60 Seconds with Charlotte-Anne Fidler of Spots & Stripes
Charlotte-Anne Fidler is the founder of exciting earth-friendly tween beauty and young skin beauty brand Spots & Stripes. Designed exclusively for 8-15-year-olds, Spots & Stripes step in when the baby and child formulas no longer cut the mustard. The range is fun-looking, natural, gentle and it works!
We first met Charlotte at Fetcham Park when she was the creative director on a photoshoot with Jodie Comer – now the infamous Villanelle in the hit TV series Killing Eve which returns to our screens this month.
In this 60 seconds with…interview, we catch up with Charlotte to find out how she is taking the tween market by storm and her advice for making it in the fiercely competitive world of beauty.
FP: Tell us a little bit about your background and experience…
Charlotte-Anne: I studied Philosophy and Theology at Oxford and then went straight from there to Vogue. I’m not quite sure how that happened! I literally wrote to them and asked for a job and was lucky enough to get one. I then had a 20-year career in glossy magazines – I worked for nearly all of them: ELLE, Marie Claire, US and UK Glamour. I started out in beauty, which I was always fascinated by, and then, eventually, become a creative director, which meant that I oversaw the whole visual side of the magazine, shooting covers, overseeing fashion and beauty.
FP: How did your early career influence where you are today?
Charlotte-Anne: Working in magazines meant that I spent years honing my writing, my styling and my art directing. I worked with some of the best photographers in the world and some of the best hair and make-up artists. It was a very creative environment. You have to come up with creative solutions to problems every day and they have to be on brand for whatever magazine you are working for (which is great training for building a brand!). I also became very good at spotting trends a few years before they became mainstream. But it wasn’t until I left magazines that I had time to work on my own brand idea.
FP: What inspired you to set-up your own business?
Charlotte-Anne: I had the idea for Spots & Stripes when I was trying to buy Christmas presents for my 11-year-old daughter. I knew she loved bath, body and beauty products, but I couldn’t find anything out there that would appeal to her tween sensibilities and have the natural/safe ethos that was so important to me. The idea was in my head for about a year before I actually sat down and mapped it out. And it took almost three years from that first power point presentation to launch.
FP: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Charlotte-Anne: When you’re working in a sector that you don’t have experience in (i.e. beauty product manufacturing), you are literally like a blind person trying to find your way. I didn’t know how to find a manufacturer. I didn’t know where to get my bottles. I didn’t know where to source my labels. Each step has meant meeting people, asking a million questions, following up leads. You know so little that you don’t even know what questions to ask half the time!
FP: What has been the most valuable piece of business advice you’ve received?
Charlotte-Anne: Trust your instincts, even if everyone is telling you otherwise.
FP: To what do you attribute your success?
Charlotte-Anne: I’m not sure I’m a success yet! But if I am, it’s two things. One, my ability to create a complete brand world – where everything from the website design to the visuals, to the packaging, works seamlessly together. Two, because I have very high standards – okay just doesn’t cut it around here.
FP: What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting up their own business?
Charlotte-Anne: Make a plan. Meet experts and ask their advice whenever you get the chance to (they are usually happy to give it). Take the leap, because if you don’t invest those savings or give up the day job, it’s not going to happen. And then keep going…
FP: Who or what inspires you?
Charlotte-Anne: Entrepreneurs who have a vision for something new and make it work, despite the doubters and the mistakes.
FP: Who would you like to work with, if anyone, and why?
Charlotte-Anne: The top people at Glossier. I’m fascinated by that brand and admire their business model and their products.
FP: What’s coming up for you and Spots & Stripes?
Charlotte-Anne: We’re launching a fantastic 100% natural deodorant in the summer. A natural deodorant that works is the Holy Grail of products and we’ve done it! And expansion into the US.
To find out more about Spots & Stripes visit https://spots-and-stripes.com