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Influenced: Reesa Lake of LTK

Article by Samantha Schoengold Beranbom

Photography by New Light Creative

Originally published in Fairfield Lifestyle

Powerhouse Reesa Lake is charismatic, dynamic and brilliant. After a successful career in fashion PR, she is now a leading authority in the influencer space. Reesa’s forward-thinking has establish the creator economy into the juggernaut that it is today. She is currently VP and Head of Creator Agency Partnerships for LTK. LTK is the largest global Creator/Influencer platform for influencers - which powers creators' shops - making all their content shoppable and commissionable from over 7,000 brands. Shoppers can easily browse and shop all in one place. There is nearly 30M monthly shoppers on the LTK platform, with an astonishing $4.1B in retail sales annually through LTK Creators. Meet a true visionary, Fairfield’s Reesa Lake.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I spent my early years in California and Florida. My parent's entrepreneurial spirit rubbed off on me. I loved any opportunity to make money, from garage sales to lemonade stands. They would buy and flip houses. I remember one of the houses had a huge walnut tree where I picked up nuts off the ground and cracked them open to sell to the neighbors. To my parent's disbelief, I would come home with a pocket full of money.  I have always loved fashion. My first job was at the GAP. I had cardigans in every shade of the rainbow.  I was also rebellious, throwing parties at home as soon as my parents would leave the house - although I also was class president and involved in community service. Not much has changed. I am still throwing parties, but this time more elevated with Rosé. I am still hustling every second but living life to the fullest.

Q: What is you connection to Fairfield?

A:   I live a real-life love story. Fourteen years ago, I was in an airport bar, sitting out a 3-hour delay.  Next to me, two guys were busy on their computers, I anticipated a round of drinks coming my way, but that didn’t happen. As I made my way onto the aircraft, I was dreading 16E, a middle seat.  I was the last person on the plane to make eye contact with the guy in 16D, the same guy I had sat next to in the bar. After 3 hours of talking, we exchanged cards.  I was working in NYC and never imagined I would fall in love and within six months, move to Fairfield, get married to Michael, and become a mom or, as he calls me, The Reesters, to Mason who was 6 when we met. Moving was a rough transition. I had no friends and struggled to find a network. I remember one of the first weekends in Fairfield I was in disbelief that there was nowhere to have brunch!  Fast forward to today and I love Fairfield! We moved from the beach to the University area and now there's plenty of brunch options. I also enjoy hosting friends at our home. I recently hosted a lunch and had a pinch me kind of moment thinking back to when I could barely fill a table. Now, the room was over capacity with many incredible women entrepreneurs. 

Q: What are your favorite things to do for fun around town in the Fall?

A: We entertain a lot, so I am usually running around picking up seafood at Nordic Fish or cheeky napkins at Beehive. I love floral design, so getting stems at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's and spending a couple of hours arranging flowers is therapeutic.   

Q: You’ve had an incredible career. Can you take us along the path that has led to now?

A: I went off to Florida State University with the plan to go to law school. After failing Intro to Political Science, I switched majors to a more familiar subject, Fashion Merchandising.  I studied abroad in Paris and London and then landed in NYC for an internship with fashion designer Yigal Azrouel. The receptionist quit and I talked them into hiring me two weeks into my Internship. I spent 7+ years in Public Relations, planning fashion shows and dressing celebrities for the Red Carpet for clients like Oscar De La Renta, Donna Karan, Gwen Stefani, Cartier, and American Eagle. 

In 2008, magazines started shuttering and it was impossible to get placements. I began pitching bloggers like Purse Blog and Tina Craig from Bag Snob. I went on to sponsorship sales and joined Digital Brand Architects, the first talent management company to represent bloggers. I signed and represented Fashion Influencers, including Camila Coelho, Paola of Blank Itinerary, Amber Fillerup Clark of Barefoot Blonde, and many more. I went on to launch the successful brand partnership division playing matchmaker between talent and brand. Celebrating women entrepreneurs has been part of my DNA and a guiding light in my decisions.  I drove sponsorship sales and talent procurement for Create & Cultivate, then joined the incredible team at LTK to build an agency partnerships team to support the growth of creators on the platform. 

Q: You had such foresight very early on that influencers and social media in general would have a huge impact on how we discover brands, how we shop, how we find expert information. 

A: I saw the power talent has to drive value, brand awareness, and sales for a brand. From my time in-house to PR, celebrities and socialites were the marquee names.  It was a natural progression for influencers, who have amassed millions of followers to move from standing room only to front row during fashion week. For brands, influencer partnerships are the answer to many of their goals; from driving sales to brand lift and affinity. Influencers have created a priceless relationship with their audience. As consumers we put tremendous trust in them.  From seeing new restaurants on their Instagram feeds to curating sales, we look to influencers to make daily decisions.  

Q: What do you look for in partnering with influencers? With brands?

A: Not all partnerships are created equal. Brands are looking at creator marketing as a genre. They are commissioning and casting creators based on their ability to drive sales and there is no bias as to which platform the creator uses to deliver that outcome. Most of our brands seek creators to post personal shoppable content to drive sales.  Commerce plays a part in the success, as does content type.  Brands are investing in video content more than any other media type. 

Q: In a now saturated market - can you offer any advice to aspiring ‘influencers’?

A: I’m in awe of this industry and the room it leaves for new content creators to raise the ranks.  Focus on community and engagement and lean into platforms that make the most sense for your business, creating monetization opportunities.  Remember, your reputation will outlive a social media post, and your network is extremely valuable as you are looking to grow.  Find your niche and try not to get imposter syndrome.  I have loved following the growth of “newish” local influencers @palomameehan, @brittanyksansone, and TikTok creator @kat_can_cook.

Q: I imagine every day is different but what is a typical day like?

A: As VP and Head of Creator Agency Partnerships for LTK, I spend a lot of time in internal strategy meetings. I manage a team of ten and work closely across our creator sales, success, and brand team. I have spent a significant amount of time on the road this year, traveling for events and meetings and partnering with our agencies on creator retreats. In-person time is essential for building a network.  In Fairfield, I meet with local influences and creators for strategy meetings a couple of days a week.  I typically wind down with an end-of-day catch-up with my husband.  We love a good binge-watch.

Reesa’s Fairfield Favorites:
Date Night:  Lunch at the bar at The Chelsea or Bodega.
Me Time: A mani-pedi at Posh.
Sweet Treat: Grandma's Biscuit at Esh
Girlfriends' Day: Molto. The Nella salad on repeat.
Recharge: A facial at New Beauty Wellness
Design Inspo: @ChristinaLake  @freshflowerbar
Retail Therapy: Penfield Collective, Marea