We’ve all heard the spiel on what makes a successful entrepreneur — this includes motivated morning routines for a productive day.
Kate Shapland’s blunt admission — I do not do the thing where I wake up and do an hour’s worth of yoga and eat chia seeds” — is like a breath of fresh air.
Further illustrating that she’s not your run-off-the-mill go-getter, she denies she’s an entrepreneur. “I’m just an ideas girl. I’m not driven by money,” she says with a laugh. The founder of Legology, a leg care brand that targets leg shape, comfort and health, readily admits that she rejects the word ‘entrepreneur’— even after she tell us that she has created a drink, and even a skincare range with Debenhams.
In Singapore as part of Net-A-Porter’s beauty trends presentation, Shapland’s brand has joined the beauty lineup for the luxury e-commerce site. We speak to her about her years as a beauty journalist, and what spurred her to create a range that specially caters to legs.
The Beauty Journo was Born
Shapland kickstarted her career almost 30 years ago in the world of editorial. Contrary to what you’d think, it didn’t begin with beauty. “I went to work at Harper’s Bazaar (then called Harper’s & Queen) as a fashion secretary, and [under fashion editor Hamish Bowles] I hated it. I was so bad. I knew quite quickly that I wasn’t a fashion girl, but I knew I loved beauty. So I moved, and never looked back.”
On what made the industry particularly enticing, Shapland shares that, “there is this sense of community, many of whom I still know and are my great friends. There’s always something new, and it’s got that glamorous veneer but at the same time, there’s science and technology involved. I just loved it as a girl in twenties. Lipsticks on tap!”
Shapland went on to dabble in multiple gigs, including TV slots, radio and glossies, until she arrived at The Telegraph, where she helmed an award-winning beauty column for 14 years. “This is the job that ground me,” she says with conviction. “Back in the day they used to write me letters. And they’d write about things that were so off the wall. The strangest things. There was this old woman who used to write to me constantly, and once she even asked me for (hairstylist) Sam McKnight’s number for a perm. I just thought how wonderful that was — she was 80 years old!”
Her biggest takeaway? That the reader knows more than journalists and industry insiders think they do. “When I took on the job at Telegraph, I told my editor that I need to have a voice as I’ve done this for a long, long time. I tried to put myself in the position of their friend, sister and guided them in what they knew and wanted.”
Shapland started writing the column when niche brands started appearing. “In order to make the column engaging every week, I’d write about the core, big brands, but I’d also write about soap being made by a monk on an island off the coast off somewhere and I wouldn’t care if I had to go there to get it. That’s what people loved.”
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In winter legs reflect how we feel at this point – a bit heavy, a bit weary and in need of a tonic. The solution is a bit of self-time – you, in the bathroom, body brush in one hand, exfoliator in the other, and a workhorse leg cream or oil to finish. It doesn’t take long to bring legs back from the brink – they respond quickly if you treat them the right way. KateX #LegologyLove #LIFTOFF @legology.uk . . . . . #legs #legsfordays #legology #cellulite #anticellulite #longlegs #cellulitetreatment #cellulitereduction #detox #bodycare #ukbrand #energy #positivity #confidence #happy #happylegs #greatlegs #jumpforjoy #bereal #loveyourlegs #bodyconfidence #beauty #igbeauty #beautygram #wellbeing #womeninspiringwomen
How Buyers’ Attitudes Have Changed Over Time
Shapland laments a lack of loyalty that’s arisen in buyers. “Women were never particularly loyal to cosmetics. But in the UK, where women are a bit slow on the uptake as they’re more wary, that’s changed. They’re buying more and more products. Sometimes they simply buy because it’s new, and there’s no loyalty. They’ll try a moisturiser and try a different brand for serum.”
When asked how brands keep clientele loyal, Shapland declares that women want credibility. A whole new set of challenges for beauty brands who want to keep their clientele loyal. “It’s an onslaught of product and noise. When you’ve got an expert behind your brand, whether it’s a facialist, massage therapist or hairstylist, it’s the way forward.
