Life & Work

“One of the most influential make-up artists of her time”. A quote from Vogue Paris – and one which is like to continue to follow Ellis Faas around for some time yet. From London and Paris to Amsterdam, the Dutch make-up artist – and founder of eponymous beauty brand – is what you might call a living legend. Name-dropping – from Inez van Lamsweerde and Mario Testino, to Fendi, Chanel, Armani and any other fashion label you’d care to name, Faas has worked with them. The logical next step? Founding her own beauty brand back in 2009.

ELLIS FAAS beauty products are “only tested on supermodels,” and inspired by a natural colour palette: “the colours that exist naturally in our bodies are complex and rich, but they’re also universal, shared by each and every one of us.” The result? Beautifully wearable, flattering colours designed to complement all skin tones – making you the very best version of you, whatever your age, ethnicity or style. The brand’s Make Up Not War campaign regularly raises both money and awareness for War Child: “We can’t just look into the mirror and hide behind our make up,” explains Faas. A living legend, a modern heroine – here’s what makes Ellis Faas tick.

Motivation for me is all about…

The need to build or create something. Whether it is making a new product, taking a picture, doing make up, building a house, planting a garden; the urge to make something is the motivation.

Success means…

Being able to do what you love every day.

I couldn’t have got there without…

The trust and support from my parents when I was young. And my brother and business partner Thijs; we fill each other’s gaps.

I always start my day with…

Lemon water and yin yoga.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

I try to turn off my mind and let my hands do the work. Sometimes it works wonders, sometimes it is rubbish. In all parts of life I guess it is the best way to just start doing things without worrying too much about inspiration or the outcome.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

I have no idea – my business is my business and I can not compare. I never think twice about the fact that I am a woman. I don’t think it should make a difference, and I guess that if I start segregating myself as a woman, so will other people.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Not taking responsibility for one’s own actions or for the situation. Blaming others without thinking about one’s own behaviour.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Being unconventional and being humane.

What makes me happiest is…

To see my loved ones laughing.

Can I run in heels?

I guess so…. I never run. Walking is fine though!

For more information on ELLIS FAAS, see the brand’s website. You can also follow ELLIS FAAS on Instagram, or see the latest news on Facebook or Twitter.

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Life & Work

Not one but two successful beauty brands. Countless celebrity fans. Award-winning makeup and skincare products. Since Maria Hatzistefanis launched Rodial back in 1999, her company has gone from strength to strength – so publishing a book entitled How To Be An Overnight Success? “I always turn to stories of strong, successful women and I am inspired by their journeys, so I would like to try to inspire you too – show you the way and share with you how I overcame obstacles and challenges,” explains Hatzistefanis.

She’s achieved many things – but overnight success? No – it’s taken 18 years. As Hatzistefanis explains over the course of How To Be An Overnight Successit’s taken hard work, determination and a lot of grit and self-belief. “Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the journey” suggests the beauty entrepreneur in her book’s introduction. And as she tells her stories and dispenses advice on everything from the work-life balance, hiring staff and taking risks to Instagram, collaborations and creating a personal brand, it sounds like Hatzistefanis has become the consummate traveller. Instant #inspo guaranteed.

Success means…

Being able to achieve the ‘here and now goals’, and setting new ones for the future. Being able to look back and see how you have succeeded is very fulfilling. I look back at when I first created Rodial and I realise how far I have come, but I still have so far to go!

Motivation for me is all about…

Waking up every day focused to achieve the impossible!

Success means…

Being able to achieve the ‘here and now goals’, and setting new ones for the future. Being able to look back and see how you have succeeded is very fulfilling. I look back at when I first created Rodial and I realise how far I have come, but I still have so far to go!

I couldn’t have got there without…

People. Whether that be my family, or my team or my customers. Without people to inspire you, motivate you or help you can’t get anywhere.

I always start my day with…

An espresso and normally an exercise class. I like to wake up early and get a jump start on the day while everyone is still sleeping. I also like to meditate in the morning, I use the app Headspace which helps to relax my find for the day ahead.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Check Instagram. I get so much inspiration from Instagram and it is my go-to for new ideas. I am really inspired by fashion so checking out fashion bloggers always gets me feeling creative. I also check out any questions that my account @mrsrodial has received, I like to answer everyone and read feedback, which is really inspiring.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

A world of opportunity. I feel that in this day and age, women are out there being leaders in business – there is nothing we can’t do.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Laziness. I always surround myself with people that are ambitious and go the extra mile, so I cannot stand people that just do the bare minimum and can’t be bothered to work hard.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Empowering women through my journey of creating Rodial and NIP+FAB and through my book How to be an Overnight Success.

What makes me happiest is…

Watching Rodial grow and establishing new achievements from new counters, new bestselling products, more celebrity fans. I put so much work into my brand and there no better feeling then watching your business grow.

Can I run in heels?

As long as they are Prada!

