Hey! I'm Alexis.
I love two things the most: being creative everyday and discovering somewhere new. I created Local (Tourist) for you.
"But, ummm, why should I listen to you?"
BECAUSE I’M YOU.
I have equal parts lofty goals + time invested in my Netflix account. I read dense philosophy books and lose hours on my Instagram feed. I’m obsessed with fashion, personal style, and people with vision. I worked my ass off to get a creative job and became terrified I’d never see or experience the world if I wanted to keep that job. Real travelers do it full time, right? They buy ugly waterproof shoes and pants that zip at the knee and don’t take selfies. They give up the comforts of a warm apartment and aren’t obsessed with style. They can’t be - they’re climbing mountains, right? And besides that, the glamorous ones have a un-ending pile of cash.
In the last seven years, I found a way to travel to ten countries while working full time - most recently while managing double-digit-millions of dollars in visual merchandising and display for 11 retail store teams - and all before I celebrated my 30th birthday this year. (Woooo, the big 3-0!)
Amazing things are possible. The world is still full of awesome.
Let me backtrack a little and explain how we got here.
I've been creating things since I can remember. After getting my A.A. Degree in Fashion Design, I realized I didn't want to start my career as a pattern drafter (I mean, it’s the math of fashion - gross). I wanted to study other forms of art. I pursued my B.F.A in Fine Art for three years from three different Universities in two countries before I had another epiphany: I didn't want to be a gallery artist either! I was in love with creating, but hated the self-promotion required to sell my work. Shit, now what?
At this point, I had three constants in my life - making things, working retail, and traveling. While I was busy thinking I wanted to be a fashion designer - I had already visited four countries. When I decided to pursue Fine Art (i.e. painting, sculpture, and installation) - I moved to from California to London. By the time a year in the UK was over, I had visited seven countries on two continents.
Did I notice this pattern of obsession with exploration? Nope, not yet. I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life...fashion designer wasn’t the right fit and neither was gallery artist. During these educational escapades I worked retail - an unbroken stretch of slinging jeans, starting fitting rooms, and recommending my favorite candles. Do I sound like I’m slamming the job? Nope - I mostly liked it. I was good at it. And it helped me get a step closer to what I *thought* I was going to do with my life. Enter stage left: retail art.
While most creativity in the biz comes from styling + outfitting, my employer had also cornered the market on jaw dropping displays. I hustled as hard as I could to become a display artist for Anthropologie, and got the job. Two years and many epic installations later, I hustled as hard as I could to be a Store Merchandiser for Urban Outfitters and got the job. Suddenly I was given complete creative control of a space - styling, merchandising, display direction...in the fastest form of art I’ve ever had to do. Six years later, I was overseeing visuals for 11 UO store teams in California and still seeing the world.
"Um, why does your employment history matter?"
BECAUSE, I’M NOT A PAID-TO-TRAVEL BLOGGER.
I’M NOT A TRUST-FUND BABY, JET-SETTING ON INHERITED DOLLARS.
I’M A 'MILLENNIAL' (barf) WITH A JOB.
BECAUSE, I’M YOU.
It was while slinging jeans and earning vacation days that I realized it was possible to see the world if I didn't waste my time. If my ridiculously hip friend gave me his favorite spots in his home city, then I'd know where the best spots were to hang out. If I did the research on the cheapest ways to travel without sacrificing great style, I'd be happy with how I spent my money.
Traveling the world takes a while when you're working full time and you've got to make the most of your time off-the-clock. That's a huge part of Local (Tourist) - sharing the inspiring parts of our cities with each other to make the trips we take that much better.
I've also realized that working a 9 to 5 job (even if it is creative) freaks out the rebel in me. L(T) began as an exercise in perspective. What if we looked at our own cities with the eyes of a tourist? What if we seek out the beautiful, unique, and creative corners of the places we live?
There's one thing I never expected when I founded L(T) - and that was discovering the secret to being an adult without having to grow up. I'm talking about the kind of happiness reserved for toddlers playing with empty refrigerator boxes. I mean, it totally snuck up and slapped me square in the face...and I am bursting-at-the-seams-excited to share it with you. If you think I'm messing with you, I think you need a Pep Talk.
Here's hoping that Local (Tourist) will inspire you like it has me.
Also, let's be friends.
Alexis Rockley | Founder & Creative Director, Local (Tourist)