How Legology was created
When asked the million dollar question on why she chose legs as a focal point, Shapland is quick to declare that it spawned from her personal issues. “We all have them. I’ve always had cellulite and it bothered me. I used to get puffy legs, and it’s partly genetic. But working in the beauty business fuelled that obsession. Everyone always used to laugh and say: ‘Oh god, you’re obsessed.’
“When I told my beauty writing colleagues that I’m going to develop a range, they said they said ‘Thank god for that, you can stop talking about bloody legs!’ I thought the consumer is not being served very well. It’s all about cellulite and while that is an issue, it’s not what leg care is all about. Leg care needed a grown up approach, such as proper, considered, really good formulas.”
That “A-ha” Moment
Shapland credits Capri Leg School as her main source of inspiration. “My editor Michelle at Telegraph encouraged me to do more on legs. When she told me that she’s sending me to a place in Capri called the Leg School, I thought she was joking. The place was incredible. Italian women would go for three weeks every year, and have all the therapy treatments. It was random and bonkers but glamourous. How lovely that you wouldn’t have to sit there, eating a lettuce leaf and being told you need to swim 50 laps.”
Legology as a Brand
The Amalfi lemon scent of her products takes inspiration from the spa. “It evokes a sense of holiday, being safe, and that feeling where no one can get you on phone. When you use a Legology product, you’re meant to feel confident.”
On What it Took to Move from a Journalist to a Beauty Boss
Shapland is adamant in telling us that she was never the type to think she’d “be [her] own boss by age 21”. “I spent a decade thinking about it. I wasted three to four years trying to get a person to do it with me because I didn’t feel like I have an understanding of the business side of things. I didn’t understand things like negotiating costs.” Shapland’s first major problem was finding a manufacturer that could make her 500 units of Air-Lite. “Even then I had to beg,” she says. “What made it easy for me is that I sold the whole lot of the Air-Lite within a month. I went back into production, and the next time made 1,500, and I did it incrementally. It costs me more, but I always felt I ready have all those products, fewer than to sell them, and have sleepless nights about being to sell them.”
Life as an entrepreneur
Shapland does not hold back on the everyday problems of running a business. “That cashflow, it’s really horrible. I go into the office and I can’t look at the bank accounts. I can’t face it sometimes, knowing all this stuff has to be paid for. The funny thing about running a business is you run into a problem this week and you think it’s huge, but next week, you’ll run into one that’s worse than the last. One week, the wheels fall off a lorry you hired, and then next week, you’ve got £1000 left in your bank and you have to pay staff. You have to have nerves of steel.” But her eyes light up when she looks at the products displayed in front of her. “I still look at them with slight disbelief. I think, “wow, I bloody well made it! So even if this is what I achieve for the rest of my days, I would be delighted.”
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Fast, effective, simple – body brushing is about the simplest body care habit you can have, it really doesn’t deserve the bad rap it gets for taking up time in our busy lives. While it helps to remove dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), giving smoother and brighter skin, the most important thing about body brushing is that it assists in improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. By releasing toxins, it encourages the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes so the body is able to run more effectively. And the only thing you need to benefit from body brushing is your leg/body brush at hand. I designed the most user-friendly brush possible: LYMPH-LITE Boom Brush For Body is a round wooden brush with natural bristles and a hand loop. It is specially made to be easy to hold – it fits perfectly in the palm of your hand so you can grip it firmly to do short, sharp flicks over your legs and body. It should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes, and you can do it in the shower, after the shower or before it on damp and dry skin. #LegologyLove #lymphlite #bodybrush @legology.uk . . . . . legs #legcare #legology #cellulite #anticellulite #longlegs #alllegs #legsHQ #detox #legexpert #leglife #energy #positivity #confidence #happy #happylegs #greatlegs #jumpforjoy #bereal #loveyourlegs #bodyconfidence #beauty #igbeauty #bodycare #beautygram #wellbeing
On People She Looks Up To
“I admire people with a clear vision and go aftertit, because I know now what it takes to be that person, the dragons you have to slay, and how ruthless you’d have to be.”
What’s Next for Shapland
Shapland shares that she’s looking at an expanded range, including a fitness range that complements the health benefits of workouts. “I’m also looking into incorporating my products into professional treatments at high-end spas. How lovely would it be to step off the plane here and have someone really sort out your feet with these products?”