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The Beauty Biz according to Kate Shapland

The Beauty Biz according to Kate Shapland

Kate Shapland how do you do it? Your list of credentials include award winning beauty journalist for The Telegraph, avid blogger, founder of your own beauty brand Legology AND Co-Founder, Brand and Editorial Director of our latest fave beauty business find - MyShowcase. 

Beauty and Health Cheshire

What's MyShowcase about - are we talking a new type of party planning?

In a sense yes. MyShowcase is about partying, but partying with your friends to discover new beauty products.

We felt there was a real opportunity to bring the best of the independent beauty brands to people's homes, where they could discover them in a relaxed environment over a glass or wine or a cup of coffee with their friends. As well as giving women the chance to try products in a personal way our Stylists are able to tell the stories behind these brands, which often get a bit lost or remain untold, and the brands benefit because their products get passed from hand to hand.

 Cheshire Events
James Read tanning a stylist - at one of the Myshowcase training events

If you decide to host one of our showcase parties at your house you receive a 40% voucher to spend on our products as a thank you from us and you can choose to have a straight showcase gathering, or hold a Makeup or Skincare Shake-up. These are our focused beauty 1-2-1's where our Stylists come along and show you brilliant makeup application tips and talk you through the best personal skincare regime.

You have personally curated a selection of independent brands to work with on My Showcase - what's your ethos in the selection process?

I look for brands that have been developed with an entrepreneurial spirit. I look for soul in a brand, something that engages (and often this is an intangible thing that has much to do with the history of the brand's development), and has been created by someone with a passion.

The Myshowcase team say 'Hi'

I want a brand to look wonderful - if it works on my page in the Telegraph it's likely to work for our Stylists and their clients. I want the cream of the independent brands - the absolute best, and I can usually spot them a mile off having spent some 12 years doing the same for my beauty page in the Telegraph.

So, for women looking for a new career opportunity, what does My Showcase offer and briefly, what's the recruitment process?

MyShowcase offers women an opportunity to have their own businesses on their terms as Stylists. In other words, MyShowcase operates as the back office, overseeing fulfilment; payments etc and our Stylists get to do the fun bits - helping other women discover new brands and products in a flexible way. 

A Myshowcase stylist training day

We feel that there is a real opportunity for women who want to work and earn their own income but in a way that suits their lifestyle: if you have a family you may not necessarily be able to work from 9-6. With MyShowcase you work and earn as much or as little as you want as a Stylist - you set the standard.

Cheshire Events
Recruitment day - MyShowcase

So the opportunity is there to earn enough money to feed a shoe habit or pay for a family holiday - the sky is the limit! Becoming a Stylist is a very straightforward process. MyShowcase train you on the brands and the basics of operating your business, there is also brand training from the founders as well as a mentorship programme, all which can be done face-to-face at the monthly training sessions or online.

Relaxing vibe at a Myshowcase training event

In your experience of the beauty industry, do you think you 'get what you pay for' when it comes down to the price point and product 'promise' - or would you say it's more to do with clever marketing?

I think it's a bit of both. Premium products tend to offer you the best in terms of the quality of research and development - some brands take a decade to get just one product to market, and that effort is naturally reflected in the product's presentation and efficacy, which is what you would expect.

Marketing is also key because it tells you about the product, although obviously it's not objective and that's why you need independent experts to help you form an educated choice on products. That said, women who spend more on skincare (for example) don't necessarily have fewer wrinkles than those who don't, which highlights how subjective beauty is: some women find that a basic, budget-friendly moisturiser works brilliantly for them all their lives and they never feel the need to buy into the premium brands. 

Health and Beauty
Brand versus Budget

At the end of the day, irrespective of price and marketing, it's about commonsense: if your instincts tell you that a product is overstating its claims (i.e. it promises to 'get rid' of your wrinkles/cellulite) it probably is and you should walk away. Have faith in your intuition!

In your opinion do you think celebrity endorsement of beauty products is a 'positive' message for 'normal' women or not?

Personally, celebrity endorsement doesn't work for me in other markets and if I didn't work in beauty it wouldn't sway me in my choices here either because I'm a firm believer in beauty working for the individual.

Having said that I can see how celebrity endorsement sprinkles magic onto products and makes them appealing, so it does have its place and can be a positive for everyone, yes.

Kate, what essential products have you got in your own make up bag?

Blusher and lip colour are two staples - I carry about 15 lip colours (lipsticks, glosses, balms ..) around in my handbag at all times. There are more in my coat pockets and the glove compartment of my car.

Current makeup staples are Wild About Beauty Golden Skin Glow, Wild About Beauty Rosaria NutriLips Balm, New CID i-Smoulder Smokey Eye Pencil & Shadow (I've got all 7 shades), and a Chanel blusher.

Kate's never without her Chanel Blusher

Best and worst beauty product you've used during your career as Beauty Editor of The Telegraph?

That's the $1m question! Designer brands I've loved from the beginning of my career - so consistently over the past 25 years - are Guerlain (their Midnight Secret and gold skin primer are magic) and Chanel; but I'm also completely addicted to niche, independent brands like Neom, Andrea Garland and Wild About Beauty, all of which we sell via MyShowcase.  

I'm so fortunate in being able to write about these brands on my page in the Telegraph, and curating the brand line up for MyShowcase is exciting because it gives me an opportunity to provide them with a retail platform too. 

Bag of beauty goodies - curated by Kate for Myshowcase

I'm particularly proud that MyShowcase was the launch pad for Claire Vero's successful probiotic skincare range - that's a fantastic example of how MyShowcase operates; picking up independent newbies and helping them fly.

Worst products tend to be those that over-promise (i.e. claim to 'get rid' of your cellulite in 10 minutes) and I forget in an instant; products that don't exist tend to occupy my mind more .. that's how my own product, Legology Air-Lite, came about.

Kate's launched her own brand - Legology

I couldn't find a leg cream that ticked every box for me, lightening heavy legs, toning, hydrating, stimulating and discouraging cellulite, so I had to develop it myself. Being a brand owner has given me ground roots insight into and understanding of a side of the beauty business that I might not have otherwise discovered.

Can you share a beauty secret with us?

My mum, who was an Elizabeth Arden girl, gave me the best skin-beautifying secret ever: beat an egg, add a dash of cooking oil to the mix, soak a cotton ball in it and apply to your face. Allow it to dry and rinse off with a warm cloth. Your skin literally glows and you don't need moisturiser or foundation. Trust me, it's simple but brilliant. Apart from that, get more sleep - its such an underrated beauty secret!

Who is the most beautiful woman you've met and why?

I think the actress Vivien Leigh was one of the most beautiful women ever. An absolutely classic beauty with a real fragility behind a tough facade. Sadly I never met her.

Early in my career, I met all of the original supermodels while working in the fashion department at Harpers & Queen (now Harpers Bazaar) at one time or another (Naomi Campbell once came in to the magazine on a go-see wearing her school uniform ...), and I remember being quite blown away by their rare and unforgettable extraordinariness; they were breathtakingly beautiful.

Interview by Jo Clarke

Tags: myshowcase, kate shapland, the telegraph, beauty events northwest

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