Interview with Bethanie Mardon, Senior Content Marketing Manager, influencer and stylist
We’ve interviewed hundreds of talented women (and men) in our time. But few wear as many hats as Bethanie Mardon, Senior Content Marketing Manager, influencer, former PR business owner, author, ecommerce business owner, stylist and mum. We decided to find out exactly what Bethanie does – and why!
What’s your career background?
OK, are you ready?
I started in journalism as Beauty Editor for a regional lifestyle magazine. There, I honed my skills in fashion styling and promotions too. Since it was a small business, a multi-faceted skillset and approach was essential.
I moved into PR, working in the press office for Boots Ltd. where I got all my communications training. However, not enjoying the corporate limitations as I then saw them, I branched out to set up my own PR Company at the age of 23. There were so many skeptics asking, ‘are you sure you’re ready?’ ‘what if you fail?’ I just told them that I’m not afraid of failing and was going to give it my best shot.
I started the firm from my spare bedroom, moving into offices in Covent Garden two years later. I ran it for five years before returning to my first love of writing.
Loooooong story short, I realised my dream of becoming an author with the release of my book, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fabulousness, curated content for a number of print and digital publications and brands, merged my skills in content, promotion and styling and consulted for brands across the globe.
Today, you can find me working at a digital marketing agency. I sit in the content team, helping to develop the propositions for influencer marketing and Digital PR. You can see what a great fit this is for me.
Because I must be addicted to work, I also style women, write a blog, make videos for my YouTube channel and run a cheeky ecommerce side business, Cafe of Curiosities, selling sweary and uplifting slogan mugs and tote bags. Phew, no wonder I love merlot so much.
How did your career change after having children?
It changed in every way. This is my personal take of course, but when you become a parent, everything changes. Everything. I experienced an identity crisis after having both of my children. Who am I? What do I want now? What is best for them? Should I work at all? I feel so guilty. What has happened to my boobs?
I worked for myself for around 15 years so I had the beauty of flexibility and freedom to a degree, which worked well with motherhood, and personally – I will always want to work. I have a career I’ve worked hard to build and I don’t want to let that go.
My parents have always had a high work ethic and I was raised with parents who worked full time. To me, that is the norm. It inspired me to work hard for what you want in life. Through them, I saw that life can be hard but if you want something enough, you have to go out and get it, opportunity doesn’t fall into your lap. This is what I want to pass onto my children.
Luckily, my employer offers flexi-time giving you a number of options to choose from, and you don’t have to stick to one option either. The times you start and finish are also flexible, (so long as you communicate with your team and be flexible right back of course). This way, you don’t feel like you’re playing catch up on life, you can design your work around it and in tandem instead.
One of the reasons I feel so at home here is because they realise you are a person, not a robot. They promote a healthy work-life balance; it is highly refreshing and for me as a working mum, incredibly helpful. I can play a bigger part in my kids daily lives and actually have an evening or afternoon with my family as opposed to being a slave to my job, and find I actually work harder and with more passion because of it.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
For Cafe of Curiosities, we wanted to lift people up with happy products. We realised there’s always a moment in people’s lives when you want to go somewhere for a hug, for someone to tell you everything is going to be OK, to get some inspiration to do something different today, or for someone to just pull a funny face at the right moment to make you snort tea through your nose.
We aim to deliver that trough or cheeky, sometimes sweary but always uplifting mugs and tote bags.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I work with my friend Lucy (who actually used to my boss), and she is the yin to my yang professionally.
Our skills and strengths balance each other out perfectly. By having clear roles and responsibilities, we not only play to our strengths but we improve each others weaknesses and don’t clash or step on each others toes. This is the most productive way to be. Lucy is the merch, logistics and cash flow. I’m the ideas, the creative and the promotion.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
For Cafe of Curiosities, my influencer work and styling, I use social media to engage with customers and readers – both existing and potential. Styling particularly is 90% word of mouth and referrals.
In terms of promotion, involving and empowering consumers is everything. I don’t dictate to them or push marketing messages down their throats, they are way too savvy for that. Instead, I compose entertaining and engaging campaigns to pull in the public.
At my company, this is demonstrated through Content and Digital PR, creating content that resonates with the target demographic and outreaching in the right spaces.
At Café, we entertain our customers with our weekly happy dance. It was derived from the fact that, as a small business, we do a happy dance every time someone buys something from us. It truly means that much. Now, it has become the expectation and we have a right giggle performing and filming them! You can watch us on our Instagram or Facebook feeds.
For my blog, channel and styling services – I find collaboration works very well; forming partnerships with other influencers, with brands and attending events.
Finally, if you can become an authority in your field too, that is a good move. Offer to write for publications, liaise online with peers, network and speak at industry events about what you do. Raising your profile will raise the profiles of our clients, employers and services too.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
It would have to be launching the innovative product, Tummy Tuck Jeans by Not Your Daughters Jeans into the UK fashion market.
The right targeted press coverage, brand partnerships and broadcast exposure led to my client selling out three times in 48 hours, and the ecommerce partner that sold them (also my client), seeing a sales increase of 100%. Strategic planning and relationship building is key.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think I have just one! I feel balancing a career with parenthood is a constant obstacle. On a daily basis, there is a new challenge, emotion, demand or thought process to contend with. How do I cope with that? I work hard, be kind and drink coffee.
And your proudest moment so far?
Everything I have done so far – warts n’all. I tread purposefully with determination and a full heart. Sometimes I feel awesome for simply keeping my kids alive. Everyone who manages to be happy most of the time and do what they say they’re going to do – less faff, more bosh (as my friend Lucy would say), should be proud.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Just do YOU. Don’t imitate, innovate. Your tone of voice, your style, your way is what will get you noticed and eventually, be in demand for.
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get. You don’t have to be an extrovert to get noticed or to get what you want but be sure to voice your opinion and ask questions. It will help you to progress. Count to three, take a deep breath and dive in.
- Just have fun OK. Don’t forget to have fun. The sad truth is, it’s all too easy to do so, so schedule fun in if you have to, but always make time for it. It will keep you sane, keep your relationships on track and balance out all that hard work, making you more productive in the long run.
As you can imagine, Bethanie has a few links to her name! So we thought it would be easier to list them for you: