Saturday, 26 February 2011

An interview with... Simon Duffy, co-founder of Bulldog Natural Grooming

Years in industry: 5 

Simon Duffy made a brave choice when he and his business partner Rhodri Ferrier decided to take on beauty big boys such as Nivea and Gillette, with the launch of a male grooming brand, Bulldog. Simon talks to Your Beauty Industry about having a unique idea, converting your ideas into a commercial business and the realities of investment.

What paved the way to you launching a male grooming brand?
The idea for Bulldog came whilst I was living with my girlfriend (now wife!). All the products she used were natural and when I went to buy my own I realised that there were just no natural products out there for men. So I got this idea for natural skincare products for men. A few days later I met my good friend Rhodri for a drink and told him about my idea. By the end of the night we had agreed to become business partners. In 2006 we decided to quit our jobs and create Bulldog with no experience in the sector.

Once you had the idea for Bulldog, how did you know how to physically get the products created?
Once we had the idea we did an enormous amount of research into all aspects of product development. One of the main considerations was that we wanted to manufacture everything in the UK. Manufacturing in the UK is much better for the environment than the way some of the other brands produce their products overseas and ship it half way across the world. This was vitally important to us.

"Initially we got Bulldog off the ground with £37,000. Once we started talking to large retailers we realised we were going to need additional funds"
Did you need much investment?
Initially we got Bulldog off the ground by combining our life savings and maxing out our credit cards to scrap together £37,000. Once we started talking to large retailers like Sainsbury’s we realised we were going to need additional funds. Raising money is a very hard thing to do. We spoke to hundreds of potential investors and got knocked back more times than I care to remember. You have to be persistent and believe in your idea. Ultimately we found a group of people who loved our concept of removing controversial chemicals and replacing them with the highest quality natural ingredients. The people who invested in Bulldog are as passionate about Bulldog as we are.

Do you think it is a necessity to have large investment to be able to launch a brand?

I don’t think it’s a necessity for every brand, but it was important for Bulldog. We compete against massive multinational companies like L’Oreal, Beiersdorf (Nivea) and Procter & Gamble (Gillette). These companies spend a massive amount on marketing and business development. We knew that we would have to raise some money in order for Bulldog to compete in the long-run, but we’re still very much an underdog when it comes to scale.

"We never did manage to thank whoever handed our samples into lost property, but without them Bulldog would never have happened!"
How easy did you find getting into meet store buyers?
It took an enormous amount of hard work and good fortune to get Bulldog products into our first retailer, Sainsbury’s. Getting into a major retailer is a very hard thing to crack, and it very nearly didn’t happen.

I can remember this terrible time when we lost our final mock-ups of our products the day before our final meeting with the head buyer. We had just had our packs mocked-up by a designer who had painstakingly applied our designs by hand on to some blank tubes. On the way home we managed to leave the bag on the train and we thought we had lost our only samples. We were both in something of a mad panic, and in the end couldn’t believe our luck when this bag turned up at the Baker Street lost property office.

We managed to get the product samples to Sainsbury’s just in time and were thrilled when about two weeks later they called us to say they wanted to launch Bulldog nationwide in over 300 stores. We never did manage to thank whoever handed them into lost property, but without them Bulldog would never have happened!

In an industry dominated by giants such as Gillette and Nivea, how do you succeed?
We compete with massive multinational companies who spend tens of millions of pounds on marketing their brands. There’s nothing unique about them as they pretty much do everything the same. They all use very similar formulations, market their products in exactly the same way and really are just repackaging traditionally female products for men.

Bulldog competes by being different. This means that Bulldog challenges industry conventions on ingredients, packaging, ethics and marketing. Bulldog is the only brand that is bringing something exciting and fresh to the category at the moment, and this is key to our success.

We’re also the first male skincare brand to be certified as Cruelty Free by the BUAV, and we’re very proud to have won an RSPCA Good Business Award.

