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Career and Finance

Having qualified as primary school teacher, StyleSavvy's Laura Jordan never imagined that her passion for fashion would ultimately result in a hugely popular business, piquing the interest of the press and public alike.

Now a highly successful style consultant, fashion presenter and personal shopper, Laura's journey from the classroom to the changing room was not without its challenges, but a genuine love for the job and a desire to reach people on a personal level means the StyleSavvy star is only in ascendence.

Here Laura recalls the moment she realised StyleSavvy had potential, the lessons she's learned along the way, and why The Devil Wears Prada rep has never sat well with her.

“Developing a business was never my plan which is the interesting part. I was a primary school teacher, happy out working away in that job, but I've always had an interest in fashion and shopping." she reveals as she chatted with SHEmazing

"And I soon learned I loved shopping for other people as much as for myself which was good news for my bank manager," 

“I went to the Institute of Design one summer. Obviously, as a teacher you have better holidays and more free time than you do in other jobs. I studied there one summer and ironically I now teach there so it’s come full circle. I loved it."

Laura didn't make any rash decision upon the completion of her course, saying: "I spent about a year, I suppose, deciding what exactly I’d do with that qualification, and I‘d go shopping with friends and friends of friends, and then it got to the point where I wanted to establish it as a business."

"It was not ever going to be just Laura going out shopping, I wanted a brand with it, but I always thought it would be a sideline," she explains.

"Many teachers have something else they do alongside their job, and I thought it would satisfy my interest and I would still have my normal job.”

She soon realised, however, that juggling both jobs was unrealistic.

“It grew and grew and I was trying to balance two things. I realised the challenge that was there at the start wasn’t there anymore, and I wanted to see if I could develop it, I just wanted to see where it could go."

"I went to the Enterprise Board, and that was a turning point for me. They have a business clinic, and they asked if I could come in the next day.”

Recalling the hours leading up to her appointment in the business clinic, Laura reveals that she poured her heart and soul into a plan to present the following day, saying: “I ended up staying up that whole night making a plan, making accounts to bring into them to show them I was serious. And they said it definitely had potential and I remember getting into my car and crying."

"I couldn’t believe other people could see potential in something I was only starting to see the potential in myself. And from then I took a break from school and haven’t gone back, and started pushing it full time.”

Considering the success of StyleSavvy, it's hard to believe that Laura's background in business is essentially non-existent.

"I don’t have a business degree. I have absolutely nothing. I have a genuine passion for making people feel good about themselves through the way they dress and their image and how they interact with other people. And that’s the reason I did it," she explains.

A steep learning curve, Laura saw the benefits of surrounding herself with people of varying skills, admitting: "I’ve always asked for help."

"You’ve got to surround yourself with people better than yourself. You need to put people who are better than you around you. Admit you don’t know how to do it, and you have to give control.” 

"The girl who ended up being my mentor was from the business clinic," Laura continues.

"She listened to my pitch, and I asked her would she mentor me and she would. We met regularly. She could be pretty blunt and she told me some hard truths but I’ll always be thankful for her."

Remarking on the initial day-to-day running of the business, Laura added: "I’ve literally had to learn how to use Excel. You learn pretty quick if you quote the wrong price. It’s been through trial and error. 80% of it has been myself with a calculator and trying to figure out."

And being a fully-fledged business owner means that Laura must accept that the standard workday no longer exists.

“For me, the downside of the job I do is that you can’t decide you’re working 9 to 5 and then turn off your phone."

"On average I work a 12-hour day because when you get home you have to look after social media. You have to be on when other people are off."

With a nod to her need to delegate and seek help, she adds: "I have someone who looks after my social now, I have learned that if I don’t take time off I get tired and sick and I can’t work.”

“I find it really, really hard to switch off. That is the biggest challenge of this job. It consumes you, it is like a child. It does take a significant toll on your social life and your personal life because you have to put work first."

"In this job, I do media work, present seminars, and a lot of shopping appointments. And I’m particularly conscious that with shopping appointments, this could be the woman’s treat for the year and I'm there to give her the best experience."

Admitting she rarely has an off-day, she adds: "I constantly feel pressure to represent the brand. It’s always in the back of your head. Just because of the nature of work that I do, girls are fascinated by it, and people will ask you about this, that and the other on nights out."

"I don’t have a typical day. My service levels are straddled over most areas, business, education or personal. You need organisational skill. You can’t afford to drop a ball.".

While StyleSavvy has received considerable praise since its launch, Laura acknowledges that her business is often subject to criticism.

"People say it’s an image-based analysis of a person. But you often see it changes the inside of a person. It boosts their confidence. It helps them push forward in other aspects of their life," she stresses.

And it sounds like this aspect of her job is undoubtedly the crux of the business – something Laura acknowledges when reflecting on client feedback.

"I get emails from clients who say you’ve changed your whole perspective on myself," she continues. "The shopping appointments aren’t lucrative, but it’s the foundation of my business. The core is working with clients."

And with a great reputation, satisfied customers, and strong client relationships, you'd be forgiven for thinking the face behind Style Savvy might be entitled to take her foot off the pedal for a moment or two, but that simply isn't an option.

