Who run the world wide web? Girls, says Phoebe Watt.
“I always wanted to be a foreign correspondent – the turning point was not getting into my first choice of elective at university. Instead of magazine journalism, I was placed in the new media class, which was, hilariously, what they called digital media back then.”
Despite initial reservations she found she liked it, and after teaching herself to code she soon began building websites and blogs. “I loved the immediacy of online, how you could turn an idea into a story or conversation and see people interact with your content straight away,” she says.
Following a stint as an online editor at the New Zealand Herald, Kelly moved to London, where she ran the gamut of digital jobs – from fashion copywriting for a big department store, to working for several tech start-ups, to being a social media specialist for luxury brands. She eventually landed her dream social media marketing role at luxury online outlet store The Outnet, working under her personal hero, Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet.
With Olivia Palermo at a boutique opening in London
“Aside from having one of the best shoe collections I’ve ever seen in real life, she’s the ultimate #Girlboss.” says Kelly. “Never content with mediocrity, she is always looking to do something new and ground-breaking – I mean, she started Net-a-Porter out of her London flat, using her bathtub to store product.”
From travelling the world to cover major fashion and celebrity events, to collaborating on projects with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Olivia Palermo and Christian Louboutin, Kelly’s time at The Outnet was a series of career highs. But returning to New Zealand in 2015 to launch FQ.co.nz was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. “I grew up reading my mum’s copies of Fashion Quarterly, so to work here now is so special,” she says.
As a digital editor, Kelly is responsible for looking after Fashion Quarterly’s digital touchpoints, including its website, social media platforms, and email newsletters. This means writing, editing and posting content, as well as working closely with the advertising team to ensure commercial obligations are met.
At an event for The Outnet in Sydney.
It makes for a varied and often glamorous job – reporting from New Zealand Fashion Week one week, attending beauty launches and interviewing celebrities the next. “But there’s lots of desk time too,” Kelly insists. “Filling out reports, optimising the website, looking at analytics and sending a million and one emails.”
She says the fast-paced nature of the job is a challenge. “Digital and social media are changing all the time, so you need to be able to adapt.” But it’s also what she loves the most about what she does. “It’s an exciting industry to work in because there’s something new every day – a new breaking story, a new social platform or a new way of doing things. There are never any problems in tech, just solutions that haven’t been created.”