1 Mar

Coup de Grace

Kate Cracknell meets Grace Fodor the woman behind Studio10, the Guildford-based beauty brand that is going global in its bid to provide beauty products that meet the needs of the more mature woman.

When asked to interview Guildford-based beauty entrepreneur Grace Fodor, I had to look twice at her photo because she appears much younger than her 50 years. She’s the perfect advert for her cosmetics company, Studio 10, which helps older women defy the signs of ageing.

Grace’s company was born out of her own desire and frustration to find make up that made her look and feel good and that really worked for her age. She also has a passion for make up and possesses a natural entrepreneurial streak.

“I felt something was missing in the market and I was looking for a make up range designed for women as they age. There wasn’t a brand specifically tailored to my needs to combat the signs of ageing.”

Before setting up the company Grace spent 18 months extensively researching the cosmetics market. She worked alongside dermatologists and internationally renowned makeup artists to explore the ‘aesthetics’ of make up to correct and conceal. The cleverly formatted products, for 35 plus women, are enriched with advanced anti-ageing ingredients and animal cruelty free. Grace says it’s a bit like having an; “instant face-lift without the surgery.”

Grace understands that busy women don’t have the luxury of spending hours applying make up. “My morning beauty regime literally takes two minutes.” This is because Grace uses her Skin Perfector, a Studio10 best-seller.

Many of the traditional make up brands tend to be about the look for the season influenced by the catwalk, red carpet or celebrity. “We’re not high fashion. Studio10 is all about covering, correcting and concealing the signs of ageing.
It is about quick-fixes to cover the age spots, dark circles, redness and fine lines while adding definition, shape and pigment that
we lose through ageing.  Make up really can transform and turn back time.”

Grace has already sparked a cult frenzy with India Knight from the Sunday Times hailing it as ‘genius’ and celebrities such as; Michelle Collins, Melanie Sykes, Lisa Snowdon, Suzi Perry and Jenny Frost who are already
firm followers.

“How women feel about age can be quite negative, no one really wants to age, but it’s not about being younger, but looking younger. If you look good, you feel good. You should do what is right for you, it’s about putting your best version forward.”

Grace wants to be known as a ‘disrupter’ shaking up the cosmetic’s industry. Studio10 is in its second year and is now a global brand selling throughout the UK, the US, Australia and South East Asia, which isn’t bad considering the headquarters are still situated in a working studio in Grace’s Guildford house. Grace employs local women and jokes she’s even recruited outside her daughter’s school gates! She also welcomes flexi-working to help her team achieve the sought after work/life balance.

“I also recruit older women into the business. My latest recruit is 56 – she had a wealth of experience and expertise and is perfect for
the role.”

Grace is a mum of three girls aged; 17,14 and 10 and is more than familiar with the juggling act of being a business woman and mum and striking the right balance. She admits she works 24/7. “With owning your own business, you are permanently connected. My head is always buzzing and it can be difficult to switch off.”

When Grace does relax, she enjoys walking her dog and taking in the breath-taking scenery of the Surrey Hills and the splendor of Winkworth Arboretum. She feels lucky to live in Guildford and is a huge fan of the high street with great shops and wonderful places to eat.

She has just celebrated her 50th birthday and admits it wasn’t an easy milestone. “Fifty just sounds older so middle aged!  I’m passionate about redefining age, but also 50.  I really want to support and empower women as they age. We should feel confident and be visible and seen as being valuable. Beauty is ageless.” She really admires Dame Judi Dench for her strong attitude: “She’s 81 and got her first tattoo – age doesn’t hold her back.”

Grace’s ethos is simple: “If you look good, you feel good” and vice versa and she wants women to look beautiful, befitting of their natural. She also offers master classes so women can learn her tricks of the trade.

So what’s next? “My personal goal is to redefine beauty for older women and for the business to build a globally renowned brand that really makes a difference in women’s lives.” With such a positive and determined attitude the world is Grace’s oyster.