If there’s one thing Zoë Foster Blake knows, it’s beauty.
As a former beauty editor with “213 years” of experience (so reads her cheeky website), Zoë has spent endless hours inspecting, reviewing and scrutinising products – so much so that in 2006, she wrote her own beauty bible, Amazing Face, in attempts to help the average woman make sense of the sometimes overwhelming array of beauty buys on the market.
“I wrote Amazing Face because I knew women sort of needed that reference guide to make shit easy for them, because they were confused,” Zoë tells Collective Hub. “I [thought] that it could be easier and not so serious… let’s just make it simple.”
Since then, Zoë has ventured out of examining beauty products to making them, with her hugely popular natural, cruelty-free range of beauty products, Go-To Skincare, praised by women on the hunt for fuss-free, results-driven skincare staples. But even experts have to keep learning. While her book, as well as her skincare range, was the result of years of research, things have changed a lot in the ten years since its release. Instead of shying away from those changes, Go-To CEO and founder Zoë wanted to revisit some of her findings. The result is a carefully updated version of her 2006 book, re titled Amazinger Face and her position in the beauty business is all the stronger for it. Here’s what we’ve learnt from Zoe’s position pivot:
Be open to feedback. “One of the reasons I re-did the book because I was getting a facial from this wonderful brutally honest facialist, who sat me down with her copy of Amazing Face and she had Post-Its all through it.”
“It was terrifying,” Zoë says. “I thought, ‘shit, I’m going to get a lecture here because they know so much about skin’. Whereas I know little things about lots of things, and she was like, ‘I’m sorry but I just have to ask you a few questions about sunscreen, I just don’t agree with it’ and I was like, ‘yes, yes, no I agree, I agree, I want to change it’. So it was kind of a reason I went in to the update.”
The Go-To skincare creator took to her manuscript and pulled out every product mention and checked if it was still on the market, if it was still a leader in its category and then subsequently added any other notable additions to the category since the last publishing run. It was quite a feat. The result is the recently released and impressively updated Amazinger Face, which serves the same demystifying purpose, with no stone left unturned.
Don’t worry about what others are doing. Considering the crowded market Zoë finds herself in, that doesn’t mean she’s focusing inward. While she was happy to take feedback from her facialist, the mum-of-one never looks across at what others in the same market are doing, keeping her eyes firmly on the prize.
“I don’t ever think about our competition and I know that sounds dumb and it probably is dumb but, and it’s funny because I think if I’d have overthought it I could have never done it,” Zoë says. “I think I just had to go in with that… arrogance, and think, no, I do think I might have a product that doesn’t cur-rently exist. [And after] all my time in writing in beauty for over 10 years, I just wanted to make it fun and I just thought it was a bit too serious. I didn’t think about my competition because I think it would have crippled me, and paralysed me, and I still don’t.”
You don’t need funding to start a business. It certainly helps but it’s not the path for everyone, as Zoe’s experience will attest to. “We all just put in our own money,” she says of her funding process.
“I’ll be honest, it was quite a small investment to begin. [Being] an online business, I think we didn’t have to work out of a shop, we ran the warehouse out of one of our garages – we just did it really small scale. It was those very beautiful early days when [we were] just running down to the post office ourselves. So yeah, we didn’t get investors – we didn’t want to and we didn’t need to.”
Work to your strengths. You won’t be doing any favours to yourself, your team or your business if you try and be something you’re not when it comes to your company. Instead, surround yourself with people who will compliment your strengths – and more importantly, your weaknesses.
“I love my team but I’m not much of a team player,” Zoe admits. “I’m a writer, I write autonomously and I write solo [but] I couldn’t have done it by myself, of course I couldn’t have, there’s no way I could have done it by myself.”