This month, we got together with beauty extraordinaire, Grace Fodor. Founder of pro-age beauty brand, Studio10, she talks to us about why she started her brand, what makes them different and why she's making noise in the industry to stamp out ageism. We talk confidence, life outside of work and work-life during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Enjoy!
Hey Grace! Tell us about how Studio10 began? What was your motivation to create a product line in spite of the huge selection of cosmetics already on the market?
As I reached middle age, I wanted to celebrate this. I wanted to feel truly confident and not be limited by negative anti-ageing stereotypes that didn’t reflect how I felt or how I lived my life. This needed to be represented in advertising by the makeup brands that were trying to talk to us, but at that time the beauty industry only seemed to have a ‘one rule suits all’ approach to makeup and all I could find were dressed up versions of mainstream products that just didn’t seem to work for maturing skin. I wanted ‘quick-fix’ solutions that targeted the signs of ageing, with the best skincare ingredients, and that were easy to use. So Studio10 was born.
What would you say gives your brand the edge compared to other Pro Age brands on the market?
We have a dedicated team who work hard to make sure that our formulations are 100% right –sourcing natural formulas, textures, pigments and colours that specifically suit more mature skintones. I’ve put a huge amount of research in to developing aselect, tight range of innovative age correcting and skin perfecting productsthat are fundamentally makeup essentials. And many of our products are multitasking, which make them so easy to use on the go – quick fixes that really do work as a shortcut to flawless skin.
What would you say being a female entrepreneur starting her own brand has taught you about confidence?
I started my career in PR and had my own agency by the time I was 27, so confidence for me has definitely come with the wealth of experience I have gained over time. We learn from our mistakes as we go along and develop a greater understanding of who we are and what we can achieve which, in turn, creates confidence. I’ve also learned that we can’t always feel completely self-assured, no matter how much experience we have – it’s at these times that we have to challenge ourselves to do it anyway.And we should never be over-confident – this is just off-putting – so my approach has always been to build strong, personal and direct relationships, which generates the confidence of others in you!
Compared to mainstream cosmetics, what would you say are the biggest challenges you face when creating pro age cosmetics?
Researching and sourcing the right ingredients to develop the specific formulas in our products. Studio10 exclusively targets maturing skin so it is absolutely imperative that we get this right. The challenge comes in creating natural makeup that truly works to nourish, hydrate and perfect ageing skin, but which is also easy to use and feels good to wear.
Are there any areas where you hope to grow/expand Studio10?
Developing new products and expanding our range is something we are continually researching and working on. And we have exciting ideas for more social media presence. But we are also more than a makeup company – we are a pro age brand with pro age values and this is something I want to promote more through our media platform. It’s too easy to feel invisible as we age, but Studio10 is also recognised as a strong voice that advocates being visible and confident, regardless of age, so this is definitely an area Iwould liketo expand.
You talk about inspiring the next generation to stamp out ageism. We are very much on board with this! What do we need to do better to support them having a voice?
This is interesting because I think this generation is already far less consumed with labels of any sort than we ever were, although it’s still a slow climb with ageism and we have a long way to go. There is a perception of what ageing should look like – and to an extent this is also down to our own traditional conditioning. This is what we need to change. The media and social media are powerful promotional tools that this generation have grown up with – and they are seeing more and more successful middle-age bloggers and vloggers who are current and exciting. They also need to see the benefits of a senior workforce. There are many 40, 50, 60 and 70 plus women and men out there who are successfully achieving, so we need to make sure that this continues to be seen across all forms of media. Again it comes down to visibility! The best we can do is to lead by example. If we can change the narrative now to ensure that ageing is seen as a positive and not a limitation, this will be the voice of the next generation.
What would you say to the women who struggle with the 'middle age' label?
Just be yourself and ‘do you’! The middle age label is someone else’s perception of age, it doesn’t have to be yours. It’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin. Do what you want to do and be who you want to be – after all we have more wisdom now to make a success of the things we choose to do, and more experience to care less about the judgement of others if we don’t always get those things right!
Besides running a highly successful beauty brand, what gives you the most joy in life outside of work?
My family and friends.They make me laugh and they keep me grounded. I try to spend as much time as possible with my daughters, which isn’t always easy alongside running a business, and I love just being with friends, with a glass of wine or two, and putting the world to rights!
What advice might you give women looking to start out with their own venture?
Just go for it! Self-doubt means that sometimes we don’t always take the risks we should and this holds us back. Things won’t always work out exactly how we think they will, but equally this doesn’t need to be a negative, they could turn out ten times better!Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers has literally been my bible over the years. The title says it all! And then it’s pure determination, hard work and perseverance. Nothing that’s worth having is going to come easily.
You recently wrote an article on adjusting to life in lock-down amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic. As a leader, how did you manage the sudden change within your business and what lessons have you learned from it all?
I have a great team around me who know what they’re doing. They understand the situation, they’re supportive and we have all rallied together to work out how best to navigate the business through these difficult times. And – of course – the advanced technology we have today means that working from home for all of us has worked relatively easily. I think the learning curve for everyone is that good and effective communication is key.
What's your go-to brands for work-wear?
When it comes to buying clothes, being stylish and current is just as important to me today as it was in my 20s and 30s, but I have a greater sense of my own style now. There’s plenty of good high street fashion out there for the savvy shopper – I love Zara for the latest designs and trends, but I also like Danna Ida, and I love Ridley London for when I want something a little more special.
What does 'dressing for confidence' mean for you?
I use the phrase ‘just do you’ at lot – so I firmly believe it’s about wearing what feels right for me and with my own style and individuality. I like fashion with attitude and edge but that still looks stylish. I love wearing jeans and combats or elevating this look with a silk blouse, a blazer and a pair of heels. The bottom line is to be happy with what you wear – it’s who you are and it’s your style – I think this is what ‘dressing for confidence’ is all about.
How has your Sarah Haran bag helped you feel more organised?
It has literally changed my life – I love it! I spend two days a week – often more – working in London and at meetings and events, so I definitely need a functional bag that not only holds my work and my laptop, but also spare clothes, makeup and everything else we seem to cram into our bags! It holds everything I need. The detachable evening bag also works so well for me with the evening events I have to attend.
Fancy winning some Studio 10 and Sarah Haran goodies? You have until Tuesday 4th May at 11.59pm to enter. Just click here - good luck! x