London Beauty Queen started in 2010 after author Hayley Carr had worked in the beauty industry for six years. Hayley realised her love for beauty when she wasn’t working in the industry anymore and now works on London Beauty Queen and LBQ Consultancy full time. Hayley is today’s JingleBlogs advent calendar entry, which is accompanied by a short festive profile.
What makes your blog different from other beauty blogs?
A lot of the others were beauty enthusiasts, writing about expensive or niche brands they loved. When I first launched my blog I was talking about more affordable products you could get from the High Street, and talking about them from an insider’s point of view. Rather than just saying, ‘this is really pretty’, I explain what is going on behind the products. When I do product reviews I am much more interested in the ingredients and what the brands are claiming.
What’s your advent competition?
Throughout December there’s a different competition running every day to say thank you to my readers. 2013 has been the biggest year for my blog so far; it’s become my full time job and I’ve launched the consultancy too. Every day there’s a different prize up for grabs, from nail varnish to electric toothbrushes and hair straighteners.
Why did you decide to launch your consultancy?
I launched my consultancy over the summer to run in parallel with my blog. Because I’ve grown my blog to what it is in about three-and-a-half years, I was finding a lot brands and bloggers were asking for my advice, support and insight. It was a natural progression to launch the consultancy off the back of that. I’ve been working with beauty brands on their social media, training them up internally and working on product launches. I’ve also been working with bloggers on a one-to-one basis to help them understand the potential of their site and turn their blog into a career.
Who is your target audience?
I always get asked this and it’s such a vague answer. It’s literally anyone from 18-60. I write about such a varied product selection, from a £1.99 lip balm from Boots to an £80 perfume from a boutique in Chelsea. My audience covers those extremes and that’s one of the reasons I’m unique, because I can cover all those basis. I do have a lot of younger readers that like my bargain buys and top three; they come to me to find out where they should be investing £20. However, I also get older people who are after really good skincare advice; they’re happy to spend the money as long as they get the right products that work.
How do you work with brands?
Brands send me information and products to test and try. I do a lot of reviews and collaborative posts, and I tell stories through features like the Brand Focus, where I literally explore the back story of a brand and the ethos people are buying into. I’ve also done more long-term work with brands where it’s mutually beneficial. I worked with Galaxy for about a year and a half, where I wrote about upgrading your every day life in simple ways; this tied really nicely into their relaunch. I also do one-off campaigns, run a lot of competitions, sponsored content and articles.
What advice would you give PRs?
Whenever PRs and brands that are reaching out to bloggers they should think, ‘Is this genuinely interesting?’ So many emails land in my inbox that are dull and lack substance, but many PRs genuinely think they’re interesting and that I will jump at the chance to feature their brand. PRs should also have realistic expectations; I get a lot of people approaching me who are offering something average, but if there’s nothing in it for me I’ve got no reason to feature it above another brand or product. That’s something they can struggle to understand: they assume if they find it interesting, I’ll find it interesting. There’s no point writing about a brand’s special offer if there is no kick back for me or real story to wrap it around.
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