Riddle me This… Helen Elldred
Up close and personal with Founder of Effortless Skin, the UK’s leading online retailer of cosmeceutical and condition-specific skincare
If you knew then what you know now……….would you still do it?
The answer to this has to be a loud, resounding yes. As a business owner you go through a rollercoaster of emotions, one day you’re elated because everything is going so well and the next minute you feel challenged from every direction because something came out of nowhere and created a whole heap of mess. What you can’t see at the time is that these highs and lows start to even out the more established your business becomes, and that in the main, when something comes out of left field, it rarely has the big impact you think it will.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s not so much advice, more of an observation. A business mentor I met recently on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme told me that if he puts a wall in front of me, I’ll figure out a way to go around it or get over it because that’s what entrepreneurs do, and that’s what I’ve been doing since I launched my company. I guess I’d never thought of it like that before, but now every time I come across a problem I think of what he said and I know my actions are more strategic and thought-out because of it.
What was your biggest break?
At 25 years old I became the Group Marketing Manager for Europe and Asia for a global publishing company. I had to hire a team and take on a lot of responsibility for someone of my age. At the time I thought nothing of it. I knew I’d worked hard to get that job but I took it all in my stride. When I look back now I can see what a big deal it was. It gave me the opportunity to see lots of places and meet lots of amazing people from around the world. It really opened my eyes to cultures and taught me how to hold my own in business meetings too. It definitely helped me do what I get to do today.
What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?
That I don’t like wine!
Do you consider yourself lucky?
I don’t believe in luck. I think you make your own opportunities and you have to be ready for those opportunities when they come along. Luck assumes you were in the right place at the right time, but actually you probably worked hard to get there and created the possibility of an opportunity.
What’s most important in your life?
My family. My husband and our two daughters are my entire world and everything I do is with them in mind.
What brands do you admire?
There are a few but my all-time favourite has to be Oprah’s personal brand. This woman is inspiring, compassionate, commercial, and real, and she’s wrapped it all up into a brand that is difficult not to love. She lives her best life which is aspirational. She’s a true hero of mine.
Do you have a guilty pleasure – if so what is it?
I don’t know if this really classes as a guilty pleasure but my ideal, peaceful night consists of reading a good book with a glass of red wine while listening to some relaxing jazz in the background. It sounds cheesy but it’s bliss, and it rarely happens.
Describe your personal sense of style.
I’ve never been one for the latest fashions. My style is more classic. I have some wardrobe staples for all seasons and tend to add to these each year. I love jeans, knee high boots and cream jumpers in the winter, and I’ll often style them up with some aviators and a trench coat. Summer is more about linen, maxi dresses, and sandals or wedges. I do try and make an effort though. I think you give your confidence a boost when you feel good.