Interview with Tricia Cusden, founder of Look Fabulous Forever
Find out how an inability to find makeup that worked well on older skin (and being insulted by the anti-aging obsession of the beauty industry) inspired Tricia Cusden to launch Look Fabulous Forever.
What’s your career background?
I was a management training consultant for most of my working life, which didn’t properly start until I was 38.
Where did the idea for Look Fabulous Forever come from?
It was born out of my frustration with two things: the anti-ageing rhetoric of the beauty industry which I felt was insulting to me as a 65 year old and my inability to find makeup which worked well on my older face, eyes and lips.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I Googled ‘cosmetic manufacturers’ having decided to risk £40,000 of my own savings. Once I’d found a company which could make me the products at a cost I could afford, I was able to develop the whole business strategy.
What’s your brand’s USP?
That we sell makeup online which is specifically formulated to work well on women over (around) 55 years of age.
Who’s your target audience?
We are very clear that it’s women worldwide who are post menopausal.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Initially we relied on free social media platforms, principally You Tube, Facebook and a weekly blog that I write on a variety of subjects. PR was also a very successful driver for us. We still use those platforms and now also use Facebook and Google ads and television advertising with great success.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Probably Facebook ads which work very well for us in terms of ROI.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
There really haven’t been many obstacles. Cashflow has remained positive and we have easily attracted investment. Getting stock levels right to cope with sudden surges (thanks to PR) has been a challenge, but we are getting better at managing it.
And your proudest moment so far?
Being awarded Digital Achiever of the Year by Google at a CEW event in 2015 after just two years in business in front of an audience of 500 beauty insiders. I was absolutely gob-smacked to win it!
Why is work so important to you?
I love what I do and it gives my life purpose and a huge sense of fulfilment. We now have a great team at LFF which includes my two daughters, so I feel we are building something of substance for us all to benefit from.
I also get enormous satisfaction from contacts with customers who are so positive and enthusiastic about our products and brand.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who is still living a vital and engaged life despite no longer being young. I love Judi Dench who at 82 is one of our hardest working actresses. How fabulous is that?
How do you balance your business with your family?
I can compartmentalise the business and the family. When I am in a social setting with my daughters we tend not to talk LFF.
I also try to keep contacts with friends even though I am very busy (but so are they!) I don’t find it particularly difficult to create a work/life balance. I remind myself that I am choosing what I do!
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
First would be not to prevaricate or procrastinate too long – sometime you need to take a leap into the unknown. However, secondly, I’d say make sure there are safety nets.
For instance I limited my risk to £40k and then used investment money to fund the business as it grew. This was the sensible option at my age and means I can sleep at night without worrying.
Thirdly I’d say ‘dare to dream big’ if it looks like it might really grow into a substantial business.
You can find out more about Look Fabulous Forever on their website.