Join columnist Vicky Ellison every month as she meets with inspiring women from the worlds of wellness, business, fashion and art to bring you a snapshot of their story and advice to take into your day.
Equinox has differentiated itself as a luxury lifestyle brand grounded in fitness and backed by science. It’s a brand with a point of view, often conveyed through award-winning creative. This month, The Fit speaks to Liz Nolan, Executive Creative Director for Equinox, to gain insight into how she approaches the brand work Equinox is so renowned for.
Speaking on the phone from Liz’s office in New York, the City she’s called home for over 15 years, Liz shares how her career path has been creative first, even from a young age working on craft projects with her mum.
Relocating to the US from England in a role with the WPP group, her agency background enabled Liz to develop a deep understanding of brand and an impressive portfolio of work.
At a time when advertising agency positions were deemed the height of success for a creative, Liz moved to an in-house role with Victoria’s Secret where she established herself in the world of digital, launching and growing the Victoria’s Secret Facebook page to a 20million strong following,
Liz’s career path, and the work she produces demonstrate admirable bravery. ‘I have a fundamental belief that if you’re going to be in this business you’d better be doing it for a reason’ she asserts, ‘I became very aware that when I worked in the ad agency I was spending a lot of my life doing things that many people were fast forwarding through, and I found it really demoralising ’.
Having given deep thought to what would make her more content in her role, Liz explains ‘the decision for me was - go sell something you believe in, go do the work that you’re proud of.’
When discussing the notion of bravery, Liz advises that it should be ‘driven by intelligence and driven by meaning -so ask yourself, do we have a right to be commenting on this issue? Do we have a right to be putting an image into the world that’s about this idea? If the answer is yes and it’s executed thoughtfully then you should be ok,’ she says, giving credit to her team and peers at Equinox for their open approach to risk-taking, supporting award-winning authentic campaigns such Commit To Something and Powered By Pride.
Liz’s passion for her work shines through. ‘I have strong beliefs about brands, they’re important and when they’re done in the right way they actually matter…. if you step back everything is branding, and when done well it is actually going to change the world. I‘m a lover of that so I see it in almost everything.’
Admitting that she’s her own worst enemy when it comes to switching off, Liz makes a concerted effort to spend time out of the office to recharge. ‘Sleep is my number one but also disconnecting. I really try to put my phone and computer away.’
Fitness is also important. Remembering herself as a ‘useless cross country runner picked last on every team’ at home, exercise has since become a ’15 year habit’ Liz never expected to develop; still surprising herself when gym wear is the first thing to enter her suitcase.
When it comes to recharging, Liz makes regular visits to The Catskill Mountains, to satisfy her craving for nature. Further afield, she recommends Nepal. ‘It’s my number one in terms of places that transform you a little. The people are incredible, the landscape, the culture and the connection to a bigger spirituality is so powerful - it’s everything that the idea of Nepal summons up in your mind and then more.’
As far as cultural and creative inspiration go through, Liz still has ‘so much heart for London’, feeling ‘culturally charge every time I go.’
It’s clear that Liz really does live by the Thoreau quote she cites about wanting to suck the marrow out of life, ‘I just believe it so strongly, I just want to do as much as I can while I’m here.’ I hope she continues to blaze a trail for all of us who are lucky enough to know and work with her.