Mitra Barber, the Fashion and Lifestyle Content Creator behind ‘Leopard Couture’, moved from Victoria to Vancouver with her best friend in the Fall of 2015 to pursue blogging and join Vancouver’s very active blogging community – something that was non-existent in Victoria.
Her experience at Dynamite as a Store Manager, at Nordstrom Vancouver in the personal styling and social media departments, and more recently at a boutique digital marketing agency in Vancouver, combined with her degree in Commerce from the University of Victoria, have given this fashion-lover a deep appreciation for fashion and the business of retail.
What began as a fashion blog five years ago, has now grown to include beauty, travel, food, fitness and lifestyle content that is posted on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Mitra hopes to inspire others and provide value with the content she posts on ‘Leopard Couture’. Moving forward, she sees ‘Leopard Couture’ expanding beyond it’s fashion roots and including more content on self-love, self-care, living your best life and becoming the best version of yourself.
In her spare time (not that she has a lot, this girl is BUSY) Mitra enjoys reading, listening to motivational podcasts and videos, cooking, shopping, creating content and editing videos, going to comedy shows and spin class.
CeeCee: Hi Mitra, thanks so much for sitting down with me. We’re so excited to launch our brand new ‘Girl in Focus’ program with you as our ‘Girl in Focus’! I know our followers are really going to respond to this new direction. One of the goals of this program is to make sure that our followers get a really good sense of who you are and what you’re all about. So with that in mind let’s get started! What is your biggest strength?
Mitra: My biggest strength would probably be my self discipline and dedication. I’d like to say I’m a hard worker and when I want something, or I know something needs to get done, I won’t stop until I get it!
CeeCee: What are your goals for 2019?
Mitra: Some of my goals include travelling to new places and really pushing more content through YouTube this year!
Cee: What’s your next big life goal?
Mitra: I want to move to Europe in 2020 and do a one year working holiday – I’m thinking Spain! I want a change of scenery and I’ve always wanted to go to Europe! I would love to document my life and travels abroad on my social channels as well!
CeeCee: DO IT! I just got back from Spain. Amazing! One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t move to Europe when I had the chance. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Mitra: I see myself continuing Leopard Couture whether that be via blog or YouTube or whatever new social media that is happening 10 years from now, but additionally I see myself owning my own online business whether that be offering courses, or owning a clothing/jewellery business. Also I I’d like to have a little family by then as well 🙂
CeeCee: So just a few goals 🙂 What was the best thing that happened to you this past year?
Mitra: This has been the year that I have grown the most as an individual – becoming the strongest and best version of myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I went through a lot of failure and endured an injury earlier this year and I can truly thank the books – ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘You Are a Badass’ for changing my mindset and looking at life and my circumstances in such a different perspective/way. I am thankful for the failure and pain I went through to make me even more grateful and appreciative and the person I am today. I am excited to continue feeding my brain and soul and strive towards becoming an even better version of myself in 2019!
CeeCee: Sounds like you’ve had quite the year! Most people wouldn’t consider failure and injury as the best things that happened to them. I think it’s really great that you took those negative things and turned them into a positive. What is the best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?
Mitra: That you need to fail to truly succeed. We speak about success all the time but I think failure is SO important and necessary as it guides you to a new direction or there was a lesson to be learnt from it. It’s the times that I have experienced failure that I have truly grown and become 10x stronger than I was before. Don’t let fear of failing hold you back as it may keep you from your success!
CeeCee: Ahh, your last answer makes so much sense now! So what made you decide to start a blog?
Mitra: I was living in Tokyo on University exchange and was so inspired by the fashion and trends there that it made me think – I need to step out my comfort zone when it comes to fashion and make-up so I did! I always dressed the same way and wore the same make-up so this was the first time I was giving everything a try! I enjoyed it so much that I decided to create a blog to inspire others to go outside of their comfort zones and try new things, whether it be fashion styles and trends or new makeup, because you’ll never know what you might actually like unless you give it a try! This last year I haven’t been quite as active on my blog as I am focusing my attention on YouTube and Instagram. I’m finding my audience enjoys watching my content rather than reading it.
CeeCee: Speaking of Instagram, what made you decide to share your life on Instagram?
Mitra: I launched my Instagram the same time as my blog as I knew both platforms would align. This way I could let my followers know when I had new blog posts up on my Instagram.
CeeCee: What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone that wants to build their Instagram following?
Mitra: Be patient haha it’s not going to happen overnight! Create content you love and that is authentic to you, post consistently, make sure your aesthetic is consistent with editing, colour tones etc., and finally the biggest thing – engage a ton with others on Instagram!
CeeCee: Your feed is beautiful! Total goals! What apps do you use for editing photos and curating your Instagram feed?
Mitra: For IG stories I like to use VSCO for editing and Unfold for creating fun and beautiful templates to elevate my stories. They have free templates as well as ones where you can purchase and they are super affordable! For editing my Instagram photos I’ll first use FaceTune or Snapseed if I need to quickly brighten or whiten anything up in the photo, then I’ll move onto Lightroom to do the rest of my editing and create my own filters there. For making sure I like my Instagram feed aesthetic I use UNUM to see what my feed will look like before posting the photos.
CeeCee: Ohh lots of good tips there! Tell us something that your followers might not know about your feed.
Mitra: Most of my content on my Instagram is shot by other bloggers. Unless I am on a trip with my best friend, mom or sister then they’ll help me with my photos. And I must say they have become quite good with knowing my angles! 😉
CeeCee: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel?