What kind of marketing do you do for Bulldog?
Bulldog’s biggest marketing spend was our internet shows called ‘David Mitchell’s Soapbox’. The shows are fronted by the BAFTA awarding comedian David Mitchell. The shows, which each lasting for 3 to 5 minutes, cover anything from flowers to male grooming. The shows were the perfect vehicle for David’s witty and topical rants on everyday life.

We partnered with FHM online, the Guardian online, and iTunes to make the series widely available for free viewing and downloading. Bulldog pulled the whole concept together and we added a sponsor’s messages to the front and back of each episode. The shows have been incredibly successful and have had over 10 million views to date, they won the Apple iTunes Best Video Show Award for 2009, and they sat at the top of the podcast charts for weeks.

If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
Actually I think we’re going fine at the moment just as we are; we’re currently the UK’s fastest growing male skincare brand (+86% year on year) and Sweden’s skincare brand of the year (Kings Magazine Awards, and Café Magazine Awards). We’ll see huge growth for Bulldog in the USA and Japan this year. We’ve certainly made loads of mistakes along the way, but I wouldn’t try to unpick anything now. We’re only looking forward at the moment.

What top 5 tips would you give anyone who wants to launch their own range?

•    Don’t conform to industry conventions
•    Believe in your idea
•    Make sure you work with great people
•    Use natural ingredients
•    Enjoy what you do

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Someone once told me “If you believe in something, go for it and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise”.  This has always stuck with me.

Who inspires you?
When I was a kid I was obsessed by Lego and loved making stuff, so the person who first inspired me to be creative was the inventor of Lego, Ole Kirk Christiansen.

Visit www.meetthebulldog.com

I would love to know if any of you have considered launching your own beauty brand - what stands in your way?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Beauty PR internship available at SVPR

I speak to many people who are looking for PR internships and their main worry about taking on a placement is that they will be stuck fetching the coffee, running errands and generally not learning much about PR. Step forward SVPR! With the promise of getting fully involved in the PR process, there is also the potential of a paid position at SVPR at the end of the placement. Plus, since I know the owner Sarah personally, I can vouch for her being a lovely person, too! Read on for more details and to apply - and good luck!


Job description
SVPR is a small boutique health & beauty PR agency based in Battersea, south London. We are looking for a bright and driven graduate to undertake a 3 month internship, which may result in a paid position after the initial 3 month period. The successful applicant will have great writing skills, is driven to succeed and has a keen interest in health and beauty.

We are committed to ensure the internship will give you valuable experience - writing press releases, organising events, liaising with journalists... all fantastic skills you will be able to add to your CV and will help you to further your career in PR and media. All previous interns at SVPR have found full-time employment in the PR industry after completing their internship.

If you would like to apply for this position, please email sarahvrancken@press-london.co.uk with your CV before 10th March. Instead of including a covering letter, we would like you to send us a 300 to 500 word text outlining your favourite and least favourite beauty brands and the reasons why.

We will be looking to interview candidates mid-March, with the internship starting at the end of March 2011 / beginning of April.

Visit www.svpr.co.uk

Monday, 21 February 2011

An interview with... Sarah Smith, founder of Beauty Retreat

Years in beauty industry: 2

Sarah Smith has recently launched Beauty Retreat, a mobile beauty service in Kent and Central London, which brings salon treatments to people's homes. She also pens her thoughts and reviews at I Heart Cosmetics, a popular lifestyle blog. Sarah talks to Your Beauty Industry about making the leap into self-employment, attending training courses to learn a new trade and the importance of investing in the best suppliers you can afford.



What made you decide to set up your own mobile beauty service?
I love beauty treatments myself but often find booking an appointment and then rushing to it, finding parking and then waiting in the reception of the salon for my appointment really stressful. I decided I wanted to offer a service to go to people so they could be relaxed in their own surroundings and take away the hassle of travelling to the salon. It is also a lot more suitable for the elderly or less mobile who perhaps just cannot get out much.

