Image credit: Tom Stockill
Women over the age of 50 are often ignored when it comes to the beauty industry which has an unrelenting fascination with youth. Like many, Tricia Cusden felt invisible and neglected by the industry. Finding products which actually worked for mature skin was a nightmare and these frustrations combined with a yearning for a new challenge, made her set out to change this.
With the philosophy that “age is no barrier to looking fabulous”, Look Fabulous Forever was born in October 2013 and started to grow rapidly after launch. Four years later after much excitement and hard work, LFF is a well-established name in the mature beauty market and Tricia Cusden’s ambition hasn’t faltered following this success, she’s set on becoming the go-to beauty brand for mature women worldwide.
We spoke to Tricia Cusden, founder and CEO of LFF about her journey, the beauty industry and philosophies towards ageing.
What inspired you to start Look Fabulous Forever?
When I was 65 I was semi-retired and feeling in need of a new challenge. I have always loved makeup and business and I very much disliked the anti-ageing rhetoric of the beauty industry. I had some savings and thought I’d see if I could create a totally different kind of beauty business aimed specifically at older women and showing them in all their fabulousness, rather than urging them to look younger.
Do you have a quote you live by?
‘It’s never too late’. I have done many things in my life at an unusual age to do them – for example, being awarded a BA Honours degree at the age of 38, so if there is something you have always wanted to do – then don’t let your age be an excuse!
What drives you on to future success?
I have always been ambitious and love ‘putting myself on the line’ to see what will happen. I think that if you are an entrepreneur you never stop wanting to challenge yourself to see what will happen.
How would you say you’re redefining ageing?
Ageing is a natural process that happens to all of us every day. We have to stop seeing getting older as a kind of failure of will. At Look Fabulous Forever we celebrate older faces and older women in all their vibrant beauty and glory.
What gave you the idea to set up a beauty business aimed at mature skin?
My own profound frustrations with sourcing makeup which actually worked on my older face. When I had the idea for LFF, I was using around 9 different brands which I had arrived at through trial and error and wasting a lot of time, effort and money. I just thought ‘there must be loads of other women like me who feel this frustration!’ Our makeup is all about performance – how it actually works to make you look better. If the makeup didn’t perform as I promise that it will, we would not have been so successful.
What’s your favourite product from your range?
If I had to pick one I’d say that LFF Smooth Like Silk Face Prime is an amazing product. It makes everything you put on top – foundation, concealer, highlighter and blusher look better and holds everything in place from early morning to late at night.
What’s the most satisfying thing about running Look Fabulous Forever?
The customers and the team I work with. Our customers are a wonderful group of women who give us fantastic feedback every day about our videos and makeup – we regularly have comments like ‘you have changed my life!’ Also, the LFF Team, which includes my two daughters as our Managing Director and Operations Director, is fantastic to work with.
What’s your philosophy towards ageing well?
I see this third act of my life as my last great adventure. I am interested to learn what older age will bring. We are all living much longer lives so we need to make the most of this fantastic bonus of time. I intend to enjoy every moment of the time left to me.
Do you think attitudes towards age are changing from since you started the business?
There have been some shifts in attitude as companies wake up to the power of the grey pound. Some of them still get their appeal to older people spectacularly wrong by being patronising – for instance by using fit looking 60 year olds to advertise stair lifts. However the words ‘ageing population’ are still invariably used with the word ‘problem.’
What’s your go-to exercise, how do you stay fit?
I have a personal trainer who comes to my house twice a week. I started this at the age of 68 having done no exercise whatsoever in my life. I have been amazed at how quickly my body has responded and am much stronger and with improved balance. I also have an exercise bicycle at home for cardio work and always walk up stairs rather than take the lift.
What made you start a business rather than retire?
Retirement held few attractions for me – like most people I need to have a sense of purpose in my life. I didn’t expect Look Fabulous Forever to be so successful and to grow so rapidly but I am very happy that it has done so.
What do you see in the future for Look Fabulous Forever?
I would like Look Fabulous Forever to become the ‘go-to’ beauty brand for older women worldwide. My book ‘Living the Life More Fabulous’ which will be published on February 8th 2018 will hopefully get the message out to a wider audience and increase our brand awareness.
What’s the most frustrating example of ageism you encounter regularly?
Dior announcing that Cara Delevingne at 25 is their new ‘face of anti-ageing.’ The use of smooth young face to advertise skin care obviously targeted at older women.
Who’s your role model?
I love Helen Mirren mostly for her ‘take no prisoners’ attitude in life and Judi Dench for her irrepressible sense of fun and ‘joie de vivre’
Thank you Tricia.