Tricia Cusden is the founder and MD of Look Fabulous Forever – a makeup brand of online products specifically for older skin. Following careers in teaching and management training, she re-trained as a makeup artist and was 65 before starting the business. The company has a strong pro-age ethos – celebrating beauty in older faces, and aims to give older women confidence about their age and appearance.
As the winner of our SME Emerging Business of the Year Award, we took the time to learn more about her business journey so far.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I was 65 and I hated the way that the traditional beauty industry was only interested in selling me anti-ageing products. I found that insulting because it assumed I wanted to look younger. I don’t – I just want to look fabulous! I was also finding it difficult to source products which worked well on my older face, eyes and lips. I just thought ‘there must be other women who feel like me’ and decided to launch Look Fabulous Forever.
What were some of the initial challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
There were relatively few challenges initially. I quickly found a cosmetic manufacturer who supported the whole enterprise. The only two problems I encountered were with a consultant who behaved without integrity and a website designer who produced a commerce website which wasn’t really fit for purpose.
How did you fund your business?
I used £40,000 of my own savings
What is your top tip for growing your business?
Use content marketing if you haven’t got much budget. We put videos onto YouTube, used Facebook and a weekly blog post to reach our niche market without spending much at all initially. Then give outstanding customer service.
Why would you recommend that people build their network and find the support they need to start and grow their business?
Networks of any kind may be useful for all sorts of reasons. As potential customers, as potential suppliers (we found our excellent accountant via a women’s network), also as potential sources of knowledge and information.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It has been difficult at times. The business has grown very rapidly and sometimes the only solution has been to work 14 hour days, 7 days a week. But no more! I now have a team around me and concentrate on what I am best at, I have my life back thank goodness!
How has mentorship made a difference in your business?
I have consulted various people that I rate at various times and asked them for help and advice. I have been met by tremendous generosity.
A short piece about your business, product and services
Our business sells pro-age makeup specifically formulated for older women. We sell exclusively online and to customers worldwide. We use video tutorials to show how our products work and how best to apply them. I feel that Look Fabulous Forever is about more than just makeup – it is underpinned by a philosophy of embracing and celebrating our ageing selves instead of being full of dread and fear.
Below is a video from the live judging day hosted at the awards sponsors HSBC’s office in Manchester.
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