"Places such as Salon Geek were invaluable for learning where was good and bad to train"
How did you go about getting qualified as a beauty technician?
I researched for ages before training, as I wanted to go with reputable and well respected (and accredited) training courses. Places such as Salon Geek (www.salongeek.com) were invaluable for learning where was good and bad to train.

Were you already trained or did you learn specifically to be able to launch Beauty Retreat?
I had the training specifically to be able to launch my own business. To start with I thought I would just offer mobile tanning but then I realised how passionate I felt about all aspects of beauty and how much I enjoy learning new skills and making people feel gorgeous! So now I offer a range of beauty services, including eyelash extensions, tanning and various manicure and pedicures.

How have you found the experience of being self-employed so far?
Very liberating; it is so nice not to have to bow and scrape for someone else’s approval and just go with your own ideas and initiative.

What are the challenges of running your own business?

Managing you time, the accounts, stock taking and generally not having anyone else to bounce ideas off of. I like a challenge though!

What would your top tips be for anyone wanting to set up their own beauty business?
Research your market - don’t just go for cheap products and marketing; invest in the best you can afford.  Save up for a well-designed website as a bad one can be more of a turn off than no website at all. I am taking the time to get my website right, so for now I direct people to my Facebook page for more information.

"The quote by Henry Ford sums up the advice I would give someone else: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right”"
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t think I have ever been given any business advice!  I think the quote by Henry Ford sums up the advice I would give someone else: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right”.  I think this is so true; self-belief is very important.

Who inspires you in your work?
My friend Angela is a big inspiration to me, she is such an amazing and hard working person but also so lovely at the same time. She really has helped me believe in myself and made me realise anything is possible.

Anything else you would like to add?
For anyone thinking about starting up their own business I would urge you to give it a go, put your all into it and don’t look back!

Visit www.facebook.com/beautyretreatkent and www.iheartcosmetics.co.uk

Thursday, 17 February 2011

No one says it better than Baz Luhrmann!



I hadn't heard this song for sooo long, then on Saturday afternoon while on an impromptu drive through the countryside, it came on the radio. First of all we were laughing about how ridiculous it was but as the song went on, I loved it more and more - the messaging is so inspiring and there's even a couple of beauty references in there too - although I'll choose to ignore his advice to not read beauty magazines!

So, turn it up, enjoy - and feel inspired!

Is there anything in the song that you particularly relate to?

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

An interview with... Emily Miller, Editor of Pure Beauty

Years in industry: 6 

Emily Miller is the Editor of Pure Beauty - a trade magazine serving the beauty retail industry. I had the pleasure of working with Emily for many years at Pure Beauty and she remains one of the hardest, most dedicated workers I know. Emily talks to Your Beauty Industry about the role of trade journalism, the difference between being an editor and being a journalist and how to break into beauty journalism.


Tell me a bit about your career background – how did you make it into the lovely world of beauty journalism?
After completing a degree in journalism, film and broadcasting and then a magazine journalism diploma at Cardiff University, I landed my first job as a reporter on the now defunct Printing World magazine (everyone has to start somewhere!). After one particularly mind-numbingly boring day writing yet again about some printing press, I decided it was time to find work a bit closer to my own heart and luckily found an advert for the role of editorial assistant on Pure Beauty. After a bit of gentle persuasion I got the boss to change the job role to assistant editor and within six weeks I was commuting to London everyday to work on my dream title! I’ve always been a beauty obsessive so I really was lucky to find a role in trade journalism that also gave me my beauty fix.

What does your job as Editor entail on a day to day basis?

As editor, I come up with all the content ideas in the magazine, edit my own and my colleague’s work, work alongside the designer on the design of the magazine and represent Pure Beauty at product launches and other industry events. Every day is different but in an average day I’ll arrive at the office an hour early to go through my e-mails and check the press for any beauty stories before the phone starts ringing. Most days I’ll have a product launch or two to attend, which generally entails going to a lovely venue in central London to learn about the new product, meeting the team behind it to ask them any questions about the product, and taking away a sample to try myself. Between my colleague Katherine and I we really do try every single new product we receive so we know what we’re writing about.

