Marie Claire, Liz Earle and 'Inspire and Mentor'

Today I was excited to head to a talk from Liz Earle, entitled 'How to get into beauty', which had been organised by Marie Claire. This talk was part of their new 'Inspire and Mentor' programme.

'Inspire and Mentor' is now in its second year and this year involves 17 of the most influencial women in Britain from business. You could apply to be mentored by one of them through the Marie Claire website.

As you can see, I never dress to fade into the crowd! I wore my new vintage 1950 prom dress.

  

I had hoped to live tweet the event, but as we were in the basement of a hotel, I had no reception!

It started off with an half hour prosecco reception. I felt that this could have had some sort of structure to it. We weren't sure how long we'd be in the reception room, and we weren't sure what we were meant to be doing. I'm happy chatting away, but it could have been given a purpose, or we could have been told how long we'd be there. Perhaps a missed opportunity.

We then went through to the lecture room. Being a keen little bunny I went straight to the front row. Liz Earle was interviewed by Helen Russell, the online editor of Marie Claire. Have to say Helen did a great job!

Liz looked great. She must feel a pressure to look awesome, as people must judge her skin all the time. I feel a similar pressure always to have great lips!

Liz Earle Skincare was founded in 1995, and they recently sold to Avon. Liz talked us through that journey, starting from her eczema issues, pairing up with a friend, selling through mail order (closely followed by QVC) and spending 6 years developing her first shampoo.

Liz gave 5 top tips:

  • Know your subject - Liz's background is research, and she is passionate about oil and beauty coming from the inside (and what we put into our bodies, as well as what we put onto it). She knew what ingredients she wanted in her products (and the ones she didn't!). She knew what she wanted Liz Earle products to be.
  • Crawl, Walk, Run - I particularly liked a quote that Liz gave from her partner Kim, ''If it has to be now, it has to be no''. They don't rush a decision or product. They grew organicaly (ironically perhaps!).
  • Stick to your principles - Liz Earle seems to have a clear business focus, and works on strong relationships, with suppliers, customers and staff.
  • Keep on top of stress - Liz said she was quite an 'even' person, but often used breathing as a stress strategy. As well as breathing, she prioritises sleep!
  • The customer is king - The products are still handwrapped in tissue, and they work on delivering outstanding products that exceed expectations.

Liz is a mother, a business woman and seemingly an activist too. She is passionate about her business, and the impact that her choices make on the world.

She talked about how she balances having young children with running her business, why they sold to Avon, the challenges of working with natural (and sometimes unusual) ingredients.

There was time for questions, and I got in there with mine!

I felt it was a little short, it was advertised as being 6:30pm-8:30pm - we had a drinks reception till 7pm, and I was out at 8:10pm. I would have been curious to know more about the other guests - it definitely could have had a little more of a networking focus.

We got a Marie Claire goody bag - complete with some awesome Liz Earle products. I use Liz Earle, and have done for years, so getting a full size Cleanse and Polish, a full size Moisturiser and a full size Skin Tonic is perfect! I already own all of those things, so they will get used!

In a nice little ironic twist, when I came back to street level, and checked Twitter, I had an awesome little DM from a follower, saying I had inspired them today, without me even realising. I asked how, and she explained that she had realised her business plan wasn't as original/unique as she had hoped. But she said that when she realised I was taking on Rimmel, she thought why couldn't she take on a competitor too. Made me break into a big grin. Turns out we can all inspire people, no matter where we are on our journey.

I have since returned to another Inspire and Mentor session, with Thea Green, founder of Nails Inc