The Tatler 10: Lucia Tait Tolani
The native New Yorker tells us about her new personal shopping and styling service, Pair
With a decade’s worth of experience under belt, Lucia Tait Tolani is a style expert, evident from her stint as a senior stylist at Moda Operandi in New York. After relocating to Hong Kong, which she now calls home, and welcoming her first child, Lucia also launched Pair, a styling service that is set to change the game of shopping in Hong Kong:
New York City is where I became an individual and a professional, but Hong Kong is where I became a wife and a mother therefore it holds an irreplaceable place in my heart. Living here has also helped me develop my worldview. While I thought my outlook was quite broad before, I now realize that for me, living abroad is an essential component of expanding connections and compassion.
Pair is a members-only personal styling service focused on private shopping events, which provide access to international designers and brands, coupled with my expert styling advice.
They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, but I was still apprehensive to relocate after thirteen years in the same place. To have Hong Kongers be so open, supportive and interested in what I do, and to know that my skills translate and my experience is appreciated no matter where I am, has been a huge boost of confidence. I’m very proud that I was able to start my own business here in Hong Kong, and to now start a family here as well.
Looking back, I have no regrets. In retrospect there are some painful and silly phases, relationships and yes, outfits that make me wince, each brought me to where I am today.
I am lucky to have met loads of inspiring women throughout my career. To name a few: Melissa Kushner, she has four young daughters and simultaneously manages to devote her energies to the helping the vulnerable children of Malawi via her charity Goods for Good. Fiona Kotur Marin is a brilliant example of how to take beautifully to life in Hong Kong, raising four sons and establishing her covetable accessories brand, Kotur, all from her deliciously designed home. Finally, Stephanie Horton, the Vogue trained CMO of FarFetch, seems to be working on a major project in a different city every few days, yet I’ve never once heard her complain or be anything less than gracious and enthused about her fast-paced responsibilities, she just gets it done flawlessly and even has fun doing it—a real role model.
The best part of running your own business has to be the flexibility. Flexibility is key for me, as I integrate my career in to my lifestyle instead of drawing a line between the two and compartmentalizing. I also value being able to choose who I work with—be that brands and designers or the clients themselves. As I get older, I know that life is better spent around those you like and respect.
My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to fake it until you make it! Plus, identify your strengths and accept your weaknesses, then find a partner or team who compliments them. Lastly, you must have integrity, which I define via C.S. Lewis: Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
My end goal is to not have to worry about end goals and try and enjoy living in the moment.
In ten years, I want to live life well with a healthy personal/professional balance. I really delight in doing interviews/moderating and leading corporate training programs, and I can see myself incorporating more of this work in the future. Writing, particularly on styling advice and travel style is my favorite second job, and as our family grows, I’d love to do more writing work from home.
My words to live by are simple but often overlooked: “Manners matter, kindness is mandatory, quality over quantity.”
Photography by King Fung