The rest of the day will really depend on what time of the month it is and where we are in terms of press schedule – for example, at the beginning of the month when we have a few weeks left to get the issue to press I might go and meet a PR contact for a coffee, or go and visit a store to find out more about their beauty offering, or if we’re closer to press deadline I’ll go back to the office and either source interviewees or quotes for whatever features I’m writing, or write up new product stories from press releases for our Product Focus pages (which detail new launches).

What are the challenges of being Editor?
It’s a challenge to come up with new ideas on a regular basis that you know your readers will like while retaining the content they already enjoy, and particularly on this magazine where I only have one other editorial member of staff, it can be hard to keep the offering fresh. The other major challenge is keeping a good balance of editorial and advertising content – it can be frustrating having to cut editorial pages in the magazine – particularly when you’ve got loads of great quotes for a feature and need the room to include them – because a brand has booked an advert at the last minute. But the magazine wouldn’t exist without advertising so when I get frustrated I just have to remind myself of that! The other thing that I’ve found hard is learning to trust my judgement and not rely on someone else telling me how to solve problems or improve something, because it’s my job to do that for the rest of the staff – but I am getting better at it!

"If I think the industry will benefit from us including a certain feature, I can put it in the magazine without having to justify it to anyone else" 
And what are the benefits?
The main benefit is that I get to decide what goes on every single editorial page of the magazine so if I think the industry will benefit from us including a certain feature or raising a certain issue, I can put it in the magazine without having to justify to anyone else why we should include it. In addition, if I think something isn’t working, I can change it or take it out quickly and easily. Editing means I get final sign off on every page so if I don’t like something design-wise I can ask my designer to change it until I think it’s right, which means by the time the issue goes to press I know that every page looks as good as it possibly can. All of this allows us to respond quickly to market changes or reader demand, which makes us very flexible and this benefits not only the readers, but also our advertisers.

How does being an editor differ from being a journalist?
Being an editor involves coming up with content ideas for the entire magazine, editing my own and my staff writer’s work, working closely with the designer to make sure the magazine is being presented in a way I’m happy with and representing the magazine at launches. On other publications, being a journalist is more about the writing – once it’s been decided what you’re writing (you may be told by the editor or you may come up with ideas together), it’s then up to you to source interviewees, research the topic, write the piece and fact check it. In a larger team, your work may then be passed on to a sub-editor to proof, amend and add a headline and standfirst, but in our tiny team the journalist will proof all the pages and make the amends on-screen. The editor then has final sign off on all pages when happy with them.

The main difference between being a journalist and being an editor is the responsibility involved – if our advertising or editorial team make any mistakes or our advertisers aren’t happy, then it’s up to me to deal with that complaint and keep the peace. Luckily we don’t get very many complaints! Over time I have come to enjoy the editing side more than the journalism side because my strengths lie in coming up with new ideas, influencing and making suggestions for page design, and problem solving – all of which are a much bigger part of editing than of being a journalist.

How does working on a trade magazine differ to consumer journalism?
Trade, or business to business (B2B) journalism serves a completely different purpose. Consumer magazines have a direct link to the consumer – so in terms of beauty, their role is to tell consumers about new products or the best products to create a certain look, and the idea is that consumers will trust their expertise and therefore go and buy the products.

With trade journalism, the magazine talks directly to the professionals within that industry rather than the consumer. So Pure Beauty is read by store staff selling beauty products, who then use the knowledge they gain from the magazine to do their job better.  From an advertiser’s point of view, the magazine acts as a conduit between the brand and the store staff selling that brand’s product. From our point of view, we’re telling store staff about new products so they have the knowledge to recommend these to customers or answers customers’ questions about them, while our features are designed to arm them with the knowledge they need about all aspects of beauty (from foot care to anti-ageing) to help them serve customers better and recommend products that will work for them.

