filming, social media planning and scheduling, brand development, liaising with brands, sourcing locations, product and props, refining our editorial calendar or a number of other tasks. There’s never a dull moment.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up, and why?
I’ve always found inspiration in strong women, even as a child. My mum tops the list for her incredible strength, resilience and dedication. Even now, she’s the person I call when I need advice and always will be. I’m lucky enough to call her not just Mum, but also my best friend – and thank her for shaping me into the person I am today.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
It’s not a traditional career, so don’t look at it traditionally. Do something different, challenge the norm, challenge conventional ideas and do it well – that’s how you stand out in a saturated industry. There are so many ways to create your own brand, but the best place to start is now. You can never begin too early.
What are your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration.
- Favourite Blogs or Websites: Bloglovin, a platform to follow and read any other blog and be inspired.
- Books: Any books I read, whether it’s fictional, biographical or industry related, are inspirational and relevant.
- People: My fellow peers constantly inspire me to do the best I can do.
- Others: Everyday life inspires me, whether I’m at the beach, trying a new product, or reading an article.