There's something to be said about the reality TV entrepreneur. We have featured quite a few ladies who have utilized their TV presence to build businesses and leave the limelight behind. Tamara Ecclestone stands apart in her unnerving capabilities to create a brand so glamorous and chic that women are only too enthralled to be buying it en masse.
Ecclestone, formerly of her TV show Billion $$ Girl is the daughter of billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One Mogul. And yet, instead of relying on her fame for her fortune, Ecclestone has gone out of her way to become a powerhouse female entrepreneur and role model to her three-year-old daughter Sophia. She weighs in on subjects such as breastfeeding and raising children as a working mother on her "Fifi&Friends" blog that she has also managed to turned into a business.
But the real star in her business repertoire is her haircare brand Show Beauty, which has gained respect worldwide for its quality and branding prowess. Sold in a range of stores including Sephora, Harrods and everything in between, Show has managed to stand out in a very saturated haircare market as a burgeoning industry leader.
Below Ecclestone talks with SWAAY about business, motherhood and how her father inspired her to get into the business world.
1. What inspired SHOW?
After years of having my hair styled on photoshoots, I never liked how the products made my hair feel or how the products looked. I realized there was a gap in the market for a luxury haircare line that looked beautiful and worked. I always felt there was something missing when it came to a haircare brand that felt luxurious, so that was the inspiration for SHOW Beauty.
2. How does it differentiate from its competitors?
SHOW Beauty is luxurious, and the products not only work but smell special and look beautiful in your bathroom or handbag. Most luxury haircare brands still look pharmaceutical, but SHOW is something to be displayed, and not hidden away.
3. Describe your business strategy in short - what do you do to stand out in a saturated beauty market?
SHOW Dry allows women to have fabulous hair without having to sit in a salon for hours, and we ensure the experience is as luxurious as possible. We have both signature and express services which allow for very busy schedules alongside early and late opening times to accommodate busy women. We also offer personal iPads at each station and complimentary refreshments and nibbles throughout the appointment.
4. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs starting up?
Women should believe in themselves and follow their interests. If you are passionate and driven about your career and industry, you are more likely to work harder and go further. I am so passionate about beauty and hair which is why I created the SHOW Beauty brand.
5. Do you plan on remaining in haircare or will you branch further into the beauty business?
We've just launched our Care Collection consisting of shampoos, conditioners and treatment masks which target key concerns in the market including moisture, repair and volume, so we're concentrating on those currently. I'm also very excited to share that we have also launched a new SHOW Dry salon in Manchester UK, and next, I'll be focusing on my new parenting venture, Fifi & Friends.
6. Does your father's being in the public eye affect your business?
I've always been inspired by the resounding professional successes of both my parents; my motivation stems directly from my father's fortitude to maximize every opportunity, and my admiration and affection for fashion come from my mother. These family values remain the cornerstone of all my endeavors and I relish the challenges of being a wife and mother, while building on my passion for business and beauty.
7. Briefly describe your morning routine.
I'm an early riser so I wake up around sunrise at my home in Kensington Palace Gardens in London, where I live with my two-year-old daughter, Sophia, and my husband, Jay. First on my agenda is making a cup of green tea. I then check my emails and wait for my daughter to wake up.
As a family we have breakfast together before Jay leaves for work. Then it's mother-daughter time: we laze in the lounge watching cartoons on television, playing games and having cuddles. This is my favorite part of the day – I cherish playing together before the day gets into full swing.
8. Name a business mogul you admire.
My dad gave me a lot of advice when I started SHOW Beauty; it was important for me that he believed in what I was doing.
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.