Inspirational Woman: Grace Fodor | Founder, Studio 10

Grace Fodor is an entrepreneur and founder of UK cult beauty brand Studio 10.

Grace has built a beauty empire, which is growing daily on an international level and has a unique way of working.

She is a keen supporter of working mums and all staff set their own schedule.

You can view the brand at www.studio10beauty.com

inspirational-woman-grace-frodor-founder-studio-10Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My heritage was in branding, marketing and PR. It then developed into branded propositions for retail. With a background in beauty, my instincts were telling me that there was a huge gap in the market for a range created entirely for women as they age. As a result Studio10 was born. We have created a cult beauty brand that is going from strength to strength and I have an amazing team as well that make this all possible – we are all working towards the same goals.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No – I’m a bit of a serial entrepreneurial, starting my first company, a marcoms agency in my twenties. I may not plan my career per se but there’s a lot of meticulous research and business planning that goes on in setting up a business!

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Absolutely. The biggest challenge is how to manage the business through rapid growth; the business has fast tracked 100% beyond our business plan. Having the right infrastructure, team, resources and working capital is key.

What was the starting point in creating the brand and products?

Every step of our process is built on research, analysis and insight, sitting at the very heart of the company.

We researched the market, dynamics and competitor landscape but also the characteristics and psychology of our target audience; how they use beauty products, their daily routine, buying patterns and how they respond to media. Most importantly we wanted to understand how women feel about ageing, beauty and self-esteem.

Meeting the intelectual and rational needs of our customer, but also the deep rooted emotional and psychological, was absolutely vital in delivering on our product promise.

On a typical workday, how does you start your day and how does it end?

I always try to workout – I like to run with my dog as it sets me up for the day. I try to spend time with my daughters in the morning if possible too, and try and fit in the school run. I plan my outfits ahead, so then it’s go, go go. Ending it is slightly different. Tonight for example I’m filming for QVC at midnight, so my days can finish very late. I do try to read a bit though when I get the chance and prepare for the day ahead. I often end up working very late into the night and need to learn to switch off my laptop!

Tell us a little bit about your role and how did that come about?

I realised that the makeup industry wasn’t talking to me. Cosmetics has predominantly been aligned with youth; you only need to look at how they’re being marketed.

It struck me that there was no valid reason why. You don’t choose the same clothes in your 40’s as you would have at 17. It’s the same in beauty; needs and expectations change. I wanted more than products with added anti-ageing ingredients, but ones that specifically correct and cover the signs of ageing.

The anti-ageing market is said to be worth $191bn with an average global growth rate of between 7-10%. I wanted to develop a range aimed squarely at 35 plus; it was a huge opportunity and one that had not been explored.

Have you ever had a mentor or a sponsor or anyone who has helped your career?

I’ve had a number of inspirational, super senior women from the beauty industry who have been so generous with their support and counsel. And my dad too – he always seems to have the best advice!

What advice could you give start-up brands?

Underpin your brand with real research, analysis and insight; you can’t shortcut this process! Have a deep knowledge and understanding of your target customer; what makes them tick, and where, how and why they buy beauty, and contextualise everything against the backdrop of the competition. You cannot compete if you’re just A N Other brand doing the same thing as everybody else.

This intelligence will feed into your product development, marketing and retail strategy, creating real standout, kudos and credibility.

And lastly, develop products that are fundamentally innovative, and never, ever compromise on results. If your product doesn’t perform, it won’t sell and even if it did sell, you wouldn’t see any repeat purchase.

If you want to build trust and loyalty, product performance is everything.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Giving women real flexibility; an ability to work part-time or time shift so they can combine a career and being a mother.

If you were to look back in five years, what would you see in terms of your achievements?

Studio10 will be a truly global brand and I’ll be mentoring and supporting women into launching or running their own successful enterprises.

Tell us about your plans for the future?

World domination (obviously) and to enjoy the process of both growing my business and seeing my daughters mature. I’m so excited to believe that the business world they will inherit is likely to be much more free then the one I entered – and proud to think that in a small way I’m part of that.

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