#2: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag (Chicago, IL)

Posted on by Phuong Mai

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Our Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag continues! After basking along the coastal shores of Seattle, our determined Valletta bag finds its way to the brisk winds of Chicago.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we’re setting the mood with gal who takes her profession to heart. Music maker DJ Lani Love (née Lani Nguyen) is a regular face to the Chicago nightlife, dropping beats at the city’s best clubs and bars (Soho House, Beauty Bar) while partnering with brands like Rent the Runway, Topshop, and Uniqlo. She’s known for her eclectic mix of music that includes house, disco, and hip hop, and has been voted the Best DJ two years in a row by Chicago Magazine readers.

With the help of our P.MAI bag, we caught up with Lani to learn how she traded the corporate cubicle for tuneful turntables.


Tell us a little about yourself—where you grew up and the path that took you to where you are now. I’m a California girl living in Chicago. Eight years ago I started DJing as a hobby in New York City, while I was working in advertising. A year and a half ago, I quit my job to go freelance. Having more control over my schedule and time gave me the opportunity to try new things, which eventually led to me DJing full time. image

How did you get started as a music maker? I started DJing when I moved to New York and met a DJ/producer I had been following online. I shadowed him for a year and just kept pushing myself to book gigs and practice. More recently, I’ve started dabbling in production because I want the opportunity to share more of my style in my sets with original tracks. There’s been a lot of YouTube University and good friends along the way.

Can you tell us about the moment you decided to leave your corporate career to DJ full-time? Were you scared? If so, how did you overcome those fears? I felt like I wasn’t growing the way I wanted in my corporate career, so I decided to become a freelancer to have more control over my personal growth. I took on a variety of freelance projects: brand strategy for national brands, social media strategy for small businesses, writing about fashion and retail, but most importantly, I pursued my passion in DJing.

_“I was absolutely afraid.”

_

There was worried about finances, healthcare, and the unknown. But after a certain point, I knew there was nothing else I could do prepare and I just had to take a leap of faith. One of my first bosses advised me many years ago to always save six months worth of living expenses – and then some. That piece of advice really resonated with me and has empowered me to be less nervous about taking risks with my career, both in the corporate world and as a freelancer. image

Do you have a certain routine when prepping for gigs? Yes, I always go through some new music based on the format of the gig in addition to going through some old favorites to get in the mood.

**In addition to music, you’re known for your killer fashion sense. ** So nice of you to say so! It’s funny because I often think about what I’m going to wear to a gig too. image

Any advice for women interested in taking the leap to pursue uncharted waters? Understand that challenges and failures are a part of the process. Success might not happen how you expect it to, but hard work and perseverance always pay off!

**Finally: How do you carry on beautifully? ** Think positively and wear comfortable shoes! image


Thanks Lani for showing us around! Our next Sisterhood stop is 3952 miles away from Chicago, and we’ve got our passports ready. Any guesses where we’re heading to next??

XO, P.MAI

image

Our Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag continues! After basking along the coastal shores of Seattle, our determined Valletta bag finds its way to the brisk winds of Chicago.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we’re setting the mood with gal who takes her profession to heart. Music maker DJ Lani Love (née Lani Nguyen) is a regular face to the Chicago nightlife, dropping beats at the city’s best clubs and bars (Soho House, Beauty Bar) while partnering with brands like Rent the Runway, Topshop, and Uniqlo. She’s known for her eclectic mix of music that includes house, disco, and hip hop, and has been voted the Best DJ two years in a row by Chicago Magazine readers.

With the help of our P.MAI bag, we caught up with Lani to learn how she traded the corporate cubicle for tuneful turntables.


Tell us a little about yourself—where you grew up and the path that took you to where you are now. I’m a California girl living in Chicago. Eight years ago I started DJing as a hobby in New York City, while I was working in advertising. A year and a half ago, I quit my job to go freelance. Having more control over my schedule and time gave me the opportunity to try new things, which eventually led to me DJing full time. image

How did you get started as a music maker? I started DJing when I moved to New York and met a DJ/producer I had been following online. I shadowed him for a year and just kept pushing myself to book gigs and practice. More recently, I’ve started dabbling in production because I want the opportunity to share more of my style in my sets with original tracks. There’s been a lot of YouTube University and good friends along the way.

Can you tell us about the moment you decided to leave your corporate career to DJ full-time? Were you scared? If so, how did you overcome those fears? I felt like I wasn’t growing the way I wanted in my corporate career, so I decided to become a freelancer to have more control over my personal growth. I took on a variety of freelance projects: brand strategy for national brands, social media strategy for small businesses, writing about fashion and retail, but most importantly, I pursued my passion in DJing.

_“I was absolutely afraid.”

_

There was worried about finances, healthcare, and the unknown. But after a certain point, I knew there was nothing else I could do prepare and I just had to take a leap of faith. One of my first bosses advised me many years ago to always save six months worth of living expenses – and then some. That piece of advice really resonated with me and has empowered me to be less nervous about taking risks with my career, both in the corporate world and as a freelancer. image

Do you have a certain routine when prepping for gigs? Yes, I always go through some new music based on the format of the gig in addition to going through some old favorites to get in the mood.

**In addition to music, you’re known for your killer fashion sense. ** So nice of you to say so! It’s funny because I often think about what I’m going to wear to a gig too. image

Any advice for women interested in taking the leap to pursue uncharted waters? Understand that challenges and failures are a part of the process. Success might not happen how you expect it to, but hard work and perseverance always pay off!

**Finally: How do you carry on beautifully? ** Think positively and wear comfortable shoes! image


Thanks Lani for showing us around! Our next Sisterhood stop is 3952 miles away from Chicago, and we’ve got our passports ready. Any guesses where we’re heading to next??

XO, P.MAI