How To Be An Overnight Success: Making It In Business by Maria Hatzistefanis is published by Virgin Books and available to buy online here.

Startup Star

From a career in corporate HR to founding a successful food brand might not seem like the most natural transition, but two years after launching Raw Halo, Meg Haggar certainly hasn’t looked back. Stockists including Harrods and Planet Organic, a dedicated social following and absolutely smashing a round of crowdfunding – the days when Raw Halo’s founder was making chocolate at home in West London must seem like centuries ago! Organic, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, the brand’s delicious – and award-winning raw chocolate offers a healthier alternative to everyone’s favourite sweet treat – it’s made with coconut sugar, nut butters and antioxidant-rich raw cacao. Hell, it’s almost good for you! Here’s to be a true startup star…

Why did you launch your own business?

Whilst I loved my career in HR, and since university that’s all I had hoped for, I started to realise it didn’t fulfill me on a creative level – something so important for me personally. The idea of launching my own business gave me a real sense of excitement. Before launching my business I’d completely given up refined sugar, which meant I really struggled to find chocolate that tasted nice but without sugar. After experimenting in my kitchen at home I quickly realised it was possible to make healthier chocolate that tasted great, using coconut sugar. It’s at that point I launched Raw Halo and I’ve never really looked back.

Who helped you out?

In researching other startup brands in the food and drink sector, it seemed almost all founders had an advisor or mentor, and whilst this may have benefited me, I just didn’t end up meeting a specific person who I felt would add huge value to the business. So the main support I received in the beginning was from my family, friends, and of course other brand owners who became close friends. It was in the second year of the business when my partner Jonathan joined Raw Halo, and that enabled us to grow the business further by relocating back to Derbyshire and setting up a micro factory.

Best business advice you’ve been given along the way ?

Whilst not strictly business advice, it’s definitely something I apply – and that’s persistence. My mum drove that into me from a young age. If there’s something you want, somewhere you’re trying to get to, don’t give up. This has been such an important piece of advice and it’d be the same thing I’d tell any new start-up founder. With Raw Halo initially I hit many closed doors, but the key was to keep on knocking.

What problems have you faced along the way?

A successful business will certainly face many problems along the way. I try to view them as hurdles, which can be overcome, and it’s a certainty that more will be waiting around the next corner. The majority of hurdles in the first couple of years of the business were around production, in that scaling from a few hundred bars to 20,000 per month was a huge challenge. To scale up so quickly required investment, and that’s where we turned to crowdfunding to help take the business to the next level. We found great success there, and that’s massively changed the business from an operations perspective.

How do you feel about women in business today?

There are so many amazing women who are disrupting many traditionally male-dominated sectors, and that has to be hugely positive for the next generation especially. When I look around at the food and drink industry in particular, there are as many inspiring women as men running hugely successful brands, so I hope that inspires the next wave of women thinking about launching their own businesses.

Favourite startups?

Some of my favourite startups include Too Wordy, run by the talented Maeve Brooks. She creates the most delightful greetings card and prints, so much so her business is growing very quickly. I also love a brand called Lani who produce natural and vegan friendly beauty products in the most beautiful packaging.

Tell us about your work life balance?

My work life balance is much closer to ideal than it has been over the past few years. Since we outsourced our production earlier this year, I’ve been able to take back control and make a more conscious effort to take me-time. Most importantly I’m able to run the business in the hours that most make sense to me, so that might be working at weekends and evenings if I’m busy during the week. Sometimes it feels like I’m on a different time zone, but luckily my partner works similar hours so generally works.

What do you do to relax/when you’re stressed?

I always turn to yoga when in need of some relaxation. When in London I’m a regular at Fierce Grace (I love their classes), so I enjoy getting in some practice at home. Other than that I’m definitely guilty of turning to our Pure Dark bars in times of need!

What are you proudest of and why?

The proudest moment was to see Raw Halo becoming stocked in Whole Foods Market. Visiting their flagship store on Kensington High Street was my absolute favourite weekend activity and to see a huge display of our chocolate bars in there during my last visit was a true highlight. Certainly a reminder that all of the hard work and effort is worthwhile.

Can you run in heels?

Definitely, there might be the odd stumble here or there, but I’ll always pick myself up again!

Raw Halo is available to buy online at You can also follow the brand on Instagram @RawHalo, catch up with Raw Halo on Facebook and see the latest news on Twitter

Careers: The Little Black Book

There are times in your careeer when you’d really like some advice. Or perhaps some #inspo. Probably not Sheryl Sandberg Lean In level (because that’s not really where most of us are in our professional life RN) or even Arianna Huffington’s Thrive. What you need is advice from someone you can relate to – and that’s where Otegha Uwagba’s Little Black Book comes in. The founder of Women Who – a platform and organisation for creative working women, Uwagba’s brand new book is a concise 100-page compendium of inspiring advice on everything from productivity to public speaking, business skills to branding.