"The higher you climb, the further you have to fall," Laura warns. "I don’t think any entrepreneur gets that feeling that ‘I’ve made it’. The pressure increases, but so does potential. You’ll never reach a plateau where you think 'I’ve made it'. You’re constantly striving. You see potential anywhere."

Having started StyleSavvy with little to no experience of the world of business, Laura is well aware that false starts are part and parcel of the journey.

"You have to remember you falter all the time, the same as everyone else, and I think that’s what makes businesswoman great."

"While we can be self-critical, it can stand to us in the long run. It works for us in business," she opines. "We’re shrewd enough to say I’m not sure if it’s working out and we need to change it. We’re great at self-reflection, we can be hard on ourselves, we all put pressure on ourselves, but that works for us in business. You can channel it positively."

"Occasionally women in business have a reputation for being tough and highly competitive. In the fashion industry I blame The Devil Wears Prada for that one. In business in general, women have a reputation that they’re tough hard and always stressed. It’s not the truth. Any I’ve met have been positive and encouraging and motivating."

And for the woman who hopes to launch her own business or make strides in her field?

Laura says: "It takes twice as long to get half as far. You do find you get impatient."

"Yes you have to push and struggle, but if you keep pushing it’s a reminder you need to take a step back and take a different approach. And always try your best to work smarter, not harder."


Jennifer Rock, also known as The Skin Nerd, is a self-confessed skin fiend.

A qualified beauty therapist and a dermal therapist, she has travelled the world lecturing on skincare to fellow therapists, nurses and doctors, and has gathered a wealth of knowledge as a result of her collaborations with fellow professionals.

She believes in a three-pronged approach toward skin health: feed the skin inside with good food and supplements, respect the skin on the outside with quality skincare, and finalise the process with high-quality mineral makeup on the top.

Jennifer sat down with SHEmazing for an exclusive chat about the launch of her business, the obstacles she has faced and the advice she would share with fellow businesswomen.

Jennifer reveals that establishing her own business has always been a dream of hers, saying: "I've always worked for others as though it was my own business.This industry is my passion and career all rolled into one, so it was the natural progression to influence my career myself."

Like many business owners, Jennifer admits that her there is no such thing as a typical day in the life of The Skin Nerd – an aspect of her job she truly relishes.

"I could be doing a treatment on a celeb, attending meetings for my product Cleanse Off Mitt, writing an article/newsletter for my newly launched website, MCing at an event, lecturing in the Royal College of Surgeons. It's bananas but I would not have it any other way. "

And while there is no doubting the pleasure Jennifer derives from her business and its success, she acknowledges it can be difficult to switch off at times.

"'Consume' sounds negative but my business and this industry is a large part of my life – and I enjoy it! I am learning to switch off though! Many say that this is not a healthy way to live, but this has always been me. I am often in trouble for how fast I talk – that's just my brain!"

To the public, Jennifer's success appears almost seamless –  an endeavour that went from strength to strength – but the businesswomen is at pains to stress that she has encountered her fair share of obstacles along the way.

Reflecting on the initial launch of the Cleanse Off Mitt three years ago, Jennifer says "I was not prepared, I did it all wrong and I learned my lesson the hard way."

"I've learned to slow down somewhat, become patient, and listen to others more experienced than me. It's a huge huge learning curve and I’m still in the thick of it."

But if you think recent successes means Jennifer is happy to rest on her laurels and bask in the success, you'd be very much mistaken. Jennifer does not take her success for granted, and still finds herself marvelling at her numerous accomplishments.

"Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I see people read my website or a magazine article featuring me, not aware I'm sitting there beside them, or when a room-full of people send me a Snapchat picture of them holding my Cleanse Off Mitt, or when I see hundreds of people listen attentively when I talk," she reveals.

"But perhaps I need to reflect more sometimes. I'm truly appreciative to be in the position I am in. I’m lucky to have great friends and family who have been rocks and huge supports along the way."

And when it comes to representing The Skin Nerd brand 24/7, Jennifer makes no attempt to present a diluted version of her life, saying: "The version of me that I portray on social media is authentic, so it really is me."

"It’s perhaps a more professional version in some respects but me all the same! What you see is what you get – spots, face masks and all! "

Reflecting on the importance of seeking advice when needed, she explains: "I'm part of an amazing initiative called Going For Growth, which is run by Paula Fitzsimons. It is a business programme that offers structure, themes and round table meetings to businesses as they grow."

"This has to date proved invaluable in terms of the connections and soundboards I have encountered. I also believe that in order for me to grow as a business owner I need to learn from other sectors, and both male and female successes, so I am open minded to learning always.

"The website has been more successful than I could ever have imagined. I'm a doer, and possibly not the best planner, so I'd suggest more research and time management than I did – but ultimately I work off the premise "believe in yourself and do it," she says when asked what nuggests of advice she would pass on to budding entrepreneurs.

"This is possibly not business-orientated, but I really do believe there is a lot to be saying for trying. I've been working toward this goal for years, I've double jobbed, triple jobbed, said yes to it all and then mastered it."

"It doesn't fall on your lap, it's a determination bordering on obsession that will see you through the late nights, tired mornings, dark circles and onto the eventual rewards."