Beauty entrepreneur, businesswoman, charity founder, wife, mother and the woman behind one of the most revolutionary beauty products of the last 20 years, we meet the auspicious Liz Earle…
When beauty writer Liz Earle and her old friend Kim Buckland joined forces to launch the Liz Earle Beauty Company in 1995, few could have foreseen the phenomenal success their ‘naturally active skincare’ range would attract and the impact they would quickly make on the industry.
Fast forward 20 years and mother-of-five Liz – now an MBE – is not only a global ambassador for the company, which is now owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, she has turned her attentions to an exciting new venture, Liz Earle Wellbeing digital magazine and website. From environmental concerns to sustainable nutritious food and botanical beauty advice, in essence, Liz is shifting her focus from what’s on the outside to what’s on the inside.
‘As a rough rule of thumb I’d say that the importance of what we put on our skin and what we put in our body is 50/50 – we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that good skin cells are created from within,’ says Liz.
Yet forget the raft of uber-trendy, uber-gorgeous 20-something food bloggers rising to fame with their specialist recipes using exotic ingredients few of us have ever heard of, Liz’s wellbeing tips are down-to-earth and achievable. Besides, Liz was writing about juicing and eating yourself beautiful before many of these bloggers were born!
‘Life is very busy and full and there are a lot of women who, like me, have to juggle,’ she tells me. ‘We can really help ourselves by looking at what we are eating. Very simple switches in the supermarket can make a big difference to how we look and how we feel.
‘But there are limits to what I can cope with and I don’t want to feel guilty because I’m not serving the latest brand of roasted quinoa soufflé or whatever it is. For me, good nutritious food has to be fast, easy and family-friendly.’
Liz is equally as frank when talking about balancing motherhood with her career and the challenge of trying to plan her schedule around her five children in the early days of her beauty company. ‘I don’t think there’s a mum in the country who works and doesn’t feel, at times, that they don’t get that balance as well as they would like. If you’re getting it mostly right most of the time, that’s to be commended and that’s my goal,’ she says.
‘I live on a farm in the West Country so I try to have Mondays and Fridays at home and do my travelling and city living in London from Tuesdays to Thursdays, although it doesn’t always work out like that. I’m a huge fan of technology, which allows me to do that. It’s really changed my life as a working mum.’
From modest beginnings, Liz’s business credentials are certainly impressive and there are plenty of lessons learnt along the way that shape how she operates today. When quizzed on the most resonant, she impresses the importance of making measured decisions.
‘We are all very tuned in to responding at the click of a mouse and in this high-speed world it can be very tempting to react too quickly. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Allowing a little bit of time and space to be more considered is really important and I think you learn that with the benefit of hindsight. If I haven’t got time to think about things and people are hassling me for an answer, my motto is always “If it has to be now, it has to be no”.’
With so many strings to her bow, it can be difficult to define Liz and she certainly doesn’t like being pigeonholed, so it’s interesting to learn how she prefers to be labelled.
‘I’ve been described as an ethical entrepreneur, which I quite like. There are all sorts of other things; bestselling author, LiveTwice charity founder, wife, mum, and I feel very privileged to say that and to be doing something I passionately believe in.
‘I remember interviewing the late great Anita Roddick [founder of The Body Shop], when I was a journalist nearly 30 years ago, who told me, ‘If you do something you’re passionate about in life, you never actually do a day’s work.’ I don’t think that’s entirely true, but there’s a sentiment there and I don’t feel that I get up and go to work, I feel that I get up and do what I do and am who I am.’
Images: Patrick Drummond, John Wilson