INTERVIEW: LUCIA TRAN
For our readers who might not know, give us a little rundown of what you do. I run my own public relations firm with a focus on kids and family brands. Prior to working in PR, I ran Zooey Magazine – a print publication, that recently folded in December.
You started Zooey Magazine at only 16 years old. Did you have any insecurities or fears in the beginning?
Absolutely, with every new project comes a sea of insecurities. I think the entire journey was a learning process. No matter how much I thought I knew about something, I was always proven otherwise. Some of the early obstacles were: manufacturing of the publication, getting Zooey Magazine on the radar of Hollywood, and even finding help.
I was persistent and kept an open mind when it came to learning about the business. I had to change certain routes when needed, and that was also scary. Success isn’t immediate, and that took a while to understand.
In high school and throughout college (UCLA) you were managing a magazine staff, meeting editorial deadlines, and coordinating celebrity photoshoots. What advice do you have for others who may feel they are too young, inexperienced, or busy to make their goals a reality?
I don’t believe anyone is too young, inexperienced, or busy to make a dream their reality. If you really, truly want something, then you’re going to do everything in order to obtain it – whatever “it” may be.
My first advice for the avid dreamer is to learn about the intended field as much as possible. If it’s about creating a new product, then study how manufacturing works. You can never know too much. And it’ll be helpful in the long-run.
Second, surround yourself with the best people possible. You should be able to fall back on your support system.
I understand you’ve been an avid reader since you were a child. But reading and owning a publication is very different. How did you learn how to run a magazine?
I started off in the blogging world. This was before Instagram and micro-blogging. I created websites from scratch with implemented newsfeeds, and the only way you could promote your websites then, was to discuss it in online forums. Nuts, right?
So I had a general sense of what to expect, but I did head to my trusty ol’ library to learn about print publishing. There was so much to learn, and I’m grateful that I had literature at hand for that.
Can you think back to a particular situation or decision you made as Editor-in-Chief that you wish you could go back and handle differently?
That’s a tough one. Whenever someone says they wouldn’t change a thing about the past, I can’t help but think of the many times I wish I could! Knowing what I know now, I wish I had done more research on printers. And certainly, I would have invested more time and energy on Zooey’s web blog. These are more technical things.
Beyond those (and a plethora of other technicalities), I wish I had set up a 5 to 10-year timeline. I created the magazine when I was 16. I think differently now than when I was 16 (thank goodness). My aesthetic changed so often, so if you were to look through the magazines now, you’d see how much it altered in both aesthetic and design. When it comes to marketing, something like this could be confusing to the targeted reader. I understand this now as I look back.
Don’t get me wrong though. I am so grateful for the experiences. Like I said, it was a learning process. It helped me to get to where I am today and I’m so happy doing PR!
I’m sure you learned an immeasurable amount about the media industry during your time running Zooey. But what did you learn about yourself over those 5 years?
This is a great question… I took a while to think about this one.
I learned that I can get sh*t done. I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count, but perseverance gets me back up each time. I adapted this from my mother and I am grateful for that.
Could you touch on how you came to the decision to close Zooey last year? How was that process for you?
The entire year of 2015 was dedicated to phasing Zooey out. The last issue was published in the fall of 2014 and I wasn’t even working on the next issue by then. My dreams changed as I was finishing up college, and Zooey was no longer part of my plans for the future.
Lucia Tran Media is the umbrella which houses all of your media endeavours. What aspects of running your own corporation do you enjoy the least? How do you work around that?
Gosh, I think all the technical things are what I enjoy the least. But as long as there’s some Kendrick Lamar playing or Netflix on, I can push through.
It takes guts and courage to do all that you have done/continue to do. Does anything scare you?
What is that cheesy quote? If it doesn’t scare you, you’re not trying hard enough? I’m frightened by personal failure and disappointing others. I take everything to heart – a personality flaw, no? I think there are always bigger problems in the world and mine are just not comparable. So any time that I feel horrible about something, I have to consider the bigger picture and tell myself that it’s probably not as a big of a deal as I think. And believe me, that’s 100% true.
With constant emails, meetings, clients, and I’m sure so much more, how do you stay focused throughout your day?
I learned this from an English teacher from high school: scheduling to-do’s by the minutes and hours! She used to write the day’s agenda on the board, listing the times to be expended on each task. Her predictions were incredible. In 20 minutes, we’d be done with one assignment, and then on to the next. It was always accurate. So I’ve tried my hand at her time management skills to help keep myself focused and productive. I have a detailed schedule synced to all my devices so I can be on top of everything.
I’m not always successful, but it’s been helpful to have it laid out. Everyone should try this!
To this day you’re still a self-proclaimed bookworm. Where do you find the time to read?
I’ve been trying to reserve some morning time to reading. Usually, I dive right into work and that makes me so exhausted by mid-day. I can’t stay still, but with any downtime that I get, I try to open a book.
I’m currently reading “The Coming Economic Collapse” by Stephen Leeb; it was a recommended book by a client of mine. The 2007-2008 financial crisis is just so fascinating to me, and I’ve been curious to learn more about it. I was 14 when it happened, so it’s interesting to look back and see it from a bigger perspective. Yes. I’m a total nerd.
What does a typical day look like for you – morning to night?
Generally, it’s emailing, meetings, emailing, and planning.
What advice do you have for women looking to start their own endeavours for the first time?
This is going to get redundant, but study as much as you can.
Also. Take an accounting course. You will thank me later.
What personal attribute has proved the most helpful in getting you to where you are today?
I’d say perseverance. You just simply cannot back down from what it is that you want. It’s been tough to keep my chin up all the time, but it’s a must.
L.A. LADY CULTURE.
Favorite area of L.A.? The Arts District in DTLA, because that’s where I live (plus, Blue Bottle is 5 minutes away so I can get my dose of the SF Bay Area).
Favorite eatery in L.A.? Zinc in DTLA, because it’s vegetarian!
Menu item we must order there? Lunch burrito bowl, hold the pico de gallo, with the truffle fries and Zinc sunrise drink.
Favorite happy hour? Gracias Madre in WeHo from 3 to 6 PM.
Favorite weekend activities in the city? Brunch at Gjelina’s.
Audio of choice when sitting in traffic? NPR! And also audio books via the Overdrive app.
Place or thing you want to do most in L.A., but haven’t yet? Shopping at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and having a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl.
Biggest L.A. guilty pleasure? Photographing someone against a painted wall.