Hitting her mid 40s, Grace found herself labelled as ‘middle aged’ and surrounded by negative anti- ageing stereotypes that didn’t reflect how she felt or lived her life.
I am a mother, PRO AGE warrior, beauty expert and founder of Studio10 makeup – in that order. When I hit my late 40s, I found myself labelled ‘middle-aged’ and felt mired in negative stereotypes that didn’t reflect how I lived my life. I felt invisible. I didn’t feel represented in adverts for the brands that were meant to be communicating with me. I was just inundated with ‘anti-ageing’ messages.
I want to celebrate my age, wear it proudly and feel truly confident. To be represented in advertising, by the very brands trying to talk to me. And as for products, I want them designed with me in mind.
At that time, the beauty industry only seemed to have a ‘one rule suits all’ approach to makeup, and I quickly realised that many mainstream makeup products just weren’t designed for mature skin like mine.
I had a background in branding and marketing, and I went on to co-found my own agency, where, through a research project for Boots, I worked with the celebrity makeup artist Jemma Kidd on her Make Up School range. Even though the cosmetics market is crowded, I felt there was a clear gap for a makeup brand catering to the needs of women as they age. We don’t use the same skincare in our 40s as we did in our 20s, so why do we use the same makeup? I wanted to create a range that really addressed the needs of mature women with the very best ingredients. So I decided to create my own range – an independent beauty brand that’s PRO AGE rather than anti-ageing, and that’s how STUDIO10 makeup was born.
I am a real go-getter so although I would not say my careers been totally planned, I would say I have always been open to and said yes to opportunities. I said yes to working with Jemma Kidd which led to creating her make up brand. I learnt so much from that role and made so many contacts. It was the perfect training ground to eventually go onto create my own brand, Studio10. I still say yes to everything such as podcasts and new ways of marketing. It’s all a learning curve and every yes leads to something new. So, although my career hasn’t been planned, I am naturally very curious and open to new opportunities and it’s that quality that has helped direct my career.
Running your own company is demanding and extremely time-consuming. There’s always something that needs doing and my head is constantly buzzing, so it’s hard to switch off. I’ve found that exercise is a great way to alleviate stress. I try to make a conscious effort to schedule in time to work out. I run regularly as well and do yoga and meditation classes. I also love taking long walks with our dog, and every weekend I arrange flowers for the house – I find it therapeutic!
Yes absolutely! I find that the beauty industry has a ‘one rule suits all’ approach to makeup. A recent survey showed that 74% of women feel that many products and services don’t reflect their need which is just shocking. Before I founded Studio10, when shopping for makeup all I could find was dressed-up versions of mainstream products that just didn’t seem to work for mature skins. While there are many products on the market that are full of ‘anti-ageing’ ingredients, it’s only part of the story. BB and CC creams for example are hailed as one of the best examples of anti-ageing makeup, full of active ingredients. However, the finish is super sheer, a light tint, so light for mature skin, it doesn’t tick the box that most women want and need more coverage from their foundation. Studio10 has explored the aesthetics of makeup and professional tricks and techniques that give instant results. We worked hard to choose the right texture, pigment, finish and colour, that specifically suits and works for ageing skin.
I work remotely, meaning I can pick up and go wherever I am, so my week is split – two days I’m in London taking meetings, and the rest of the week I’m working from my home office. Every day is different, which I love – from out and about in central London with back-to-back meetings, to a more relaxed working day at home where I can catch up on things. Every day is different, and I love it. One day I may be corresponding with clients, doing a live with an influencer, researching marketing methods, organising an event, or doing a podcast. We also recently revamped our website so that has taken up a lot of my time.
We’ve taken the pandemic as an opportunity to grow and overall, it has been a positive experience for Studio 10. We’ve adapted to the covid restrictions by organising online makeup events with influencers via Zoom. These have been a great success and will likely remain even after the pandemic subsides. We’ve also been able to build substantial relationships with Journalists who more time to sit down one on one with the absence of long commutes. From a customer perspective, I’ve found that women have much more time to dedicate to self-care with many really taking the time research make up whilst they are at home.
If you really want to do it, then go for it. You’ll never find out if you don’t, and there’s a lot of life left to spend wondering ‘What if?’. If you want to do something then do it, don’t just talk about it! Focus on what you want to do and stay true to your brand if you start one…
More support for women in the workplace during menopause is something I would like to change the rules for on Gender Equality. The menopause can be a challenging time for women, with many lacking confidences and feeling invisible, unattractive and undervalued. Looking good on the outside can give us the confidence boost we need to feel good on the inside, and makeup is a great tool to create a look that can give us this sense of confidence. But besides the makeup, there are more women speaking up about how work-place rules need to change regarding women and the symptoms they may be suffering during the menopausal period and coping with work. Gender equality and menopause in the work-place is becoming more of a topic of discussion rather than brushed under the carpet. We need to support women better during this period in the work-place.
My youngest daughter is so confident, and she is not swayed by what people think of her which is an amazing quality to have in this Instagram age. I wish I had cared less about what people thought of me when I was younger. Post 50+ I care so much less about people’s opinions of me and this has allowed me to really ‘go for it’ in all aspects of my life. I’ve started a business, gone to Ibiza and I even got a tattoo!
I want to gain momentum with my PRO AGE movement to change the face of ageing once and for all. As I mentioned earlier, when I hit my mid-40s, I found myself labelled ‘middle-aged’. The negative rhetoric used by mainstream media and anti-ageing ads, and the paltry representation of women as they age send a clear message: in order for us to stay socially relevant, we must look young. A recent study of 2,000 women revealed that by the time they reached the age of 51, many believed they had become completely invisible. Only 15% of these women felt that they had high or very high confidence in anyarea of their lives, and 46% thought no one understood or addressed women and ageing.
That’s why I want women to join my PRO AGE movement and challenge society’s outdated stereotypes – and often our own – that diminish our beauty, value and confidence. True beauty is ageless – our achievements and experiences have real value, so let’s celebrate our age and wear it proudly. It’s time to own our years and unite to create a voice that gets us the recognition we deserve. We’ve got to change how we talk about ageing as a society.
As part of our PRO AGE movement, we’re launching an online exhibition called Beauty Comes With Age and we’d love your followers to be part of it. Just take a picture of yourself holding a white sheet of paper bearing the words ‘I AM 55’ – or however old you are – along with a positive word or phrase that describes you now. Share your image across all your social media using the hashtag #ageismisoldnews – and we will be exhibiting them too.