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

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

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’

ZOË FI­NALLY HAS AN OF­FICE AND SHE LOVES IT!

ZOË’S PROUD OF THE CUS­TOMER EX­PE­RI­ENCE

GO-TO’S WORDY PACK­AG­ING IS ICONIC

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