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Lou Burton | Content Specialist at SwipedOn Shares her London to Tauranga Story
4 March 2020
Lou Burton | Content Specialist at SwipedOn Shares her London to Tauranga Story

Lou Burton built her career  in the United Kingdom combining a passion for adventure travel with expertise in content marketing.  

But when Lou and her Kiwi partner, Mark, grew tired of London life, they embarked on an adventure of a different kind.  The couple decided to move to New Zealand for a simpler life, arriving in Tauranga in 2018 with a vision for relaxed, ocean-side living. Setting up home in Mount Maungani has certainly delivered on that.

After freelancing proved to be isolating in a new town, Lou began to look around for a local company with a global vision - one that aligned with her values and provided a stimulating environment where she could put her content talents to good use. 

SwipedOn - one of New Zealand's fastest growing tech starts ups based in the heart of Tauranga - ticked all these boxes.  As Brand and Content Specialist, Lou is thriving and growing in the city she now calls home.

This is her story.

Lou, can you share your career story?

I graduated with a degree in printed textile design in 2011.  It was a tough time to graduate in the UK and particularly tough in the arts space. After a string of pub and data entry jobs, I decided to head down the path of my other passion - adventure travel. I landed a sales role for a travel company in my home town in Hampshire. This quickly progressed into a content and marketing role and I got to travel to some awesome places on the planet!

Two years later I wanted a taste of London life.  I first worked for a surf, skate and snow retailer in their online content team, before moving to my next role as Content Producer in the e-commerce team for EMEA at Deckers brands (UGG, teva, Hoka One One). 

What brought you to New Zealand?  

My partner is Kiwi and we decided to move to New Zealand. On our way here, we travelled in Asia for eight months, learning to slow down after the fast pace of London. I then took on freelance work and liked the idea of being able to earn while we were travelling. I’d never been to New Zealand before but I had heard that the outdoors lifestyle was great - that really appealed to me. 

How did Tauranga end up on your radar?

We ended up in Tauranga because my partner got a job here. All I knew was that it wouldn’t be as big as Auckland and that it was an up-and-coming place for work.  We hated the idea of having to live in a shared house again in a big city and that was likely the only affordable way we could live in Auckland. A quieter life in Tauranga with our own house near the beach was way more appealing!

Can you describe your experience of finding work in Tauranga?

I did some freelancing for a while, but didn't feel like I was progressing. Honestly, I got lonely working at home and didn’t have enough work to justify spending money on a coworking space. I really thrive off working alongside other people, building ideas through conversation and being part of a bigger goal.

My job hunt was disheartening for a while. There weren't many available jobs that aligned with my experience and values. I knew I didn't want to work in retail or fast-fashion, or to sell people things they didn't need. My experience of slowing down and travelling through Asia had really cemented those values for me. 

When I saw the SwipedOn role online, I googled them and realised I had used their visitor management system as a freelancer on a job earlier in the year. I remembered thinking how cool it was - such a simple idea, but so needed!  But, it wasn't until the interview when I met Hadleigh, the founder, and Paul, now my manager, that I really wanted the job. 

Firstly, we are on the same wave-length. They told me they plant a tree for every new customer, which excited me from a personal values perspective. They also told a story about a team day river-rafting in Rotorua, which sounded like heaps of fun. The culture was really was attracted me, along with the role itself. 

What does SwipedOn do?

We help businesses deliver the best visitor experience imaginable.

What does your role as Brand and Content Specialist for Swiped-On involve?

In London, the job was highly specialised. There was a person dedicated to every part of the process so I was purely the online content producer. In New Zealand, and particularly in SwipedOn, I have the opportunity to get stuck into all parts of digital content marketing - from improving organic SEO to writing blog articles and managing the social media channels. This gives me more variety and allows me to experiment and achieve in multiple areas, which is way more creatively stimulating than my previous roles. 

The culture is super creative and collaborative. It's easier than it's ever been for me to get my crazy ideas across the line!  I've had the opportunity to work on some really exciting brand pieces; from co-ordinating the production of video and photo content to getting really stuck into increasing organic SEO and brand merch for the SwipedOn team and customers.  I enjoy the variety.

What is SwipedOn like as a company to work for? 

Amazing! They are really flexible and accommodating of commitments outside work - within reason of course.  For example, when the surf is good, you won't see me in the office first thing and that's totally cool with my manager as long as I make up the time later and get the work done. 

Professionally it's given me the opportunity to learn, expand my skills and play an important role in growing the brand through content marketing. I love having a range of projects to keep me on my toes.  

What advice would you give to tech or content professionals considering moving to Tauranga?

The tech scene here is burgeoning. If you like a slower pace and a relaxed lifestyle, then do it!  More and more businesses are moving here because the lifestyle is so great. The opportunity to join startups and growing companies is really unique and allows you to learn many aspects of business as well as develop your specialised area of expertise.

Photo by Victoria Rose Sheridan

How has it been settling into Tauranga?  

It was really hard when I first got here. I was pretty lonely and felt isolated being away from my family and friends who I’d known for years. Being out in the ocean surfing helps, you start to see the same people over and over again. Then those people introduced me to more rad people and it just snowballed.

It’s going to sound crazy but I’ve actually found Instagram amazing for making friends!  I started an ocean photography side hustle (Instagram: @louloubphoto), which has drawn like-minded people who love to surf and love the ocean. 

What do you do to have fun and relax here?

Surfing, ocean and surf photography, climbing Mauao, making coffee on the beach with friends or meeting them in local coffee shops. I also co-run an initiative that myself and my friend created here in the Mount. It's called One Wave Is All It Takes and it's a not-for-profit surf community raising awareness for mental health.

It was started in Australia originally (by a guy from the Mount coincidentally!) and we have started a branch here to service the local community. We run Fluro Friday events every other Friday at Tay Street Beach which is always fun and great for our wellbeing as well as that of the local community.

What has surprised you about Tauranga?

The longer I’m here, the more I realise what a creative hub it is! There are so many people doing their own hustles and creating their own businesses. It’s definitely got a young, creative scene of millenials and now emerging gen z'ers and people from all over New Zealand and the world. I thought it would be a bit like my hometown with most friendship groups already established but I’ve found people really open and relaxed here.

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career?  An exciting role in a completely new industry for that allows me to use all my knowledge and keep learning in areas that I wasn’t clued up on before. It’s also allowed me to start a side-hustle in ocean photography, which I could never have achieved living in a big city. I’m lucky to be able to quickly hit the beach when the swell is good to document it, or roll down in my wetsuit to shoot sunrises and moonrises throughout the year. I've begun selling prints. We actually we have one that’s about to go up in the SwipedOn office which I’m stoked on!

For your wellbeing? I live a more outdoors lifestyle now which is great. I can surf, climb Mauao and have easy access to remote places on our weekend adventures when I need some solitude with nature.

For your relationships?  I've gained new friends who also live positive lifestyles and are interested in the simple things in life. Also, Fluro Fridays is a great way to be able to talk through anything at all, and get out in the ocean with like-minded people.

Ready for a Change?

SwipedOn is a key company in Tauranga's growing tech sector. LEARN MORE

Thinking of moving to Tauranga someday? 

Take the first steps now.


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