It’s a must-read guide you’ll come back to again and again, teeming with tips, #inspo and career insights, as well as advice from female entrepreneurs, writers, creatives, consultants and journalists – there’ll be more than one name you recognise here. And – of course – there’s an inspiring quote or two to open each chapter, namechecking Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and Simone de Beauvoir to name but a few. Little Black Book is an indispensable, genuinely relatable careers guide for women today, so we’re delighted to share some of Otegha Uwagba’s own tips for life and work…

Top productivity tip?

Remember that working non-stop doesn’t necessarily equate to you getting more done, because your brain (or at least my brain!) simply can’t function at peak performance for hours on end. Be sure to break up your days with frequent breaks to allow your brain to rest and recharge – try working for a 90 minute burst followed by a 30 minute break. I find that structure works really well for me, and the fact that my next break is never more than 90 minutes away keeps me really motivated.

The maxim you live by?

Work hard and be nice to people. It’s such a standard and frequently repeated piece of advice that it’s become something of a cliché, but following those two basic principles – whatever line of work you’re in– will always serve you well.

How to keep body and mind on track?

Learn to protect your time. Learn when to say no. Don’t stretch yourself too thin in an attempt to accommodate everyone else’s needs, at the expense of your own energy, happiness and sanity.

Personal branding – brilliant or BS?

Brilliant. Building a strong personal brand can really turbo-charge your career, but I think people tend to shy away from the term because it sounds so corporate and buzzword-y. Your personal brand is essentially a measure of how you’re perceived by others in a professional context, nothing more complicated than that.

Top networking tip?

Introduce yourself to people at events, and at work – don’t wait for people to approach you, because chances are you’ll be waiting forever!

How to get a work/life balance?

As much as possible, try to ignore emails during the evenings and at weekends. We live in an ‘always-on’ culture where people are expected to be available at all times of the day, and it’s incredibly unhealthy and detrimental to your sense of self. It’s a small step, but once you commit to it, you’ll soon realise how much more relaxed you feel in general.

The best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Not everyone’s gonna clap for yo”. This one’s a quote from my mum: one of the wisest women I know. Whether it’s a failed job interview or a rejected pitch – if you do creative work, you’re going to hear ‘no’ a lot. Not everyone’s going to like, appreciate, or be into whatever it is you’re doing. And that’s okay – rejection or disinterest, in all of their frustrating and disappointing guises, are things all creative people have to deal with, no matter how successful they are. The important thing is not to dwell on that for too long (or to take it too personally), and to focus on reaching the people who are into what you’re doing. They’re out there.

Any advice on boosting skills/professional development?

I love listening to podcasts, I think they’re a fantastic way of picking up new knowledge and learning about the world around you. I feel like they keep me really plugged in culturally too.

Top freelance tip?

Get an accountant – it’s money well spent, will save you time, and generally just make your life a whole lot easier.

How to negotiate that pay rise?

Steer clear of emotional language such as ‘I need’ or ‘I want’ – instead, frame your request as a business case, presenting tangible successes and wins you’ve had over recent months, so that there’s no doubt as to whether or not you deserve that extra cash!

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba is published by 4th Estate.

The Power of Self-Awareness

Do you understand who you really are? Or how others really see you? We all know people with a stunning lack of self-awareness – but how often do we consider whether we might have the same problem? Research shows that self-awareness is the meta-skill of the 21st century – the foundation for high performance, smart choices, and lasting relationships. Unfortunately, we are remarkably poor judges of ourselves and how we come across, and it’s rare to get candid, objective feedback from colleagues, employees, and even friends and family. Psychologist, researcher and bestselling author Dr Tasha Eurich shares tips from her latest book – Insight – on how to improve your self-awareness, along with your career, relationships and more…

Why insight matters

People who possess self-awareness – that is, who know themselves and how others see them – make smarter decisions, build stronger relationships, enjoy more successful careers, feel more self-confidence and acceptance, and live happier lives. Insight is therefore a noble goal, and many people try to gain it through introspection – that is, digging into our deepest thoughts, motives, and emotions. But rather shockingly, research (mine and others’) has shown that the act of thinking about ourselves very often doesn’t result in knowing ourselves. The good news is that introspection can be effective—it’s just that so many people are doing it incorrectly! Below, I’ll bust a few myths of introspection, and show how approaching it a bit differently can have a powerful payoff.

Be intentional about how you journal

Though it’s often seen as one of the most effective ways to get in touch with our inner selves, a growing body of research suggests that introspection via journaling has some surprising traps that can suck the insight right out of the experience. Though there are a lot of nuances to this, let me share a few key takeaways. First, we shouldn’t use journaling as a method to discharge our negative emotions – instead, we should look at both our feelings and the facts of a situation – for example, we might describe what happened, or how other people viewing the situation might have seen it. Those who learn the most from journaling find new ways to view their negative experiences, leading to growth and change. Second, and though this may be surprising, we should write less to learn more. Writing every few days or only when you are trying to make an important decision has been shown to be more effective than writing every day.

