IN CONVERSATION WITH: LIFE INSTYLE'S FLYN ROBERTS
Never heard of Life Instyle? Running over four days twice a year, once each in both Sydney and Melbourne, Life Instyle is a unique trade event that showcases the latest in edited, curated and local brands.
TLSE has this year collaborated with the LIS team at both 2019 exhibitions, bringing to life The Studio, a live, photographic set where retailers and consumers are able to watch a real product shoot in action. We're in our absolute element in The Studio, and this brilliant initiative is just one example of the creative vision that LIS Exhibition Manager, Flyn Roberts, has for the show. In between Flyn's trips down to Melbourne and a recent holiday in the States, we were able to pin down this busy jet setter to have a chat about what really makes her tick, creatively and otherwise, and how this then plays out in the way she approaches Trade Show season.
Strap yourselves in....
TLSE: Flyn, you’ve worked on Life Instyle for nearly a decade, and the world has changed so much in that time! Has event management changed?
FLYN: I know. Can you believe it? And nearly 12 years in Exhibitions overall!
I guess the answer to that is really in two parts. Retail itself is in the midst of an evolution. We’re seeing it shift and swing into something much more meaningful and beautiful than ever before as consumers steer away from the mass produced and towards more mindfully made goods and products designed with intention and created with care for a longer life.
This means we also need to reflect this in our events, not just in our curation of brands that take part in the show, but also in the overall experience. It’s not just about cramming as many brands under one roof as possible any more, it’s about a more meaningful experience to create connection and so Event Managers now spend a lot of time on those little extras that make a difference. The look and feel, the food, the music, the spaces to unwind or do business and most importantly, inspiring content like seminars, workshops and activations.
What do you love about what you do - and what do you love not so much! - and have these feelings fluctuated over the years?
My job is often love/hate. That’s every job though right? !
My strength is in creative and the strategic elements, so I of course always favour these kinds of tasks over the reporting and number crunching. But above all else the best part of the job is really about being a genuine partner and platform for our brands to learn, grow and thrive. We love nothing more than to see our brands soar and we’ve been lucky enough to witness many a life changing success story. It always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling when I walk into a store and recognize many of our Life Instyle family on the shelves or in the pages of our favourite magazines.
This is your second exhibition in Melbourne as Manager. Can you run us through your vision when curating events. Do you have a process?
For Life Instyle in particular we pride ourselves on being ahead of the game and with our finger on the pulse, so I love spending time reading magazines, attending events, travelling and getting lost online in the visual wonderland that is Instagram and Pinterest, discovering trends and new innovations. I’m a mood-boarder, so I love collecting and curating images and it’s always a great starting off point when we are looking for new ideas.
Plus connecting and collaborating with other like-minded people. That’s how The Studio came about. Meeting Heidi and Emma at TLSE, I knew there was so much people could benefit from with their infectious energy and their amazing content creation, so why not bring that to life on the show floor with our live photographic space. It was a big hit in Sydney so we are bringing it along to Melbourne too!!
Obviously you live for your art, but where is your happy place when you’re not creating, and what is guaranteed to make you smile?
It sounds cliché – but my happy place is just being at home in Manly. I’m a beach girl at heart and love being by the water. It has that calming effect and you completely forget about any stress or pressure from the outside world. My friends and I often refer to it as the Beaches Bubble and it’s full of long walks, sandy feet, coffee, swims, picnics, amazing sunsets and belly laughs with my best friends. Simple and slow – just the way I like it.
If your path hadn’t brought you to Life Instyle, what career do you think would have suited you? Was it always in your plan to be where you are now?
It’s always funny how the world works. In high school I was pretty addicted to sport and was adamant that I was going to study Physiotherapy at university. But it started to become pretty clear that science wasn’t my strength and instead art and design became my calling and I eventually went on to complete a Bachelor of Design. I won’t bore you with the details of how design then led to events but I know that whatever I do it has to be a creative outlet for me. That’s why Life Instyle is the perfect role for me. It’s the attention to detail and structure of events (my true Virgo coming through) combined with the creativity of the Life Instyle community and this industry that balances it all out for me. I think my dream job would have to be a travel photographer though – exploring new destinations and cultures whilst capturing and curating amazing images to inspire other people.
You recently travelled to America. How do you take inspiration from places that you visit and if so, which country have you recently found the most interesting to fill the creative wells from?
Hmmm, you must have got all the holiday spam on my Instagram ;) Yes, I just had an amazing short trip to California where I got to visit Palm Springs and Joshua Tree for the first time. It’s hard not to walk away from anywhere without some sort of inspiration. While I knew I would love the mid-century architecture and design of Palm Springs (and the poolside cocktails), what I wasn’t ready for was the energy and inspiration I would take away from my time in the desert – particularly the creative communities living off the grid there. If you haven’t already heard of Salvation Mountain, google it right now!
Ibiza was also a surprising location for me – it’s so much more than just a party island. New York of course is amazing, as well as Barcelona and Mexico. My bucket list still includes Cuba, Morocco and India. Who’s in?
Rumour has it you are a fan of the eighties? If you could live in any era, which would it be and why?
Yep, I’m an eighties baby so I’ve always had an affinity with that era. I think it’s the music more than the fashion – but kudos to the kids rocking those bold and crazy outfits in the decade of excess. High waisted jeans are my best friend right now. The 70’s would probably be a close second as it was a great transition of bohemian flowerchild with disco and then the birth of hip-hop.
If I jumped in a time machine, I’d probably choose 1980’s Manchester or 1970’s Los Angeles (if not just for the parties).
You can catch Flynn and her stellar LIS Team at Life Instyle this Winter, when they hit Melbourne between 1st- 4th August 2019 at the Royal Exhibition Building.
You can also find your favourite content ladies - that's us - styling up a storm on The Studio floor.
More information on the 2019 show can be found by clicking here.
Curated by Jodie Wolf, TLSE