If you haven’t heard of London Beauty Queen, then where have you been?
Hayley Carr started the blog as a side project, while working as a brand manager in the cosmetics industry, writing about all things beauty from an insider’s perspective – what does the product really do and is it worth the money?
After just four months of beauty blogging, Hayley managed to get London Beauty Queen nominated for a Cosmopolitan Blog Award and has since won the P&G Beauty and Grooming Award for best beauty blog in 2013, been named The Rodial Beautiful Award’s best blog in 2012 and appeared as Harrod’s blog of the week. Through writing the beauty blog, which she now does full-time, Hayley has also judged the British Hairdressing Awards, Debenhams and Tesco Beauty Awards, and written for publications such as Company and Tesco magazine.
We spoke to Hayley AKA London Beauty Queen about how she’s become such a success in the blogging industry, how she deals with Twitter trolls, and why she can’t live without her iPad Mini or an app to track her period!
So, tell me about your book and your blog
I’d been running the blog for about three years and always believed I had a book in me. I love writing about the science behind beauty, explaining products and how they work, so it was a natural progression to collate all that information into a book. At the moment it’s just in an e-book format, but the plan is to expand it and get it published – at some point!
How did you get into beauty blogging?
I was bored one day, waiting for a new job to start, and I decided on a whim to give blogging a go. I’d worked in the beauty industry for many years and blogs had just started to take off and get noticed by brands, so they became of interest to me. In an arrogant way, I looked at a lot of them and thought I could probably do it better – so LBQ was born!
What motivates you?
Everything – the key to being a great blogger is taking inspiration from everything, everywhere. I read magazines, other blogs, talk to people, spend a lot of time on Twitter and take inspiration from comments/questions from readers. I’m motivated by the fact that this is now my job, so I have to make it work – although I’d stop the day I don’t enjoy it any longer. However, the biggest motivation is the feedback I get from readers; knowing I’ve helped someone make an informed choice is second to none.
Would you say there are a lot more women in the blogging industry? Why do you think that is?
I wouldn’t say so necessarily; I think it’s because fashion and beauty blogging is more visible and prominent, which obviously appeal to a higher percentage of women than men. However, I know a tonne of male bloggers that write about fashion, beauty, city living, technology, gadgets, beer… They’re just not as visible if you’re not necessarily looking. I also think women have more patience and will keep with something for longer, even if they don’t see success instantly – I’ve got a few male friends who started blogs, but after a few months realised it was a lot of work for little return initially!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into blogging?
You have to be passionate about a subject – as well as knowledgeable. With the growth of blogs, there are ten a penny out there offering the same information. You have to make sure you’re talking to readers with an obvious passion and giving them something to come back for. It’s also important to be yourself and to get across your personality. I’ve written a series of blog posts called ‘Blog Advice 101’, which aim to help other bloggers and give them a little guidance.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Probably winning my awards; getting recognised by the industry is incredible, knowing that someone values your work and wants to reward that. Also, turning my blog into my career has been an amazing journey – I never thought it would even be an option, but four years of hard work have proven that anything is possible if you work hard.
What else do you want to achieve in the future?
More success with the blog, growing it into a brand in its own right. I’d love to collaborate with brands on my own makeup accessories line, or become an ambassador for a brand I love. Other than that, I guess I just want to continue to love what I do and make a difference.
Do you have a five year plan?
Not at all. I always did when I was working 9-5 and running the blog on the side, but since re-evaluating and taking the site full time my plans have done a 360; I don’t actually have a plan! I think it’s important to just go with the flow, seize opportunities and not put too much pressure on yourself.
Have you made any mistakes along the way?
Oh yes, a lot. But you have to make mistakes to learn from them – which is fine, as long as you do learn! I’ve made all sorts of errors, from content to photography, relationships and levels of expectation. However, those mistakes have made me into the person I am today and provided a certain level of confidence; I’ve proved I know what I’m doing!
How do you deal with criticism and setbacks?
You have to take it on the chin and move on. Everyone in this world has got an opinion, which is fine, but you don’t have to listen to them all. You’re always going to get criticism or negativity, but the important thing is to take constructive criticism and act upon it in a positive way rather than letting it get you down.
What 5 apps couldn’t you live without?
Twitter, because it’s my main source of conversation, news and information. Facebook to keep up to date with friends, family and followers. Instagram for a moment of indulgence; there’s nothing like a gratuitous poolside shot. National Rail and the Tube Map so I can actually get from A to B without being late, getting lost or ending up unintentionally in Essex. And lastly a random one – but an app that tracks my lady time, such as P Tracker Lite! I literally wouldn’t have a clue what my hormones were doing or when I needed to stock up on essential items without it; it’s a life saver!
What phone do you have and why did you pick it?
I’ve got an iPhone 5. Basically I dropped my HTC down a toilet (don’t ask) and had to buy a rubbish Samsung temporary phone because it wasn’t insured. I got so fed up of it that I took the plunge and got myself an iPhone for the first time – best decision I ever made.
Aside from your phone, which piece of tech do you rely on the most?
Apart from my MacBook Air, which is my life source, I rely on my iPad Mini quite a lot for keeping up to date on the go – it’s great for checking emails, writing notes and keeping myself in the loop when I’m out for a day of meetings. It’s also pretty handy for watching eight episodes of Gossip Girl while I’m working at my desk; dual screening is so 2014.
How do you deal with haters, trolls and other internet nasties?
I ignore them. If you feed the troll they take the bait and grow; their mission in life is to get a reaction, so if you ignore them they quickly go away. I get a fair few anonymous negative and bitchy comments on the site, but I never publish them – I read and delete straight away. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re feeling the need to put someone else down then there’s something not entirely content in your own life. It says a lot more about them than it says about me.