Because Pure Beauty is read by those selling beauty products to consumers, we have to be extra careful about the information we include in the magazine to make sure it’s accurate, as this info will be passed on from store staff to consumers and may affect how the staff do their jobs (e.g. what products they recommend and so on). That’s not to say that consumer magazines aren’t as careful, but the information we include tends to be more in-depth because we are essentially trying to help ‘train’ the store staff. In addition, the information we include has to be un-biased as we’re merely trying to put across facts – we try to cover a wide range of products and give readers the facts about that products ingredients, claims and clinical trial results rather than just recommending products we like or that may have worked well for us.
"There are very few beauty journalism jobs out there so you need to make yourself stand out; prove that you are dedicated and beauty-obsessed"
What would your top tips be for anyone wanting to be a beauty journalist?
Immerse yourself in beauty, read every consumer and trade magazine out there to find out what’s going on in the industry and follow good beauty blogs – we find out about so many new products through blogs. Try and get work experience so you can experience the day-to-day reality of being a beauty journalist, and if you find yourself doing menial tasks and not getting the experience you’re after, then politely ask if you can do more to help out – that way it’s worthwhile for both you and the publication.

There are very few jobs out there but if you want one of them you need to make yourself stand out, so have ways to prove that you are dedicated and beauty-obsessed – starting a blog, website or twitter account where you talk about beauty in a new and interesting way would be a great start. Finally I would always recommend having some formal journalism training to set you apart from others – look for a NCTJ course which will be recognised as official training (there are a lot of courses out there so make sure the one you pick counts for something!).

What should aspiring journalists NOT do when trying to break the industry?
Waste any work experience they have – if you’re a bit shy or nervous it’s all too easy to spend your week or fortnight clearing up the beauty cupboard or sending post. If you’re not gaining anything from the experience you should speak up – but do so respectfully or you won’t be invited back. And remember journalists are busy people so you need to be a help at all times, rather than a hindrance by constantly asking ‘what can I do now’? Instead give ideas  - ‘Can I write something?’ or ‘Can I help you by transcribing anything for you?’

What do you like most about working in the beauty industry?
Being around beauty products all day, every day! I love seeing new products, especially really exciting ones that get the industry buzzing. Also it’s great hearing about new trends and seeing how they’re influenced by fashion – it reminds you how important beauty really is. In my experience most of the people working in beauty are particularly passionate about what they do so it’s a great talking to people with such enthusiasm – it rubs off on you. And it’s pretty nice that I don’t have to spend too much money on my beauty habit because I get sent lots of products – I was bankrupting myself with beauty products before I worked here!

What has been the highlight of your career?
Becoming the editor of Pure Beauty was a turning point as it made me realise the editing side is (hopefully!) where I will remain – my strengths definitely lend themselves to being an editor rather than a writer. Not that my writing sucks – I just get really excited about coming up with great editorial ideas and guiding others in how to make those ideas become great features.
"My team neglected to tell me that the majority of flooring in a mill is metal grating, so imagine my joy when I turned up in heels!"
Any low points?
I will never regret my time at Printing World as it led me to my beloved beauty industry, but I do know more about printing than any 20-something woman should! A particular low point was visiting a paper mill – my team neglected to tell me that the majority of flooring in a mill is metal grating, so imagine my joy when I turned up in heels. It took me about two hours longer than it should have to get around that mill. I don’t think I’ll ever need to go to another one!!
 

If you weren’t a beauty journalist, what would you be?
Apart from beauty my other major passion is literature, so I’d love to work in book publishing. I imagine that identifying a book you know will be a success then being part of that journey from concept to best-seller would be hugely exciting.

Who inspires you?
So many people – beauty-wise, people like George Hammer [and Marcia Kilgore who have created not just one but several hugely successful brands. I am increasingly looking to bloggers to find out about new products and am always impressed when I meet bloggers like Fleur de Force who are making a living out of their passion, or British Beauty Blogger from whose blog I always learn about something new. I am also inspired by luxury magazines – Tatler and Harrods’ customer magazine are a joy to behold because every page just looks exquisite. But anyone I meet who has started a successful business doing something they love is an inspiration.

