Natalie, what are the 3 things in your daily life that you simply cannot live without?
Love, laughter and my Bible In One Year App!
If you had to choose one, what beauty, makeup or wellbeing product what would it be and why?
My Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil. If I have to go make up free at last I know my skin will be beautifully clean!
As a multitasking woman… family, career and business, how do you manage to make ‘me time’?
I love to take time out and grab a coffee and a book! You can often find me in my local Costa (the staff know my order off by heart!). After catching up on my emails and writing my blog posts I try to take some time to rest and read. I also love to binge watch my favourite series’ on Netflix!
I love that your brands Beauty PulseLondon and Keziah Connects are built around celebrating black beauty and entrepreneurship. What motivated/inspired you to launch your brands?
I started my marketing career in the beauty industry over 10 years ago. I have a passion for products and the experience of purchasing the items so it was wonderful to be able to work in a sector that one is very passionate about. My only major gripe was the lack of representation of women that that looked like me in the marketing and PR communications. The Black British woman was invisible to the industry as she was often invisible in the society at large, thus I started my blog beautypulselondon.com in September of 2011 to a contribution to redressing the balance. My mission for my blog is to utilise the platform and leverage the power of social media to communicate a much needed message: Black women are beautiful and make an invaluable contribution to British society that needs to be recognised and celebrated. My blog afforded me to build a wonderful community of WoC beauty bloggers and beauty and lifestyle entrepreneurs and professionals – women who were doing amazing things! In 2012, I had a eureka moment – I was meeting all of these fabulous women on an individual basis, what would happen if we all came together to network, connect and inspire each other on our journeys? Thus Keziah CONNECTIONS was born, a network that facilitates and encourages the empowerment and progression of Women of Colour in the British Beauty (and Lifestyle) Industries.
Do you think that how women define their beauty is changing to a more individual approach or are we still being dictated to by society at large?
I feel that we are no longer inspired solely by celebrities and those in the limelight but by our fellow females who share their amazing style via social media. Some trends that are sparked by celebrity usage trickle down to the mass user (such as contouring), however it is wonderful to see many diverse interpretations of these trends by very creative individuals.
Do you think that social media has helped to push the cause for greater inclusiveness in the beauty industry?
Social media has certainly increased the visibility of a diverse range of beauty. The fact that WoC YouTubers and Instagrammers such as Jackie Aina, Patricia Bright and Shayla Mitchell aka MakeUPShayla have amassed millions of followers, demonstrates that there is a market that these women speak to. All of these women have also been snapped up to work with major brands, further illustrating the power of influencer marketing.
What I would like to see, is more WoC working behind the scenes – for brands, ancillary PR and digital agencies and in the press – to ensure that our stories are communicated accurately in the mainstream and that our concerns can be voiced.
Natalie you are very active in Mentoring and ‘paying it forward’: what is the key message that you want to share with aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Many of the women that attend the Keziah CONNECTIONS events are at a similar stage in their business or influencer journey, they are at the start of or are building a growing business or brand. Many of these women are also operating in similar categories such as haircare, skin care, beauty blogging and PR. What I encourage and I hope that the events facilitate is the sharing of experiences and expertise so that we can all grow together and become a force to be reckoned with as both producers and consumers. Sharing of oneself is really the way of doing business in the 21st century, be smart of course, but do not hold on to information in the fear of being outpaced. As the bible says ‘to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…’ I believe that everyone’s time will come if they are passionate, stay focused and work really hard!
Who inspires you and why?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! She is my best friend in my head! I admire her intelligence, wit, humour, candour and her passion for writing about and speaking on issues that some sections of society still frown upon, namely feminism and race. She is one ‘woke’ sister! It was also fantastic to see her in the role as brand ambassador for Boots No7 last year.
The word ‘Resilience’ is often used when describing the qualities of female achievers in all spheres: How does the word resilience manifest in your story or in your journey thus far?
This word became a reality two years ago when my eldest sister passes away very suddenly. It was a major shock and extremely upsetting for my family. However, I was determined to keep my activities going as much as possible and only cancelled one Keziah CONNECTIONS evening that year. I also continued to post to my blog. My motivation to keep the ball rolling as much as possible comes from a book that I read in my early twenties called “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell. One of the ‘laws’ is the Law of the Big MO – momentum is a leader’s best friend. By keeping the momentum, I was able to sustain Keziah CONNECTIONS for another year and this year the organisation will celebrate its fifth anniversary!
What would you say are your 3 most marked characteristics? Would your family and friends agree?
My most marked characteristics are my gregarious outlook, coupled with a no-nonsense approach to the projects I work on. This sometimes catches people of guard! I will certainly smile with you and make working with me as pleasant as possible, but I am a stickler for a spreadsheet and I like to back up my endeavours with research and status – which can drive some people crazy! I am also quite optimistic. I do think my friends and family would agree.
What is your favourite fragrance & why?
L’Air De Rien by Miller Harris. It is one of the most evocative fragrances that I wear. I always get asked what fragrance I am wearing when I wear it! The juice is unique and develops during the day in harmony with one’s own skin alchemy! I love the stuff!
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Featured image credit: Tope Beesley of Mahogany Naturals