In 2007, Georgie Coleridge Cole set up the hugely successful online fashion and lifestyle magazine SheerLuxe. We found out what inspired her, how the site makes money, and the secret behind her success.
What was your career history before setting up SheerLuxe?
Having interned for them throughout university, after I graduated I went to COTY Beauty and worked in marketing on fragrance brands like Jennifer Lopez, Marc Jacobs and Davidoff.
I left after a couple of years and went to Savills to work in the marketing department for their new residential and commercial developments and realised pretty quickly, that despite the pay rise, it was not for me. It was then that I started working on SheerLuxe.
You founded SheerLuxe in 2007. What were your biggest hurdles?
I was only 26 when I launched the site and it was definitely hard not having a really established career and lots of contacts behind me. The fashion world is pretty tight.
Also eCommerce and online publishing were so new in 2007 so convincing premium retailers of the brand value that online coverage could and can deliver was a challenge to say the least.
When did you hit your first big milestone, and what was it?
I used to say to myself when we have 20k subscribers we will have made it. Now we have over 100k and I still don’t feel like we have.
Online is so fast moving and constantly evolving that you’re always working on the next thing before you’ve finished the last. That’s probably why I love it but I don’t think I’ll ever feel like we’ve reached a goal because by the time we get there the goalposts have moved.
How do you juggle being SheerLuxe founder and editor with being a mum?
I work fast! My husband always reminds me that no one works as fast as me so I need to be patient but I just get stuff done and I have to I guess or I’d see my family even less than I do.
I have lots of help and my office is a 10 minute walk from home – I don’t have the time to waste 1.5 hours a day commuting.
If there is one piece of business advice you could give our readers that are starting or growing a business what would it be?
To be prepared to work far harder than you think you will have to. Starting a business is not the easy option (especially as a mother) but I firmly believe you make your own luck and if you work hard enough good will prevail!
And be prepared for the data that online brings, because whatever business you run there will be a digital element and digital is all about the data.
In business who do you find inspirational?
Maria Hatzistefanis the founder of Rodial, Fanny Moizant – one of the founder’s of Vestiaire Collective and Helena Morrissey who is Chief Exec of an Asset Management company with nine children(!). And masses of others – I find successful women hugely inspiring.
In the beginning what was the most successful way of monetising the site?
When we started it was via our directory of online retailers but directories have died a bit of a death really. Ultimately you need great content and the right traffic and if you have those two making money from a website takes care of itself.
What is your daily ‘uniform’ for the office?
Denim, denim, denim (Frame or Mother), a leather jacket and either a silk blouse (Equipment, Maje or Sandro), denim shirt (GAP) or a good knit (Chinti & Parker, Crumpet or Duffy).
Looking forward, what are you coveted fashion items for AW15?
You launched ‘The Brief’ in November last year. What’s next for SheerLuxe?
So much… We are relaunching our boutique, working on some collaborations, more reader events, a female entrepreneurs conference on 3rd October and another very big and exciting project for the site that I can’t reveal just set but we’re mega excited about!
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