Georgie Coleridge Cole grew up in London. She went to Edinburgh University where she received an MA in French. After working in marketing for COTY Beauty she founded SheerLuxe.com – an online lifestyle magazine with over 120,000 daily subscribers, a team of 15 and brand partners such as Made.com and NET-A-PORTER. The site has been profitable since 2012 and it took her just five years of mega hard work and determination to get there, plus she managed to have two gorgeous children along the way. We quiz her on everything from what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s world to where she gets her drive from and her favourite must have beauty products… read on and be inspired.
What led you to start up Sheerluxe?
I was always someone people would go to for advice on things like where to find the best white T on the high street, and friends would often say ‘oh I love that top, it looks expensive?’ and I’d say, ‘H&M’’ I toyed with being a personal shopper for about 5 minutes – spent one Saturday morning traipsing around the shops with a friend and realised pretty quickly it was exhausting, not much fun and not for me. So I thought I’d write a book on the ‘best places to shop for x, y and z’ but online was just taking off and it went from there.
What have been the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in getting Sheerluxe to where it is today?
I was 25 when I started working on the business plan and I was very much on the back foot not having an established career and lots of contacts behind me. And online was pretty new so convincing brands of the value online coverage could bring was a challenge to say the least.
If you could give a single piece of advice to women looking to lead a successful business, what would it be?
To delegate to good people. We talk about the need to delegate constantly in this context and rightly so because it’s essential if you are going to move your business forward and work on the big picture stuff but it will never happen if you don’t have good people to delegate to. If you don’t trust they are up to the job you’ll just end up doing it anyway or re-doing it, which is even more laborious than doing it yourself in the first place.
What does a typical day-in-the-life of Georgie Coleridge-Cole look like?
Relentless. It’s normal stuff like getting my daughter to school, then my son to nursery then myself to the office. Constant interaction with my team in regards to editorial (I edit EVERYTHING before it goes out, brand, commercial, events – plus meeting with brands, agencies, working on new projects…. I get to the office at around 9.30am, eat lunch at my desk and if I am lucky get home for 7pm to put my children to bed and then if I am not out at something I carry on working until bed.
What is your go-to outfit for a day in the office?
Trousers. Skirts in summer, some days a leather skirt in winter but generally denim, denim and more denim. Plus a jacket, leather biker, simple knit or blouse. Pretty much always flats too unless I have an event that evening. I love an accessory or a bit of shearling but generally my wardrobe is quite simple and mainly all black, blush, grey and cream. Just like Sheeluxe really.
What’s your favourite thing to do to ‘switch off’ from work mode?
Exercise. I see a PT twice a week for just half an hour to work on weights. Cardio I can do myself. I have always been a gym fanatic and go religiously 4 or 5 times a week but I had been all about cardio up until the last 6 months and I love the change. I also love a leisurely dinner out.
Have you know since you were young the industry which you wanted to work in?
I remember thinking I’d really like to work in magazines but knowing how competitive it was and ultimately deciding that if I wanted to work in the industry I would have to make it happen myself! I am not a very patient person…
Any top-tips for managing a young family and busy career?
It’s tough, it’s seriously hard work. You have to have help. You have to be flexible and be there at nursery or school when they need you (or the guilt gets to you) but then be prepared to make up the time that evening and work until midnight to get done what needs doing. Running your own business means it never goes away but you can and should be flexible because that is one of the reasons you do it.
Who/what do you find most inspirational in your life?
Other successful women. I am not a raging feminist by any means but our generation of women are doing some seriously exciting things.
Name 5 beauty products that you cannot live without…
All the usual’s I’m afraid – Nars Laguna bronzer, Touché Eclat, Essie Fifth Avenue (THE best red, fact), Bobbi Brown Chocolate eye shadow (I am always asked what it is) and Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. There is a reason why that lot are all best sellers.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
You make your own luck …
What do you have in store next for Sheerluxe?
A lot! We never stand still! A new event to inspire women, further developments to the site, more fashion and beauty boxes (our first, that launched last week, sold out in a few hours) and, we are launching a fragrance next year! I started my career at COTY marketing fragrance brands like Marc Jacobs and Jennifer Lopez so I know and love fragrance and to create our own is literally a dream.
Interview by Meryn Turner