Don’t get stuck in an endless loop of self-scrutiny

Though rumination is the enemy of introspection, almost everyone does it. We might endlessly replay a conversation in our minds or beat ourselves up about something we did (or didn’t do). In addition to being a mental hell, rumination is also a barrier to insight. But it can be squashed with the right approach. Let’s say you’re beating yourself up about a recent mistake. One way to move past it is to remember that other people don’t generally care about our mistakes as much as we do. Ask, If someone I knew did the same thing – would I even be thinking about it now? Another approach is to adopt a learning mindset—instead of focusing on the mistake itself, focus on what you learned. But if you really can’t stop ruminating, you can use a tool I call “hitting pause” – find a distraction that will give you a fast, positive reward, like cleaning, seeing friends, or exercising. Getting some distance very often makes things feel much less upsetting and much more manageable.

Practice non-meditative mindfulness

When we get in the habit of mindfully noticing new things in ourselves or our world, it dramatically improves our self-knowledge. Try to look at circumstances, behaviours, and relationships from a different angle, both the good and the bad. You might ask yourself what opportunities you can find in a difficult situation, or how your weaknesses might be reframed as strengths. You can use this same technique to gain valuable insight by reframing your experiences from a more objective angle. For example, if you and your partner are having a disagreement, take a moment to mentally step outside of yourself to “watch” what’s going on – instead of being an angry spouse, for example, become an detached observer.

Don’t stop using social media – just use it differently

Researchers have discovered that people who use social media generally fall into one of two categories: 80% are so-called ‘Meformers,’ who like to post messages that are all about telling everyone what’s going on in their lives. The remaining 20% are ‘Informers’ who tend to have more friends and enjoy richer, more satisfying interactions. They use social media as a way to truly engage and stay connected with others – their goals are to inform, entertain and inspire rather that to rack up ‘likes’. They might post an article they found interesting, an amusing observation, or a funny or informative video. To move from Meformer to Informer, when you are about to post something, ask What am I hoping to accomplish by doing this? Then, ask Is this action about me or about others?

Seek and hear feedback

Psychologists have found that generally, other people see us more objectively than we see ourselves. They can also anticipate our future behaviour better than we can (a fact to which you can attest if you’ve ever met a friend’s new, obviously ill-suited love interest and correctly predicted that the relationship wouldn’t last). Even strangers have been found to see us disconcertingly accurately. It takes courage to consider that other people might see us differently than we see ourselves, and to actively seek out that information. It might feel intimidating or terrifying, but the insight we gain is well worth it. Seeing ourselves from multiple angles—that is, examining our own perspectives and comparing them with how others see us – gives us more context, more information about how we can improve, and more control over our destiny.

Ask What, not Why

Asking why we do things creates a negative impact and permits us to justify or rationalise bad behaviour. It also reduces the quality of our decisions as we invent reasons that confirm our existing beliefs. To better understand our true thoughts and emotions, we need to stop asking “why” and start asking “what.” Asking “what” questions keeps us open to discovering more information about ourselves and moving ahead in a productive way. What’s going on? What am I feeling? What is the dialogue inside my head? What’s another way to see this situation? What can I do to respond better? Making the transition from “why” to “what” can indeed be the difference between victimhood and growth.

Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World by Tasha Eurich is published by Pan Macmillan, priced £18.99. Insight is available to buy online here.

Why Write?

When Virago Press was founded forty-some years ago, its principal aim was revolutionary: to publish books by women. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t actually all that game-changing, but Carmen Callil’s publishing house was the first to take on this apparently impenetrable mission. And the meaning of Virago? A heroic war-like woman. Almost half a decade later, another mythical female figure has stepped into the spotlight: Salomé. Another powerful female figure championing women and their writing. Salomé is an online literary magazine for emerging female writers.

Perhaps you’ve previously scribbled a few poetic musings down on the back of an envelope. Or thought that one day – one day – you’d finally write that novel. Maybe you’ve even submitted work to a literary journal, or written a birthday limerick, or penned a eulogy so perfectly, perfectly composed that it really ought to be published. But maybe you’ve never ventured into writing – although the thought has crossed your mind, albeit fleetingly. So why should you write? Here, Salomé‘s founder shares her essential tips on what it means to write – and why you definitely should!

I want to start writing, where should I start?

I think the best place is to write whatever comes into your head. There’s a journalist I love, Ann Friedman, who really recommends this for getting over writers block. Yes, some of it might be complete rubbish, but most of the time you’re writing in your style about anything that pops into your head – it might give you some inspiration.

How often should I write?

