I love meeting new people, networking and learning about Brisbane’s colourful inhabitants, and I’m lucky that this role (#dreamjob) allows me to do this on a daily basis. This week for Spotlight On, we caught up with Fleur Madden – serial entrepreneur, complete #girlboss and owner/founder of two flourishing businesses. This lady doesn’t do anything half hearted; in fact, everything is done with extra sparkle and a whole lot of pink, so she’s our kind of gal. We’re lucky enough to work with Fleur and her team at The Red Republic quite regularly, so we are just thrilled to introduce you to her for today’s edition of Spotlight On with a little Q&A from when we caught up with the queen of sparkle herself, so read on for your daily dose of inspiration.
Brisbane Threads: Hi Fleur – can you tell us a little about yourself and your background
Fleur: I am the CEO of leading consumer communications agency, The Red Republic, and design studio, Design by Republic. I am also the CEO/ Chief Lulu of online beauty retailer Lulu and Lipstick. I started my career as a TV and print journalist and went on to move into PR, and I guess I haven’t looked back after 12 years of The Red Republic! I am 34, have two French Bulldogs Roy – Elvis and Frank, and a gorgeous man in my life.
BT: When did you establish The Red Republic and why?
F: 2003. It was an accident really. I was working for The Sunday Mail during the week, and ABC News on weekends, and I ended up with one free day during the week at one time. So I registered the name Red PR because I had red hair and started doing freelance PR. My Dad brought me a new computer and a printer and a few decent brands gave me an opportunity. I had no idea at the time that it would grow into one of Australia’s leading consumer agencies with offices in Brisbane and Sydney – especially being so young I was even more of a risk taker than I am now. 6 months into Red PR, I took a 3 year lease in Fortitude Valley and started employing staff. Celebrating a decade in business we had a brand evolution and changed our name to The Red Republic. The business has certainly grown with me and I am really proud of the business we are today and the team I have.
BT: And then Lulu and Lipstick… what’s the backstory behind the launch of the brand and online store?
F: I was doing some international work in NYC for The Red Republic and when I came back all the beauty brands I loved were no longer available to us. After much business planning, research and brand development Lulu and Lipstick was born. We are an online beauty retailer for unique and hard to find brands from around the world. We have also launched our own range of beauty accessories – our makeup brushes are to die for! (you can read more about them here). We have certainly become a destination for women who follow international beauty and love a bit of glamour in their life!BT: What is your career highlight?
F: It was probably last year being a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards. When I was a young journalist I had written many stories for The Sunday Mail on the awards and really admired the business women behind them, so to become one of them over a decade later was amazing. I never get nervous, but on the night I was so nervous that I think I actually missed the part where I was meant to enjoy the moment. I will remind myself of that next time a great moment comes along.
BT: Where do you look for inspiration and motivation?
F: Certainly internationally – I travel to international conferences for both businesses annually. My job is to lead and inspire others and it is very hard to do that if you do not further yourself. I would always advise business owners to invest in themselves. We can get so busy that sometimes we forget.
BT: What is your number one tip for budding creatives and entrepreneurs?
F: No one ever drifted to the top of the mountain. It is going to be hard and you are going to have good years, bad years and worse years, then you will have amazing years and that is the life of an entrepreneur. There is very little down time and you have to back yourself 100% of the time. There is no room for doubt, or playing it safe.
BT: What is your favourite quote…
F: Reach high, for stars lay hidden deep in your soul, and dream deep, for every dream proceeds the goal.
BT: And finally, what is your favourite makeup trend/product for the coming months?
The years big trend is contouring, and our go to for shapely features is the Kardashian favourite, and global best seller, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour kit. I can’t live without mine now. But I would have to say my favorite product right this second is the Grande Lash lip plumper- it is all natural and in 3 minutes you have full lips, which let’s face it, is what most of us are after! You can buy both at Lulu And Lipstick.