A Q&A WITH THE PIXI WOO SISTERS; BUILDING A BUSINESS EMPIRE
This morning I was fortunate enough to meet Sam and Nic the founders and faces behind the Pixi Woo brand and our favourite drug store make-up brushes, Real Techniques. The breakfast meeting was an informal Q&A with the two entrepreneurs to discuss everything from their career journey and their YouTube channel, to importantly their business and how they’ve created a hugely successful brand and business from doing what they love the most, make up.
Both Nic and Sam were incredibly down to earth, funny, real and genuine and one thing is obvious, this authentic and genuine voice is what has turned their YouTube channel into a business empire for the two sisters. They talked constantly about connecting and relating with their audience and consumers of their products, and for them the goal and purpose was not and is not about money, subscribers or fame, it’s about doing what they love and helping people along the way. And whilst it’s easy to say that, it was really obvious it’s true, from not only what they said and the passion they spoke with, but also from the content they create and the authenticity of that content and their business values overall.
I was really fortunate to chat to Nic properly at the end of the session about the industry more broadly, my own blog and taking the leap into entrepreneurship as well as her experiences and advice. Her encouragement (and recognition) of my own blog was unbelievably inspiring, and at a time where I’m really thinking about what I want to do with my blog, my business, where I want to take it, how I want to run it and how I want to change things up, her words, advice, and encouragement could not have been more more inspiring but also the perfect time for some guidance.
These girls have created an exceptionally lucrative business, from genuinely doing something they’re passionate about, and despite the fame and madness that surrounds their lives and the Youtubing world they work in, they’re totally grounded, real and relatable, and I think this is half the reason they’ve become the successes they have. Today I wanted to share a few of the key things I took from the Q&A this morning (I took 10 pages of notes ha) and my conversations with Nic and Dom (her Gleam talent manager) after the session … I hope they leave you feeling as inspired as they did me.
Give one thing 110% & forget the rest
This point I particularly loved as it’s something particularly pertinent to my own blog plan and the journey I’m on, so speaking to Nic on this point and hearing her advice and tips was really helpful, relevant and actually just what I needed to hear. Ultimately their belief is that you should produce the content you love, your passionate about, that you can’t wait to write or film … the rest, leave it. It’s better to focus your energy on those quality pieces, and don’t stress about conforming and delivering all the added extras that you may feel you should do. For me, this was the perfect advice I needed in relation to my daily blogging and the debate I’ve been having with myself in regards to reducing the volume of content i produce in order to focus on better quality posts, my social strategy and my network … not least my home life.
Nic and Sam spoke a lot about the importance of finding your own grove and working to your own agenda, and not letting people around you and other peoples successes distract you from that … Tanya and Jim’s success could have easily distracted Sam & Nics approach (which was less about social fame and more about helpful make-up tutorials and video content) despite the fact they actually helped them set up their own channels. But they stayed true to their own vision hence their avoidance of snapchat and vlogging, and a focus on quality tutorials and efficacious products that they work exceptionally closely on (it takes 2 years before they let a new brush go to market, because they want it to be perfect). The point was, focus on your journey and passions, don’t worry about what is happening around you and give 110% to making something amazing, rather than trying to do everything mediocrely.
Always be your authentic self & don’t sell yourself out
Integrity is vital, when I asked about how they earn money from their YouTube channel and other business ventures, it was clear that sponsored content and collaborations was a very minimal part of their business, largely because they never want to sacrifice their brand integrity and the trust of their fans, for a little bit of money. The projects they select are genuinely because they love the brands and believe in their values, the content always add value to their viewers, and collaborations are never based on cash alone. It was interesting to know that they’ve only done 2 -3 paid for brand collaborations on their YouTube channel in the last year or so.
“money is the by product of doing the thing you love”
A lucrative business requires you to diversify your income
If you want to go full time or turn your blog or brand into a business, then having a stable and regular income stream is key. What I found really interesting though is that for the Pixi Woos their income is really diversified, their business is largely driven by their make-up brush range and other business deals, with content and brand collaborations on their YouTube channel forming a very small part of their business model. This in itself was so interesting and really opened my eyes to the reality of taking my own blog full time … diversifying your income and finding ways to make a living outside of just selling your content is critical, not least because your content is precious and it’s authenticity worth protecting.
It’s okay to take a break
Sam took 6 weeks off at Christmas because she simply needed a break. We all know the importance of time out to feel re-energised and motivated, and both sisters really reiterated this point. Don’t get me wrong, they work until 2am frequently and travel non stop, but they still make time to have a break and enjoy time with their children which is really important to them. I think this balance is what makes them so relatable and aspirational in many ways … yes it’s hard work that got them to where they are, but it’s the pragmatism of working healthily that keeps them going.
An organic journey will sustain in the long run
It was really interesting hearing Sam talk about how she started the YouTube channel back in 2007, simply a way to share a smokey eye tutorial with a friend who’d asked, she thought an email would be hard to follow, so she filmed herself instead. The file was too big to send, so she loaded it on YouTube. And there it all began. It was lovely to hear how organic their journey was, in fact it was companies and managers telling them that the Pixi Woo name was a brand in its own right that finally made them believe they had a business. They’re humble and this genuine approach is what makes them such an inspiring duo. It’s obvious those bloggers or YouTubers who are funding their way to the top, buying followers and selling themselves out, but you can tell, and ultimately if you start with money as your motivation it won’t last and it won’t sell in the long run.
Actually what was really great to hear is that despite the fact they now have employees (family and friends largely), they actually still film and edit all their content, spending up to 6 hours editing and getting it ready for YouTube. And … they respond to all the comments in the first 2 days of each video going live. It’s their passion that shows in their work and their attitude.
Promoting healthy body image is important & there is a responsibility that comes with that
Clearly Sam and Nic have been fortunate to meet and interview a few huge celebrities, including the likes of Kim Kardashian. But it was humbling to hear that it’s the make-up artists of these celebrities that really excites them the most. In fact they’re passionate about promoting a healthy body image and in many ways discourage the extreme contouring and ‘masking’ many celebrities embrace as part of their brand image. They’re all too aware of the hours and hours that goes into making these top celebrities look the way they do, but many don’t and in reality this is a huge issue in society and a major contributor to body image issue that many men and women face. They themselves feel a real responsibility to promote a healthy approach to make-up and beauty, and i personally really respect that.
The future of vlogging and blogging
A big question, and one answered with conviction. It’s scale and potential will continue to grow, but what will change is the way in which brands themselves work with influencers and content producers. Exclusivity deals and more collaborative and genuine partnerships will increase, with the mass product badging that currently occurs slowing down, leaving room for true integration and collaborations.
My out-take from it all? The key for influencers and content producers is carving your own route, always being authentic and true to yourself, not selling out for some quick buck and genuinely focussing on and producing content that you feel passionate about … giving those few pieces 110% and not pressurising yourself to do everything and anything to keep up with everything flying by beside you.
And Nic’s advise to me … you just need to take that leap, sometimes you need to stop trying to do everything and just focus on the things you love. Don’t worry about trying to maintain blogging daily, give the bits you love 110% and don’t let the rest worry you. Little did she know this nugget of advice came at a really pertinent time in my blogging journey, when after nearly 5 years of blogging I’m genuinely starting to think a little more strategically and carefully about my blog, where I want it to go and what I want it to become. I put so much pressure on myself to keep up my daily blogging, in my head it would be failure if I changed this, but the reality isn’t true. Maybe it’s time to take the leap and give the things I love the focus they deserve. Thanks to the Sam & Nic for sharing such wise words.