I – along with many others – am an alumnus of Write Like A Grrrl: creative writing workshops for women which are hosted across the UK. Write Like A Grrrl founder and tutor Kerry Ryan teaches something called a Brief Daily Session (BDS). The advice here is to write for about 20 minutes a day (and not more than about an hour), but to make sure that you do it every day. That way you get into good habits and become used to writing all the time. BDS takes off the pressure of giving yourself a deadline and invariably leaving it all to the last day and having to make yourself not procrastinate. I know people who have written whole novels through BDS – it might have taken them six months, rather than three, but it is a much more productive way of doing it.

What about getting others’ opinions?

Submit your writing to Salomé! We give everyone who submits – regardless of whether we publish them or not – feedback. And that means about a page of the stuff. So just submit to us – it’s free, you could get paid if published and you’ll get feedback. There’s nothing to lose, only to gain!

How is writing fiction different from writing a blog?

I’m not sure it is. It’s still a creative process. The writing process is the same, though you might edit it more if you’re trying to get a novel published. What is different, though, is the immediacy of release and consumption. The thing I love about a blog is you can splurge your thoughts onto the computer, send it out into the world and have people read it there and then. For me, it’s a much more rough and ready process. I have a piece of flash fiction (it’s only 800 words) that I wrote in February this year and I’m still tweaking it.

How should I find inspiration for writing?

Inspiration? I struggle. I always try and think of new topics to write about but I always come back to the same one: mental health. It’s because I have my own very profound experiences with it. I was thinking about this today on the way back from the gym actually; why I can’t find anything else I write about well enough, in my opinion at least. Is it because I don’t have the depth of experience needed to really connect with a writing subject? Or is it just that the depth of my experiences of mental health outstrips everything else to the point that my writing on mental health blows everything else out of the water. I’m not sure. You can’t create inspiration. You just have to wait. Doing new things, meeting new people, giving different writing topics a go, can all help though I think.

What’s different about ‘female’ writing?

I can’t say in general, but from what I’ve noticed from Salomé submissions after just one issue, is a pervading sense of melancholy. I’d be interested to do a “happy” themed issue one day and see if the writing is any happier. I’m half-expecting lots of the pieces to be about a loss of, or the pursuit of, happiness though!

Why share my writing?

You don’t have to. Really. But why not? I used to write for me. I still do, but the sense of satisfaction I get from knowing others are reading the words I poured my heart and soul into is greater than it might be otherwise.

Jacquelyn is the Founder & CEO of Salomé, the literary magazine for emerging female writers. We give anyone who identifies as female the platform, confidence and experience to get their work published in an industry that favours and publishes male writing more. You can follow Salomé on Instagram @salome_lit and find them on Twitter with the same handle.

Life & Work

Having met Katia Beauchamp in person, it’s hard not to open this feature with a gushing, celebrity interview-style intro. Fresh off the plane from New York, mother to two young boys and head of a wildly successful international company, signs of tiredness would be understandable. But no, when we met 30-something co-founder of Birchbox, she was glowing, infectiously passionate about her business and undeniably charming, flashing an all-American smile at every turn. Her professional background? A degree in International Studies & Economics, plus an MBA from Harvard led Beauchamp to a successful career in finance and real estate. Pretty good going you’re thinking.

2010 saw the launch of Birchbox – effectively a true disruptor in the beauty industry and a business format that has subsequently been copied the world over. Fast forward to 2017, and Birchbox has 1 million subscribers and 4 million total customers worldwide, as well as stores in the US and France. Beauchamp has garnered awards too numerous to mention here – and even (squeal!) appeared on Project Runway. Celebrating 100,000 subscribers in the UK – we asked Beauchamp about just what makes her tick – instant inspiration guaranteed.

Motivation for me is all about…

I’m motivated by the size of the opportunity to change the way women discover beauty. The majority of women don’t enjoy the process of researching and shopping for new products – they just want it to be easy. And Birchbox is uniquely able to reach those women and deliver a fun, efficient experience that effectively changes their relationship with the category. We’re just getting started.

I’m also extremely motivated to build an army of strong female leaders who feel empowered to be ambitious and advocate for what they need to be successful. I want women to feel comfortable asking their employer for whatever it is that they need – whether that’s more resources, a higher salary, development opportunities, flexibility in their schedule or mentorship.

Success means…

I want to change the paradigm of what success means. It’s not just about working incredibly hard until retirement, but rather building a mutually beneficial relationship with your employer so your needs and demands are met too. I want to scale the idea that a having a job can be truly fulfilling and gratifying. That would be a win.

I couldn’t have got there without…

My team at Birchbox. I am truly grateful for the passion, time and hard work they dedicate to Birchbox every day.

