How I got here: Zoë Foster Blake
The former Cosmo beauty editor, author, app creator, Go-To skincare founder and all-round #BOSS shares her secrets
How did your career start?
I went to uni, did media comms then went into mags. During my Cosmo years I started writing books and blogging at a time when digital was new. My career was always writing in some format. Even now with GoTo, I see the words! The quality of the products are paramount of course… but the words!
When did you decide to go from print to digital?
I wrote Air Kisses [Zoë’s first novel] while at Cosmo and by the time it was published I was at Harper’s Bazaar. Around then I was approached to launch [beauty website] Primped. People were like, ‘You’re mad! you’re leaving the best beauty job to go online!’ But you should be taking risks – that’s when the great moments happen.
Was that a pivotal career moment?
Absolutely. I started travelling a lot and blogging and became editor in chief of Primped, and I was onto my fourth book. It was that beautiful moment when your passion project starts to outweigh your need for a fulltime job. I don’t think you should give up your full time job until that moment!
How did Go-To come about?
I had talked to a fashion line about doing a capsule makeup collection, but I quickly realised I wouldn’t have any say over quality or what was in it. My name and all the work I had put into building integrity would be in the hands of someone else, so I didn’t do it. But it got me thinking. Then a friend in the skincare business got sick of me telling her what to put in her products, and she said, ‘You do it!’
How did you turn Go-To into a fully fledged business?
We didn’t even have a business plan! There were just four of us, all with specialised skills. We are a fantastic team because no one treads on each other’s toes. We just started, and that’s the joy of a lot of small businesses. We were also nimble – it’s like digital where you can correct quickly because you’re little.
Was it a hard slog?
You can make it as hard or as easy as you want. What I love about today’s commerce landscape is that there is no barrier to entry. I love the feminism of that. You just have to be willing and ready. And it’s a full time job so you don’t switch off at five o’clock. I think because it’s my name, my face, my ideas, my products, my everything, there’s pressure. That’s why I get to version 88 of something, and I drive everyone mad! But I stand by it.
And Go-To is going global? US Sephora invited us to the party! I manifested this; I said if we go to the States it will be Sephora. They’re good at beauty and they’ve started the Clean Initiative which is a big wall in store, and everything on it is free of nasties. We are really, really pleased to be part of that. But there are challenges! In Australia our direct consumer experience is so controlled… we have to make sure they get the experience there too.
‘You should be taking risks – that’s when the great moments happen’
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