IT’S NEVER TOO LATE…. to be­come a Youtube star!

Five years ago, Tri­cia Cus­den had never used Face­book. Now aged 70, she has be­come an on­line sen­sa­tion. Her make-up videos have had more than four mil­lion views – and they’ve made her a for­tune, too. This is how she did it...

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents -

On Satur­day morn­ings, you’ll find me do­ing my make-up in front of the com­puter. I sit close to the we­b­cam and use the screen for a mir­ror, the lens trained on my face as I ap­ply dif­fer­ent prod­ucts and ex­plain the process. When I’m fin­ished, I up­load the video to Face­book and Youtube. There are no fancy ed­its or ad­just­ments – it’s just me in my house, a white wall be­hind me, ex­plain­ing how make-up works.

Amaz­ingly, these home-made demos have be­come some of my most pop­u­lar videos to date. A 14-minute-long piece about ap­ply­ing eye make-up has had over 92,000 views. At 70, I’m liv­ing proof that age shouldn’t be a bar­rier to achieve­ment. We all have the power to be com­pe­tent and ca­pa­ble, and we can all look good, too.

It all be­gan five years ago, shortly af­ter I re­tired from my job as a man­age­ment con­sul­tant. My fourth grand­child, In­dia, was di­ag­nosed at birth with a rare chro­mo­so­mal ab­nor­mal­ity, and spent months in in­ten­sive care. We had no idea if she would sur­vive. That year, I gave all my time to sup­port­ing my daugh­ter, Susy, and her fam­ily.

Thank­fully, In­dia pulled through, but as nor­mal­ity re­sumed, I found my­self think­ing about how life can change in an in­stant. I’d

‘It’s a myt h that older women aren’t tech-savvy’

al­ways been a go-get­ter, and I rel­ished a chal­lenge. I didn’t want to waste my re­tire­ment sit­ting on the sofa; I wanted to do some­thing, to get out of my house and my com­fort zone. It was then that I had an idea.

I’m a life­long make-up lover. But, as I grew older, I didn’t like the way that the beauty in­dus­try only seemed to be in­ter­ested in sell­ing anti-age­ing prod­ucts to women of my gen­er­a­tion. I was per­fectly happy be­ing in my 60s, and re­sented the as­sump­tion that I should do ev­ery­thing in my power to turn back the clock. I wanted to em­brace my age – to work with the skin I have rather than try to con­ceal it. Speak­ing to my friends, I re­alised I wasn’t alone. Spurred on by my daugh­ters, Susy and Anna, I de­cided to cre­ate a make-up range for older women.

I knew that there was a new mar­ket for older women seek­ing beauty ad­vice on­line – 76% of 55- to 75-year-olds use the in­ter­net each day. I be­gan by cre­at­ing a web­site, buy­ing and reg­is­ter­ing my cho­sen do­main name, Look Fab­u­lous For­ever. As­sess­ing my fi­nances, I set aside £40,000 of my sav­ings for the ven­ture.

With a cos­metic man­u­fac­turer in Ip­swich, we came up with a range of 12 prod­ucts that would work well on older skin. When I ex­plained my idea to the com­pany, they showed great faith and agreed to pro­duce 200 of each item rather than their usual large batches, so that I could af­ford to buy prod­ucts grad­u­ally. I also en­rolled on a week-long make-up course at The Beauty Academy in Lon­don, where I got a good ground­ing in tech­niques.

I knew I wanted Look Fab­u­lous For­ever to be about more than make-up. I wanted it to be a plat­form to chal­lenge as­sump­tions about older women, chang­ing per­cep­tions and giv­ing them a voice, prov­ing that age is no bar­rier. Work­ing in man­age­ment, I’d used video all the time for train­ing, so I knew it was a bril­liant medium for show­ing peo­ple how to per­fect a skill.

I hired a stu­dio and crew and in­vited two friends to be filmed. They were made up by a pro­fes­sional us­ing my prod­ucts, while I did a com­men­tary. I wanted to use the videos as tu­to­ri­als on the web­site and en­cour­age women to try the tech­niques and prod­ucts.

When the videog­ra­pher sug­gested putting them on Youtube, I was

dis­mis­sive – I didn’t re­ally know what it was. I wasn’t a celebrity, so I as­sumed that no one would want to watch them. But I soon re­alised how wrong I was. Within four months, my two videos were be­ing viewed by thou­sands of women ev­ery day and shared across the world.

The power of so­cial me­dia was phe­nom­e­nal. To be­gin with, I hosted makeover par­ties at cus­tomers’ houses, but it was more cost-ef­fec­tive to work from home and only sell through the web­site. I had no over­heads, and I didn’t pay my­self a salary for the first two years. Ev­ery penny I made went di­rectly back into build­ing the busi­ness.

Mean­while, the Youtube suc­cess caused sales to climb rapidly. In 2014, turnover reached £100,000, and in 2015, it sky­rock­eted to over £500,000. The fol­low­ing year, we were able to move into an of­fice build­ing, hire more team mem­bers and to take in £150,000 of in­vest­ment money. My daugh­ter Anna is now man­ag­ing direc­tor, while Susy took on the ac­counts and is now op­er­a­tions direc­tor. Work­ing with my chil­dren has a won­der­ful fam­ily feel.

I con­tin­ued to hire pro­fes­sion­als to make videos, but as time went on, I de­cided to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. Along­side the stu­dio record­ings, I taught my­self how to make and up­load videos to Youtube. My first

make-up tu­to­rial took half an hour to make. It was clunky and ba­sic, but within 24 hours, it had re­ceived 125,000 views. Peo­ple loved the fact that they were so close up – they could see ex­actly what I did with the prod­ucts.

I’ve learnt that the key to suc­cess is great con­tent. With thou­sands of up­loads ev­ery day, Youtube is a chal­leng­ing place to get at­ten­tion, but by pro­vid­ing use­ful in­for­ma­tion in an ac­ces­si­ble way and link­ing to the Youtube page through Face­book, our videos have had more than four mil­lion views to date.

Look Fab­u­lous For­ever is fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful, with a turnover last year in ex­cess of £2 mil­lion. This year, we are aim­ing to dou­ble that fig­ure. We have launched in the US, and won sev­eral small busi­ness and start-up awards. I con­tinue to blog, and have just pub­lished a book that aims to pro­vide a guide for ev­ery aspect of age­ing suc­cess­fully, in­clud­ing make-up, style and how to stay con­fi­dent. In the fu­ture, we are also plan­ning to re­launch the makeover par­ties, and hire am­bas­sadors to run them so that women over 60 can earn money by sell­ing our make-up.

I firmly be­lieve that grow­ing older doesn’t have to be about quiet with­drawal. It’s a myth that older women aren’t tech-savvy, and it’s never too late to set your­self a new chal­lenge. Re­tire­ment is just the be­gin­ning! ◆ Liv­ing The Life More Fab­u­lous by Tri­cia Cus­den (Orion Spring) is out now

Tri­cia: ‘Age shouldn’t be a bar­rier to achieve­ment’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.