I always start my day with…

I wake up to the sound of my twin boys, Alec and Guy, talking and singing to each other in the next room. I go get them and we watch the Today Show together on the couch (they are obsessed with Al Roker!). Then I make them breakfast while my husband Greg makes us coffee. I check my phone for any important texts when I first wake up, but I don’t look at email until after I’ve spent time with my kids.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Take a break and spend time with my family! Seeing the kids and my husband refuels me. Their dancing and silliness is so fun, it just grounds you. Before I had kids it was impossible for me to turn my brain off from work. However now I realize how beneficial it can be to disconnect – I’m able to add so much more value. Inspiration doesn’t come when you are not feeling balanced.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

There has been so much progress but there is still a real opportunity to change the status quo. Female leaders have a responsibility to set examples that allow other women to learn from and build upon. Diversity in leadership is clearly positive for society – men and women think differently. Diversity creates an important balance that changes the potential solution to any problem or opportunity. Growth and change comes from challenging our own ideas and preconceptions. We need to challenge our thinking and create opportunities for female leaders.

It’s important for young women to first understand their own self-worth; that they are talented, deserving and can contribute even in the early days of their career. Ask smart questions, be humble yet demanding, and learn from every opportunity.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Lack of support for other women! The most important thing we can do is to support each other. We have to be comfortable coaching our peers. It takes practice, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes it may not go well, but it’s the most likely place women will turn to for help. We need to celebrate other women finding success. We are in this together!

I’d like to be remembered for…

I want Birchbox to be known for attracting and developing the most talented leaders in the world. To me, that means building a team that is responsible for the innovation and future of our company – a responsibility that goes far beyond executives. I’ve also learned to accept that those people may leave to pursue other things that advance their careers in a different way – whether that’s heading to business school or starting their own company. That’s a real signal of exceptional, quality leadership and something that I think about a lot.

What makes me happiest is…

Without a doubt it is spending time with my family

Can I run in heels?

I’m much more likely to be in flats than to be in a situation where I’d have to run in heels, but I could definitely do it – especially if I’m chasing after my kids.

For more information and to subscribe to Birchbox, see the company’s website.

Life & Work

Whether you’re looking at Katherine Ormerod’s impressive CV or her lively, always-updated Instagram, it’s pretty clear why she’s called her latest venture Work Work Work. An online platform dedicated to showcasing women – and their lives – working across creative industries including fashion, beauty, design and art, it’s an instant hit of #inspo, with a generous dose of honesty. An “anti-perfectionism project which aims to reveal and explore the non-edited challenges that women face behind the fantasy of social media”, you’ll find women sharing on everything from stress and suicide to money and motherhood – strictly no holds barred.

Despite stints at everywhere from Grazia and Lyst to the Sunday Times Style, Ormerod herself has faced more than a few challenges along the way. One thing is clear though, she’s always, always worked. The result? For someone in her thirties, Katherine Ormerod is one pretty inspiring lady, if only to prove that motivation and tenacity will always pay off in the end. Fashion and journalism are two industries which are notoriously poorly paid and hard to break into, but Ormerod has carved her own path, based on talent, drive and – guess what – work, work, work. We found out more about a name you’ll definitely want to keep watching…

Motivation for me is all about…

I’ve always been really driven. I think there is an element of sheer ambition-I came from a modest background and was a scholarship kid and knew that I really wanted to achieve something different in life. In my twenties that meant career success and positions at respected publications. In my thirties it has meant freedom and financial security.

Success means…

Self respect, confidence and inner security. For me success is about resilience and knowing you can 100% rely on yourself.

I couldn’t have got there without…

Rejection, failure and disappointment. All have made me steely but also empathetic. The more you understand the human condition, the better you become at engaging and inspiring people – I’ve been fortunate enough to experience lots of ups and downs, catastrophes and triumphs just like everyone else. Lessons in humility have definitely helped me get to where I am today.

I was given a chance early on in my career by the then fashion editor at the Sunday Times Style, Sharon Ridoynauth and was supported through the worst time in my life by the team at Grazia – without other women like them I wouldn’t have made it through those tough few years at the beginning of my career. My parents have also been so instrumental – mum with her unfailing sunny-side up attitude and my dad’s constant encouragement for me to live the life I want and not be, ‘just another grey suit,’ as he puts it.

I always start my day with…

A firm psychological mentality. I want so desperately to snooze, but I don’t. I always get up when I planned to unless I’m at death’s door – the rest of the day is always better if you’re strict with yourself first thing.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

I think the key to inspiration is doing a lot of things and having multiple ‘jobs’. I edit a website, shoot imagery, work with brands across all sorts of content and strategy, interview new people every week and still do bits and bobs for press. A lack of inspiration for me only happens when I’m underemployed – any easy or repetitive work kills me and I have to have enough to sustain me for at least eight hours a day. Life has to be pacey and dynamic or I can become very dejected very quickly. I think it goes back to success – being busy is actually something I need to feel successful.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

I’ve been incredibly sheltered my entire life from any form of gender prejudice or any idea that I couldn’t achieve whatever I wanted. I went to a selective all girls school on scholarship and financial aid from my dad’s company and our teachers were resolute feminists who believed they were moulding the next generation of industry leaders. My mum runs her own business and I’ve only worked in fashion which is so disproportionately female and bolshy you can struggle to imagine anything holding you back.

