It wasn’t hard for Lexi Cross to pack her bags and head from Washington State to New York City, after all she was looking for a change. “I love Seattle and will always call the city my home, but I truly believe that self-discovery results from getting comfortable with being uncomfortable,” the 25-year-old says. “That means challenging yourself in a new city with new people.”
So, in 2011 when one of her best friends embarked for the big city, Cross decided to follow. “I happened upon a job that would get me started in my career and the rest was history.” Now she resides in Gramercy and works as a digital marketing manager for Lulu Frost jewelry, but when she isn’t at work, she puts together the popular fashion and style blog New York Called. Since 2011, this inspired digest chronicles people like herself who heeded the draw of NYC and now work to bring creativity and style to their jobs and daily life. We caught up with Cross to find out how her blog came to be, which interviews were particularly inspiring and where she likes to shop.
What inspired New York Called?
When I first moved to NYC from Seattle, I was working in retail for a Nordstrom-owned store named Treasure & Bond. We offered a particularly unique assortment of up-and-coming fashion brands and the NYC-based designers often stopped by to educate staff or check on their product. Most of the designers were not originally from New York but had decided to build their brand in the city for obvious reasons. Being a NYC transplant myself, I found their journey inspiring and motivating. I decided to start a blog where I could share these stories with others. I now interview and photograph a wide variety of NYC transplants including stylists, makeup artists, boutique owners and more.
How has it helped you appreciate New York more?
There are a lot of ways it helps me appreciate NYC. I think the fact that I work full-time, manage sporadic freelance projects, and maintain my blog speaks to the spirit of New York, a city full of hard-working people who are pursuing their ambitions from day to night. It feels good to contribute to that energy and excitement. You start to really appreciate that grind NYC is known for. I also really value the advice I get from the people I spotlight. My blog is meant to motivate others and share inspiring stories, but it’s also proving to shape my own path as I learn from the experience of others. It’s loaded with advice and wisdom from very talented people who are further along in their NYC journey.
What are some of your favorite stories that you have posted about?
Each story is special in itself, but I do really love those that feature people who have moved to NYC from outside of the United States like from London, Paris and Tokyo. Moving across the country is one thing, but moving to another country seems far more intimidating. I think you have to have a real sense of adventure and confidence to do that, especially considering the necessary cultural adjustments. I recently interviewed the owner of Front General Store, a vintage store based in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Obsessed with American vintage, Hideya [Sagawa] moved from Tokyo at age 19, ultimately starting his own business years later. It was fascinating to hear his view on New York community and the differences between Japanese and American culture. I also interviewed Juliette Seydoux, an artist from Paris, whose past artwork often references her NYC state of mind. One drawing features pregnant woman with text that reads, “Please can I come back? I’m homesick.” This speaks to her initial struggle in NYC, a struggle that I find very common and often times transitions into a love affair.
Did any of the people you talked to really surprise you?
I don’t think surprise is the right word. I think I would say these people inspire me, teach me, and motivate me to be better. I learn from them. I am especially a fan of this new Q&A series I’m using that gives quick insight into people’s lifestyle. I ask what their favorite NYC nights are, what they trust and don’t trust about the city, and where they go for great people watching. Everyone has a different answer, and yet I can relate to most of them.
How you find your subjects?
My first interviewees were designers I had met through my retail position. I asked each person I interviewed to refer me to someone else so I always had fresh content. It was a great way to expand my network. I still use this strategy to discover new talents, but I’ve also learned to use social media to my advantage. For instance, Instagram is a great medium for discovering new talent because I get a visual sense of the brand or person right away. I’ll often cold email brands or people whose stories I’m really interested in sharing or people reach out to me with a desire to be featured.
Speaking of brands, what are some of your favorite shops in the city?
There are so many. Like any other New Yorker, I love Barneys, American Two Shot in SoHo, Opening Ceremony, Otte NYC, Creatures of Comfort and Sucre in the West Village, among others.
Looking for more places to get inspired about the city, check out our piece on Lydia Warren of TodaystheDayI.