Bad Mum

Magazine

18 May 2017

Business Feature - Interview with MyShowcase Independent Stylist Natasha Leger

Beauty, Business and Babies

The thing is there are so many of us now, and they all have kids - it’s the same story. What I am doing is building a really successful business on my own, as a personal Beauty Shopper and Independent stylist, and I am actually at the top of the league – it’s good, it’s really good”.

Natasha Leger went from PR for brands such as Ted Baker and Kickers for almost a decade, to one of MyShowcase’s leading Independent Beauty Stylists, Personal Beauty Shoppers and Entrepreneur in just over a year and is "Loving It!". 

I went along to meet Natasha and her gorgeous growing bump (soon to be baby number two), at Hampstead's hidden hotspot LLS Cafe, to discuss all things beauty, business and babies. Having first met Natasha at one of her charity showcases hosted by Nurturing Mums in aid of North East London Sands (Stillbirth & neonatal death charity), I was curious to know how and why she made the switch from corporate life to becoming her own beauty boss with a toddler in tow.


In a word, "redundancy".  According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) redundancy levels were at 117,000 in the UK (November 2016 - January), 42,000 of those were women. This coupled with childcare costs reported to be nearly £16,000 a year in London, and the Organisation For Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) claiming in 2016 that, ‘the average couple in the UK spends a third of their income on childcare costs’ – is it any wonder we are seeing the continued rise of the mum entrepreneur or #Mumpreneur, who have created businesses around the needs of their families and childcare.

So what is MyShowcase? The brand’s tagline is, “your personal beauty shopping service” and was founded by serial entrepreneur Nancy Cruickshank (remember handbag.com), award winning beauty journalist, columnist and Beauty Editor of The Telegraph for 15 years, Kate Shapland, and internet entrepreneurs behind the creation of Ocado, Rodrigo Dauster and Oliver Beau de Lomenie.

Shortly after it launched in 2012, The Telegraph reported that, ‘Nancy Cruickshank’s goal is to create thousands of female entrepreneurs’, and ‘created MyShowcase to provide an opportunity for women to work flexibly, selling the brands that Kate would curate at privately hosted events’.

This has certainly been among the benefits for Natasha, “There are no minimum targets, it is completely flexible, everything is how you direct it - you’re the boss of your business. So, for me that was great. I thought I will give myself 6 months. So I had January until June / July to see if I could reach a similar level to when I went back to work 3 days a week for my old company. I had a certain target. I reduced Christina’s [Natasha’s 3 year old daughter] nursery days to two days instead of 3 days, and I reached that level in 3 months with Myshowcase and the rest is history. I have been doing that now for over a year and I love it!


Four years on, MyShowcase is reported by crowdcube.com to, ‘…have achieved over £2m in revenue from 37,000 customers so far, with a forecast to double this to £4m in the next year’, and was named among The Sunday Times Top 15 fastest growing start-ups in 2015.

With a network of over ‘1,600 Stylists’ and partnerships with the likes of YouTube beauty phenomenon, blogger / vlogger Caroline Hirons, whose frank, no nonsense and hilarious beauty advice has given her a global following of 148,000 on instragam alone, with likes in the region of 3,000-5,000 per post. During Caroline’s recent live brand training she had some choice advice as Natasha recalls, “She was talking to us about face wipes, and she was like, ‘basically face wipes are for fanny, flights and festivals’.

She came and gave a talk, chose her favourite products and said why. Then we had four new brands that had just joined us who came and presented their brands, and then they would give us a goodie bag with products that you can go away and learn about - so you get lots of different ways to be trained. It is a gradual thing for sure. No one is expected to know everything at once, and there is always someone to ask. The bit that I know about the least is make up, and my mum is a Make Up Artist”.

Make up may not be her strong point, although | think she might be somewhat modest, as she certainly knows enough to currently be at the top of the league in her region. Even whilst recently holidaying in Cyprus with her family, it was still business as usual. Her social media feed is a buzz with product knowledge, showcases and events she has hosted all over the country. Natasha excitedly tells me that, “Literally this morning, Bagsy which is this a new make up brand that we have got, used my picture and tweeted, ‘we are overwhelmed by the support that the stylists on MyShowcase are giving us’ - it is so nice to make a difference to their business.

“I love that | am making a difference. I am helping clients with products that actually work, I am also helping these people to promote their brand, their products and their babies. Some of them are bigger than others, but they all have this mentality of a big independent brand that matters. A lot of these businesses, not all, are born from mum’s needs to create something.

“There is this one brand which I love, called Orba, which is really a non sexy brand, her strap line is ‘No Nonsense Skincare’, it’s little metal tins, it’s £12.00 a pot, it’s not expensive. One of her creams has goats milk in it, and is the only cream that fixed my daughters really dry eczema and really dry skin on her cheeks. The brand was born out of a personal desire for her. She is Black and she had really bad eczema, so she created something by finding out what her great grandma used which was plant based as a healer, and it has this whole story.



MyShowcase is said to, ‘represent over 45 of the best independent beauty brands, bringing you innovative makeup, skincare, bath & bodycare, fragrances and wellbeing edits’. Brands such as Percy & Reed, Bagsy and Aromatherapy Associates who won Best New Bath and Body Product, Best New Wellbeing Product, Classic FM’s Beauty Hall of Fame and Best British Brand at The CEW Beauty Awards 2017 (Cosmetic Executive Women), dubbed the “Beauty Oscars”.

It would appear that Nancy Cruickshank has indeed accomplished her initial mission of creating ‘thousands of female entrepreneurs’ and giving women the means and platform to work flexibly. Especially where mumpreneurs are concerned. Whether they are creators of brands or independent stylists like Natasha. “I had been in footwear for 10 years, and it was only when I first started doing showcases that I remembered all my job applications were in beauty. I applied for Chanel, L’Oreal, all these big companies when I left uni - which is really funny, I have come full circle”.  She may have come full circle, but I would argue she is now a budding beauty boss on her own terms.


To find out more about Natasha and MyShowcase, checkout her profile at: http://www.myshowcase.com/stylist/natasha_leger

Written by Thuto Mali @msfabshoes 


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