Whilst putting together this feature, and becoming increasingly inspired, we mentioned how fitting it would have been to have published it on International Women’s Day – a few months ago. Which got us thinking, as cliché as it sounds, every day is International Woman’s Day.
Last month, after attending a wonderful breakfast celebrating two creative and super talented women in business (and a new super duper lipgloss that is now a daily staple) we caught up with both Arabella Preston (Founder of natural skincare brand, Votary) and Rae Feather (Founder of beach accessory label, her namesake, Rae Feather).
Keep reading to find out how both of these women conduct their days and their thoughts on business, ‘switching off’ and keeping bees!
HI ARABELLA, HI RAE! TELL US ABOUT YOUR BRANDS, WHEN, HOW AND WHY WERE THEY BORN?
R: I felt there was a void in the market for resort wear that was made from natural fabrics and was affordable. I struggled to find comfortable pieces that would breath, not stick, looked chic and did not cost a small fortune. In the process, we were doing a photoshoot and included the monogram basket which had been the brainchild of a supplier of mine in Portugal. I posted on Instagram and it literally caused such stir. The brand took on a whole new meaning and we became the it beach accessory brand.
A: Votary launched in September 2015. I was working as a make-up artist and had started blending my own facial oils to prep my clients skin. I felt there was a big gap in the natural skincare market for a beautiful, luxurious and transformative line. To me, naturals are the epitome of luxury and should have packaging and branding to match.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
R: As I get older I find I wake earlier and I go to bed earlier. I have coffee, catch up with emails, and usually do an instagram post, all in bed. I get up around 7:30 and then either do a spin class (I’ve just taken delivery of a Peleton bike and the novelty has not yet worn off) or I go for a swim. I’m in the office normally around 10 am. Every day is different and my role is very varied. I look after Social Media, marketing, and design – I like the variety but there are often a lot of plates spinning. If I am not the office I am in London at meetings or travelling.
A: I work from home in Kent most of the time. I drop my children at school then try and squeeze in a quick walk across the fields near to me. I then sit at my desk in my home office until pick-up time! My business partner, Charlotte, is based in Oxford so we talk on FaceTime 3 or 4 times a day. I’m in London once or twice a week for meetings. I love nothing more than a hotel breakfast meeting with a large plate of pancakes to keep me going.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
R: I drink Americano with a dash of cold milk.
IN THREE WORDS, WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN SOURCES OF INSPIRATION?
R: Travel, colour and nature
A: Nature, girlfriends and family
WE KNOW IT’S CLICHÉ, BUT LOOKING BACK, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELVES AT THE START OF LAUNCHING YOUR BRANDS?
R: Take it really slowly. We started too fast and fell into the trap of too many product categories, too much stock and not enough avenues to distribute and create revenue. There is that famous Warren Buffet quote “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant” …
A: It will be harder and more complex work than you can possibly imagine, but worth it every step of the way.
HOW DO YOU ‘SWITCH OFF’ AFTER A WORKING DAY?
R: I leave the office at around 6:30-7. I live in the middle of the countryside and I often go for a walk in the fields or I go to the cinema. I love film.
A: A long hot bath with a few pumps of Votary Antidote Oil and a good book.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSElVES AND YOUR BRANDS IN 10 YEARS?
R: I hope to have exited in the next 10 years. However, I hope Rae Feather continues to grow and maybe even become an international brand.
A: I hope more of the same. Still learning, growing and enjoying…
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU – BUSINESS OR PERSONAL – HEADING INTO SUMMER?
R: I love doing what I do. Long term – It is great privilege to a. work and b. do something that I am truly passionate about. I’ll keep doing this for the foreseeable future. Short term – I have 3 sons who will break up from school in a few weeks and I get to spend time with them. We have a few trips planned and I can throw myself into them and make memories together.
A: Our New Natural Lip Oil has just launched and I am looking forward to that heading out into the world. On a personal level Summer means time in the garden. We have just started keeping bees and so crossing fingers and toes in expectation of honey!
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Inspiration/Image Credits: votary.co.uk, raefeather.com, instagram.com/votarylondon