1. What has been your proudest career moment?
Aside from the obvious (the MBE which I got for services to the cosmetics industry in 2007 and the OBE this year for services to hair and beauty), I think there is a moment in every career choice I have made that I could call my proudest moment, it’s hard to pin it down really. From being sent to Japan with Mr Shu Uemura in the 80s, to launching Aveda & Tweezerman in the UK, to opening the first beauty concession in Space NK in the ‘90s, to launching Ruby & Millie and of course the past 3 years of the British Beauty Council. But overall pride for me comes from seeing our industry thrive, and well-executed collaboration with my colleagues is always something that makes me proud.
2. Who has been/is your biggest mentor?
These questions are hard!!! My first mentor was Mr Shu Uemura, he took me under his wing and allowed me to fly. He was amazing creator, compassionate and clever.
3. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?
Shut up and listen!
4. Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?
I have done a lot of different jobs in our industry, but I didn’t really train to do any of them, although I did take my USA state license exam in cosmetology. The jobs I had that I was best at were mostly public facing and I think sometimes you just have a gift when you are in sales or communications. I often say that a job in retail goes a long way to learning skills required for many careers in our sector. I would probably suggest looking at colleges like London College of Fashion, SolentUniversity for communications, cosmetic science or make up artistry or starting as an apprentice if in hair or beauty. Checking with Habia and BABTAC would be my suggestion for FE colleges.
5. How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?
Research is critical, read, just read a lot. Whether that’s online, on social channels, or magazines, books etc. Know your area inside and out and its history. I have a low tolerance for ignorance, and I think it’s your duty to know your stuff.
6. If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?
Have broad shoulders, don’t take stuff personally, love what you do and people will love it too.
7. What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?
I have the best job in the world and get to work with the greatest people, the hours are pretty hard.
8. How do you switch off after a difficult day?
I don’t. How do you that?
9. Desert island 3 course meal?
Steak Tartar, Chicken Schnitzel, Banoffie Pie.
10. Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?
Helen Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden, Charles Revson, Estée Lauder and my Grandma.
Photo credit - Liz Collins
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