The past political year has obviously smashed my naivety apart and I can really see that women still have a huge way to go in business starting with maternity and childcare and ending in equal pay and far wider representation at the highest echelons. On the flipside, I really feel my generation of women in business are incredibly supportive, we share our struggles and feel a huge amount of common ground. It sounds trite, but the truth is we’re stronger together and the unity I’ve experienced during my career suggests women as a force in business will soon be unbeatable.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Selfishness and entitlement. You see it a lot in the fashion industry and it makes my toes curl. I do really believe in karma, so ultimately I feel sorry for people who don’t have the ability to respect others, but it still gets my goat! Be on time, apologise for your mistakes and do what you say you’re going to do. Courtesy and kindness should also come as standard.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Having something to say! It’s so easy to get lost in the visual side of fashion and social media, but I really want to encourage all women to stand for something – whatever it is, use your voice.

What makes me happiest is…

A completed to-do list. It’s currently something I fantasise about.

Can I run in heels?

I’m 5’4″- I could give Usain a run for his medals in my stilettos.

You can check out Work Work Work online here, and follow Katherine Ormerod on Instagram here.

Damaging Dating

For a single, twenty-something woman living in London, bad dates are a rite of passage. I’ve had my fair share of ‘colourful’ experiences; from the aspiring writer who insisted on recording our conversations into a notebook during our date, to the man who – within five minutes of arriving at the restaurant – was telling me about his time spent in prison for “threatening behaviour”. These stories, if my friends and I are a true representation of the dating scene, are par for the course, and provide excellent dinner party material – I make it a rule to arrive at any event armed with a minimum of three such stories to oil the wheels of conversation during the night.

I have a phone book full of names which conjure up a litany of sins – like the ‘Reverse Cinderella’: the guy who would only ever be available between the hours of midnight and 7am, or the man who I discovered reading through my diary when he stayed at my flat for the first time. My general attitude tends to lean towards the view that “there’s no such thing as bad dates, just good stories,” and I’ve enjoyed dining out on these tales many, many times.  There is, though, a more low-level type of  poor behaviour creeping into the norm – one which is eminently less worthy of dinner party tales. If 2016 was the year of ghosting – the sudden and unexplained cutting-off of contact by someone you’ve been dating – it looks as though 2017 lay claim to ‘breadcrumbing’.

For those of you not embroiled in the heady maelstrom that is dating in the digital age, this less-than-appetising behaviour is characterised by receiving sporadic contact – a text here, an Instagram ‘like’ there – from a potential partner, without it ever progressing into anything more meaningful. A real-life date may be loosely alluded to (“we should meet up sometime…”) but these overtures rarely translate into reality. And yet, regular in their irregularity, the messages continue, strewn in front of you at random, keeping you invested enough in the situation to harbour a vague idea that this could be a great relationship – if only you weren’t both so busy and it wasn’t so difficult to fix a date to go for a drink…

Breadcrumbing is how I’ve found myself in countless non-relationships which are stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque state of texting and interminable waits for replies, with a conservative sprinkling of actual face-to-face contact. Breadcrumbing is the insidious cousin of ghosting. Where ghosting leaves you with a quick sharp shock of realisation – you’ve been dumped – breadcrumbing leads you on, until two years later you realise you’ve been in a static and largely Whatsapp-based relationship with someone you met in 2014 when Tinder was, briefly, your default dating method.

And while – in theory – this annoying behaviour is largely harmless, in my case it started to have a damaging impact on my existing relationships. I found myself turning down plans with friends on a Friday night, keeping the evening free in case the most current breadcrumber should get in touch. I felt a pervading sense of reliance on the validation gleaned from the infrequent contact from whichever guy was in favour at the time. I found that my confidence was knocked with each breadcrumb I too-eagerly responded to, realising that the relationships existed exclusively on the other person’s terms. Allowing myself to be strung along ultimately prevented me from closing the door on numerous unfulfilling relationships, dragging them out until they’d become tired, stale, and sad, and I’d become increasingly jaded.

In the spirit of full disclosure, in no way am I suggesting that this is purely a male behaviour – and my hands aren’t clean of doughy blame; I too, have been a breadcrumber. I’ve been guilty of keeping guys on hold, knowing that I wasn’t interested in them romantically, but enjoying the attention, or not wanting to hurt their feelings by being honest.

If you ask anyone who’s had recent experience of dating, they’re likely to have their very own unique breadcrumbing experience. But why is this behaviour so prevalent? It’s probably fair to lay some culpability at the door of our instant gratification app culture which encourages us to view dating as a never-ending carousel of options; that if one romantic lead goes cold, another is a mere swipe away. On a deeper level, I suspect it’s also down to the fact that humans are inherently self-involved: we each see ourselves as the central character in our lives, with others entering and exiting as bit-part players. When this attitude is combined with dating in an environment in which we have countless options at our disposal, it’s a breeding ground for commitment aversion; our romantic relationships become more superficial and we dip in and out of others’ lives freely, without really stopping to consider the consequences.