"Your reader needs to trust what you write, otherwise you’re of no use to them and your magazine will fail"
What’s the best piece of advice you have received in your career?
Don’t write about anything that you don’t understand – something that was particularly important in my old job when I was a 22 year old girl writing articles about high tech printing presses that were being read by those who had worked as printers for 20 or 30 years! Your reader needs to trust what you write otherwise you’re of no use to them and your magazine will fail. Sometimes when you’re particularly busy it’s tempting to just blindly copy press releases or quotes without really getting to grips with how a product claims to work or what someone is actually saying, but if you get something wrong or someone challenges what you write then you lose credibility.

Anything else you would like to add?
Beauty journalism can be quite intimidating when you first step into that world, because it’s actually very small and most people – particularly consumer journalists – tend to already know each other. However it’s one of the friendliest industries I’ve known so if you find yourself feeling a bit intimidated, stick with it – and just walk up to people and introduce yourself. The majority of journalists, PRs and brands are lovely and you know that you’ve got a love of beauty in common if nothing else!

Visit www.purebeauty.co.uk

Monday, 14 February 2011

An interview with… Jane Cunningham, freelance beauty journalist and British Beauty Blogger

Years in industry – 10

Jane Cunningham is a freelance beauty journalist with her finger on the pulse of what is launching in the industry and when. Many people will also know Jane as British Beauty Blogger – her no-nonsense blog which gives her honest and open view of beauty products and the beauty industry. Jane talks to Your Beauty Industry about the challenges of freelance journalism, how to create a successful blog and gives her tops tips on how to have a successful freelance career.


Tell me a bit about your career background
I had my children when I was quite young so wanted something to do when they went to school. I enrolled in an adult education course on An Introduction to Journalism and just kind of discovered I could write. I then moved to doing ‘work experience’ at a parenting magazine after they commissioned one of my features, but left after a few months. It gave me a springboard however, and the confidence to start pitching ideas to newspapers and magazines.

What is a typical day like for you?
There is no typical day, but without fail every morning I walk my dogs! Thereafter, who knows what will happen! Some days it is just a question of getting onto the laptop and keeping my head down until all the writing is done, other days I’m in London at launches or meeting PRs. I also give presentations to brands and agencies on how to work best with bloggers although I’d say now there really are no rules.

“Any freelance will tell you that the Holy Grail is having a regular gig on a publication”

What are the advantages of being freelance? 
When my children were younger it allowed me to work without having to resort to regular childcare – school holidays were a nightmare, but we managed. I love not being tied to any one publication, although any freelance will tell you that the Holy Grail is having a regular gig on a publication. I mainly prefer to work online now, but my one print commitment is Metro, for which I compile a double page fashion spread called Style Extra. Occasionally they allow me to make it a beauty page! Being freelance also means that I can work in an unstructured way, which I prefer, and of course, I never have to be on the coffee run!

And the disadvantages?
I suppose mainly that I work on my own a lot. I do a lot of work with BeautyandtheDirt.com and feel like one of the team there, as I am in contact with several times a week and they’re kind enough to include me in things like Christmas celebrations, so that’s lovely. But, it’s easy to end up feeling very cut off from a work team. The other disadvantage of working from home is you never close the front door on the mess like you can when you leave for the office and also that friends and family think because you are at home you must be ‘available’.

What do you like most about the beauty industry?

That there is a constant stream of new products and innovations. It’s almost daily.

What would your top tips be for anyone wanting to be a freelance journalist?
These days it is harder and harder to make a living through freelance work. You have to be super flexible (for example, I’ve written packaging, newletters, press releases and a truly tedious book or two that aren’t at the sharp end of journalism but have paid the bills) and despite current advice never to send features in on spec, it is how I got many of my jobs initially, and particularly my first one.