Mitra: I wanted to start a YouTube channel for as long as I can remember so in the Summer of 2016, three years after launching ‘Leopard Couture’, I went for it! I wanted a new way to communicate with my audience. I realized that it’s difficult to showcase my personality through writing but with video I can truly show myself 100%. I am SO happy I decided to do YouTube as I honestly prefer video over blogging. Moving into 2019 I plan on sharing more content via YouTube. Stay tuned!
CeeCee: If you could only do one – YouTube or Instagram, which would it be?
Mitra: Ooooh that’s a tough one between YouTube and Instagram…as I love them equally. I’d say Instagram though as there’s more ways there that I can engage with my followers 🙂
CeeCee: Ok let’s switch gears and talk about fashion! How would you describe your style?
Mitra: I’d say chic with a bit of edge!
CeeCee: Ooooh, one of my favourites. Who are your favourite Coquitlam Centre retailers?
Mitra: MAC, Aldo, Dynamite, SportCheck, Kiehl’s Since 1851, lululemon athletica and Street.
CeeCee: Yeah, your face definitely lit up when we walked into MAC haha. What style trends are you most excited about this season?
Mitra: Teddy coats and long-line coats. Your coat can be a statement piece on it’s own and instantly vamp up your outfit.
CeeCee: I am obsessed with my teddy coat. I wasn’t sure about it at first but now I can’t get enough! What are some of your must-have items this season?
Mitra: My cozy blanket scarves and knee high boots.
CeeCee: What’s your favourite outfit?
Mitra: If I’m going casual then it’s my lululemon athletica black leggings with an Adidas or Nike sweater, baseball cap and my white People sneakers. If I’m getting a little more dressed up, I love grabbing a leather skirt, black knee high boots, a cozy sweater, with a long wool coat!
CeeCee: What one fashion item can you not live without?
Mitra: My black skinny jeans. They go with EVERYTHING!
CeeCee: What’s on the top of your fashion wish list?
Mitra: Call me basic haha but I do want the Aritiza Super Puff jacket in black hehe.
CeeCee: Hahaha hopefully Santa is listening! What are your Top 5 beauty/skincare products?
Mitra: My skin can’t live without the Kiehl’s Since 1851 Midnight Recovery Oil and Daily Reviving Concentrate – I use them every day! I also love my MAC lipsticks and L’Oreal mascaras, and my St.Tropez face bronzing mist to give me that vacay glow! 😉
CeeCee: What’s your biggest beauty tip?
Mitra: Ladies, do NOT forget to moisturize your neck! My mama told me this yearssss ago that your age will start to appear in your neck first so keep it looking young and give it some love!
CeeCee: Mama definitely knows best! What is your favourite book?
Mitra: ‘The Power Of Now’. It has honestly changed my life and I highly recommend it! Oh and all the Harry Potter’s of course hehe. Brings back childhood memories! Anyone else??
CeeCee: Favourite movies?
Mitra: This is hard..I can’t think of one, but a few that pop into mind right now are The Holiday, Coach Carter and all The Harry Potters.
CeeCee: What’s your ideal night out?
Mitra: Going out for dinner and a comedy show or getting dolled up with my girlfriends and going dancing!💃🏻 I loveeee dancing!
CeeCee: What’s your ideal night in?
Mitra: Taking a bubble bath, ordering in take-out and watching a movie (with chocolate) hehe.
CeeCee: What’s your favourite way to spend a day? What would your ideal day look like?
Mitra: I love a good “me” self-care day to spend some time alone. Starting my morning off with a workout, either filming or editing a new YouTube video, spending some time outside, going over my goals, organizing my room – cleaning oddly is very therapeutic for me, and I feel like it always clears my mind when my space around me is clean, reading, doing a pamper skincare routine, then catching up with girlfriends over lunch or dinner would be the perfect day for me!
CeeCee: I totally get that. I can’t relax if my space is a mess. What are three things in your bag you can’t live without?
Mitra: Lipstick, eye lash glue (when I’m wearing lashes it’s a must haha) a mini body mist and gum. Sorry I know that’s four…
CeeCee: What is your favourite food?
CeeCee: Me too! I could eat it for EVERY meal. Ok, maybe not breakfast. What is your favourite drink?
Mitra: Matcha latte!
CeeCee: Hahaha, I think red wine or some sort of coffee is almost always the answer to this question. What is your favourite dessert?
Mitra: Believe it or not, I don’t actually drink coffee! My favourite dessert is a brownie with ice cream and caramel. Mmmm I’m getting hungry haha
CeeCee: What’s your favourite restaurant?
Mitra: Some of my faves in Vancouver include Medina, Botanist, Jam Cafe, Guu, Tacofino and Pokkerito oh and Body Energy Club for their smoothies! They are bomb.com!
CeeCee: OMG Tacofino’s Banh Tofu burrito??? Soo good but I think you can only get it on their trucks. What’s your favourite way to exercise?
Mitra: Definitely Spin @ SOULCYCLE! It’s a workout for your mind, body and soul in a 40min class, it’s amazing! I also love hitting the gym and running along the seawall.
CeeCee: What’s the best way to decompress?
Mitra: Working out, reading, taking a bath, meditating, journalling, walking/running by the seawall, watching a movie and drinking tea to name a few.
CeeCee: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Mitra: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Half-Baked ice cream. It is life changing.
CeeCee: Hahaha, I’ll have to try it. Do you have a secret talent? If so what is it?
Mitra: I played piano for over 15 years and taught it for 8 years during high school and University!
CeeCee: I know it’s not necessarily a secret talent but you speak Japanese don’t you?
Mitra: Yes, I’m half Japanese and speak Japanese fluently – thanks to my mama for teaching it to me. I haven’t been back to Japan since I started my blog in 2013, but I miss it so much and hope to go back there in the next two years!
CeeCee: That’s it! Thanks so much for chatting with me.