Whatever the cause, the bottom line is this: we all lead hectic lives with various demands on our time, but if someone wants to see you, they’ll make it happen. Breadcrumbing is a sign that you’re being kept on the back burner by someone who wants to have their bread-based cake and eat it too. They want the freedom to choose not to commit, resting safe in the knowledge that they could call on you as a back-up during a particularly dry spell, seeing sporadic ‘checking in’ as a good way of doing that.

After having gone through this process more times than I care to admit, I’ve discovered that there are only three failsafe steps to follow when you discover that you’re on the receiving end of a breadcrumbing: delete their number, dust off the crumbs, and don’t look back. The path of the dating world in 2017 may be littered with crumbs, but you don’t need to follow that trail.

Life & Work

You’re a successful arts broadcaster working at the BBC. A journalist in TV and radio – the dream, right? Or perhaps – if you’re Skinny Champagne‘s founder Amanda Thomson – not quite. Of course, quaffing fizz is part of the role if you’re a journo and Thomson has sipped her fair share of bubbles over the years. So why not study in Paris at the Cordon Bleu School and gain a diploma in wine? Sure – a nice little passion project. Next up? Develop your own sugar-free Champagne. Why not? And so Skinny Champagne was born. Raised in the 1970’s, Thomson had grown up eating low sugar, vegetarian foods, so healthy eating was something she’d always lived with – but could she create a healthier version of everyone’s favourite party tipple?

Working with renowned French wine producer, Alexandre Penet, Thomson created the world’s first sugar-free champers: meet Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne Grand Cru. Launched in 2014, the brand has caused quite a buzz – with media coverage in every title you’d care to name, not to mention being dubbed “the basic bitch drink” by The Guardian and referred to as “a gift from God” by The Times. The Thomson & Scott range now includes a rosé Champagne as well as a sugar-free Prosecco – all of which very regularly sell out at Selfridges. So what makes the over-achiever, health food pioneer and saviour of basic bitches –  and their waistlines – tick? And can she run in heels? We found out.

Motivation for me is all about…

Getting it right. I’m passionate about creating delicious, quality sparkling wines that are made as naturally as possible and use little or no processed sugar. Enjoying my wines with friends, family and colleagues is the best motivation possible.

Success means…

Working to my own timetable. This might mean 24-hour days, spending a weekend in gym gear because I never quite move from laptop to wardrobe, and being in three different countries in a week. I’m stubborn, so being able to set my own agenda – even if it does mean working 24/7 – is liberating. Seeing my bottles stacked higher than my head in Selfridges is a pretty heady rush too!

I couldn’t have got there without…

My husband. When I couldn’t let go of a crazy dream to give up my job as an arts presenter and broadcaster to study for a diploma at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris he was with me all the way.

I always start my day with…

A strong coffee. With a dash of oat milk. I’ll try and hit the Nutribullet too. At this time of year it’s greens (kale, cavolo nero, spinach) with ginger, sweetened with apple and possibly a jot of maple syrup. My husband makes a mean Bircher muesli too. I try and keep things seasonal, and my secret tip is frozen spinach. You can buy it ready chopped, and it comes in cubes.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Run/spin/lunge/box/jump around! I am extremely energetic and sometimes my mind needs to be bounced around as much as my body. I also love wine, hotel and restaurant gossip and news, and spend a lot of time browsing Code and the Drinks Business, and looking at LinkedIn to see what colleagues are up to.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

It’s getting brighter. I have occasionally been on the receiving end of casual sexism (a fund manager asked if I’d like to bring in a colleague to help me “go through the figures…”) but there are so many women out there starting up and running incredible businesses. Anya Hindmarch and The White Company’s Chrissie Rucker are two incredible business women who have given me early days support, along with Jacqueline de Rojas in tech.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Lateness. I am pretty OCD about being on time, and don’t understand why anyone would habitually drift in late to appointments. Although sloppiness and bad manners are up there too (I’ve been accused of having very high standards which I guess must be true).

I’d like to be remembered for…

My sense of fairness, integrity, and my laugh. My husband says he heard me before he saw me for the first time!

What makes me happiest is…

Enjoying wine and good times with friends and family. That, and spending time with people who are passionate about what they do. Whether that’s a local restaurateur who knows everything about seasonal ingredients or the CEO of a FTSE-limited company who will do anything for his or her employees.

Can I run in heels?

Just watch me! My whole business has been built on people telling me it can’t be done.

For more information, see the Thomson & Scott website. You can also find the brand on Facebook and Instagram or follow on Twitter.