How does blogging differ to journalism?
I am my own editor so I have nobody’s reputation to consider but my own. When you write for a publication, you have to abide by their rules and write to a certain style, but on a blog, you are far freer. I also don’t run spell checks or stick rigidly to correct grammar – I just write as I think and hope it flows out as though I was talking out loud sometimes.

How did you make your blog so successful?
Well, it’s a cheesy answer but happens to be true – it isn’t me that made it successful, it is the people who chose to read it. I had no idea that it would grow to the size it is now, but I think getting in right as the trend was about to hit the UK was a good move.

“It’s vital to be on Twitter if you have a blog so that you can let people know when you have posted”

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a beauty blog?
Go for it! Everyone should have blog, but don’t try and run before you can walk. Opt for a slow but steady reader increase and don’t be disheartened if it isn’t going as quickly as you would hope. There are so many blogs now vying for attention that it takes time to be discovered. It’s also vital to be on Twitter if you have a blog so that you can let people know when you’ve posted. Always run a stats-tracker such as Google Analytics to keep track of your progress and be a mindful blogger – post comments on other people’s blog that are thoughtful and interesting – then they’ll want to check out more of what you have to say.

What advice would you give to brands approaching you to be featured on your blog? 
Don’t send me your SEO team pretending to offer ‘content’ for my readers when I know it’s an ad, the SEOs know it’s an ad and the brand knows it’s an ad. We just don’t fall for that any more.

Who inspires you?
In my real life, my friend Krista Madden, who runs Handpicked Media, a blogger collective; another friend Lynnette Peck-Bateman, an amazing beauty journalist and on-line, I look up to DisneyRollerGirl and LibertyLondonGirl because they are so on it when it comes to Social Media and blogging. Navaz at DisneyRollerGirl is an empathetic blogger who is thoughtful and kind as well as being an amazing fashion blogger, and Sasha at LibertyLondonGirl is just, well, unstoppable and indomitable. I don’t have celebrity influencers… I wouldn’t (and don’t) recognize most of them if I fell over them.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received in your career?
This is going to sound terrible but when I was first starting out, a male friend said (in a boy’s way to help boost my confidence I think) ‘Just go for it; people will read any old crap!’ It totally took the pressure off me feeling I had to be perfect all the time and gave me a complete mind-switch – not to write crap, obviously, but more to feel the stuff I was writing was good enough. That was over ten years ago and I still thank him when I see him!


Visit Jane at http://www.britishbeautyblogger.com.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The bigger picture

The aim of this blog is to inspire you in your beauty career, but for my first post let's consider the bigger picture, shall we?

I'm a big one for living life to the full. I don't mean that I have a list of 10 New Things to do Every Day (there's a lot to be said for losing an afternoon with your nose in a magazine), and I certainly don't mean that I am never in a bad mood - my boyfriend will vouch for that one.

No, I'm talking about not wishing your life away; not waiting impatiently for the weekend as soon as you wake up on Monday morning, not willing it to be 2012 because 2011 isn’t turning out quite the way you had hoped for so far (it’s only February after all, so you’ve got a long wait) – you get my drift.

If you are always wishing your life away, think about this – where are you so impatient to get to? Death? No, I thought not, but if every stage of your life isn’t good enough for you, when you do end up knocking on those Golden Gates you’ll find yourself turning around and saying "wow, I wish I hadn’t spent so freakin’ long being unhappy".
  
You shouldn’t spend your life hating your job when let’s face it, your job takes up so much of your life. The majority of people work 9am-5pm, 5 days a week. That’s 2,080 hours a year (give or take a holiday or two). That’s a whole lotta time to spend hating something.

If you don’t like something; change it. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you, because they won’t. Don’t say you can’t, because you can. It’s a cliché but you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

But while it’s important to strive for your goals, remember also to enjoy the journey and enjoy the here and now – take a moment to realize all that you do have, rather than fretting about all that you don’t have. Because some of the things you have now were the things you yearned for in the past – and now you have it, so give yourself a pat on the back and feel very pleased with yourself.

No matter how long we all have on this earth, make sure you can turn around at any point and say "I’ve had an absolute ball".