Inspirational Woman: Maxine Laceby | Founder & CEO, Absolute Collagen

Maxine Laceby - founder of Absolute Collagen

53-year-old Maxine Laceby is the founder and CEO of Absolute Collagen, one of the UK’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer beauty supplement brands.

She gave up work to have children when she was 25 years old and did not return to work until she was 50, when she founded Absolute Collagen.

Mother-of-two Maxine, founded the business in 2015 and since then the growth of the business has been incredible. The turnover of the business has grown almost tenfold in the space of one financial year.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role

I am the founder and CEO of one of the UK fastest growing direct to consumer beauty brands, Absolute Collagen. Three years ago, at the age of 50, I discovered the wonderful benefits of collagen in my family kitchen and this inspired me to go on to create the Absolute Collagen brand.

My background is sales and marketing; however, I gave up my career to have children at 25 years old and then I didn’t work again until I founded Absolute Collagen. My current role within company is driving the business forward; looking at international expansion and new product development.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not. My younger self would have never imagined that I would have gone on to run my own multi million pound business.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Oh yes. As a woman of a certain age, it was only until roughly a year ago that I stopped feeling that I was going into battle every single day. No one took me seriously due to my age and my lack of experience. Whilst being dyslexic and having ADHD should have been challenging, I see these as assets as I must think ‘around’ things.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Winning a CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) beauty award – they are a very highly regarded award within the beauty industry. When I found myself within the beauty industry, I looked around for the most prestigious industry standard to be recognised by and CEW was where I set my bar, to win this year was a very proud moment.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Believing in myself, my product and the direction I had chosen for the brand, along with ensuring the brand had a strong identity and voice. We also have an excellent team, all of whom have helped to shape it into the brand it is today and continue to do so.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

People have reached out to and asked to become my mentor and I have been approached to become a mentor. Whilst it is not something that I have said yes to yet, it is certainly something that I would consider.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

It would have to be the government offering funding to women of my age to retrain in our chosen career paths. ‘We’ as a specific group have much to offer and contribute to the UK economy, but currently are not acknowledged to the extent that I believe ‘we’ should be.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Just keep going. It will be okay – the right path will choose you.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Absolute Collagen’s immediate challenge is international expansion and I am currently in the process of onboarding a consultant for this role. Finding a space for us to operate out of is also a top priority as we have almost outgrown out current workplace! I’ve just started looking for potential locations and seeing the company expand is very exciting. Finally, we are also focusing our efforts on new product development. We are working on a vegan supplement, a protein supplement and a collagen boosting face serum.

On a personal note, I am incredibly passionate about supporting women in business and I am honoured to have been invited to talk at an event relating to this. The Alison Rose Report highlighted the many challenges that need attention within female entrepreneurship. Having first-hand experience I am well placed to try and overcome the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs in the UK.

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