5 min read

Recognising Our Inspirational Female Role Models

International Women’s Day is a time to recognise how far women have come, so it’s only right that we take a look at the women who inspire us to do what we do best. We have asked the women in our SEO, digital PR, content and paid media teams to share the women that they find inspiring in the retail, automotive or marketing industry.

Sophie Eldon on Charlotte Tilbury


“Not only am I obsessed with her makeup products, but I’m also extremely admirable of her success. Before launching her beauty brand in 2013, Charlotte Tilbury worked as a makeup artist at Fashion Week, creating makeup looks for all of the biggest brands gracing the New York, London, Paris and Milan runways. She’s also been the creative director for some of the leading luxury brands, has worked on over 100 Vogue covers and last year her brand was the official sponsor of the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. 

When her beauty brand launched in Selfridges in 2013, it became the retailers biggest ever beauty launch in terms of turnover. Pretty impressive considering the competition she had to deal with.  

Charlotte Tilbury

{Image Source: Getty Images}

In addition, Charlotte Tilbury is also an ambassador for Women for Women, an organisation set up to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. In 2016, she gave £1 for every lipstick sold in her Hot Lips collection to the charity. But, to top allllll of the above, in 2018 she was awarded an MBE from the Queen for her services to the beauty and cosmetics industry. Could she get any more successful?!

Her presence online is also really strong. In 2017, Charlotte Tilbury was the fourth most Googled beauty brand in the UK and the second most Googled beauty brand in the US in 2018. The brand regularly hosts interactive quiz’s to entice customers online and have used the feedback they receive online to transform their customer service to the best it can be.

Despite launching only a few years ago into an incredibly saturated market, the Charlotte Tilbury brand has gone from strength to strength. Her career is definitely an inspiration. “

Chrissie Waites on Mary Portas


“When thinking of inspiring and empowering women in retail and marketing, it’s impossible not to think of Mary Portas. She’s one of Britain’s leading authorities in the retail industry and is a hugely influential businesswoman, advertiser, Government adviser, broadcaster and consumer champion.

Mary Portas began her career as a shop assistant, in order to support her siblings after the loss of her parents. She quickly worked her way up to creating window displays for Harrods, Topshop and Harvey Nichols. While at Harvey Nichols, her displays began to be featured on guided tours of London, and she became Creative Director there before she was 30. She is credited with transforming the store into a modern and fashionable brand.

After leaving Harvey Nichols, she founded her own creative branding and advertising agency, Yellowdoor. In 2013, Yellowdoor relaunched as Portas agency, and continues to create successful campaigns for retail clients.

Mary Portas

{Image Source: Getty Images}

In 2011, she was asked by the then-Prime Minister David Cameron to create a report on Britain’s struggling high streets. The Portas Review looks at the reasons why our high streets are suffering, and offers specific recommendations from Mary on how to rejuvenate these areas.

She wrote a weekly column for the Telegraph Magazine called “Shop!”, where she reviewed a different retailer each week. This inspired her first television series, Mary, Queen of Shops, in which she tries to help various struggling fashion boutiques.

She’s constantly trying to reimagine the way people shop, which she has shown with her “Living and Giving Shops” in support of Save the Children; charity shops in affluent areas that offer designer pieces and boutique-style designs.

Her latest book, Work Like a Woman: A Manifesto for Change, calls for changes in the world of work, and is full of career advice for women in any stage of their careers. She calls for an end to “Alpha Culture”, and takes a pro-equality stance that emphasises support, flexibility and open-mindedness, which she believes would change the way companies work for the better.”

Stacey Barton on Hannah Smith, Head of Creative at Verve Search


“I have heard Hannah speak numerous times at Brighton SEO and Search Love conferences and every time I sit there thinking wow, this lady is amazing! The enthusiasm, passion and energy that shines throughout her talks is incredible and it makes me excited to go back to the office and share my new knowledge with my team. I find her talks make me think about outreach in a different way which helps with new ideas.

You can see how hard she has worked to get to where she is now from her knowledge and experience. I hope one day I can inspire someone stepping into content marketing as Hannah has done for me.”

Anna Tank on Vivienne Westwood


“Vivienne Westwood is best known as a British designer and businesswoman who introduced punk into mainstream fashion. She has been associated with controversial political statements and anarchy that launched her brand into the spotlight of 1980s fashion.

While being able to speak out against problematic views towards nuclear weaponry, war, the treatment of women and the civil rights movement, Westwood created an iconic brand that inspired countless designers to this day. With the help of Malcolm McLaren, Westwood started her retail business with a boutique shop on the Kings Road that became a focus point of the UK punk movement. After attracting huge attention, she then built up from one eccentric boutique into the international clothing brand we know today.

Vivienne Westwood

{Image Source: Getty Images}

Vivienne Westwood is a female figure to look up to because she thrives from her individuality and does not conform to traditional ideas of beauty or style, which ultimately lead to her success. This inspires my own creativity in order to make my own ideas stand out.”

Fran Griffin on Ann Handley


“Public relations is quite a female dominated industry, so it’s not hard to look around and find inspiring PR role models. One woman that has always stood out for me is Ann Handley – digital marketing and content expert, Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and keynote speaker. I first read her book Everybody Write – Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content in 2014, when I was in the early stages of my digital PR career.

Ann Handley

{Image Source: @annhandley}

Ann’s message was plain and simple; good writing skills – the ability to articulate key messages, engage the reader, and adapt the tone of voice – are imperative to succeeding and securing quality content for your clients. “The truth is this: writing well is part habit, part knowledge of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn.” ­– Ann Handley.

This message stuck with me early on in my career and defined not just how I write for clients, but also how I write in emails and through all written communication. I started working in PR because I enjoy writing, and Ann’s book, along with her keynote speeches, social media posts, and articles since, continues to inspire me to produce the best content and writing I can.”

Nina on Anita Roddick


“Dame Anita Roddick was an entrepreneur, environmental campaigner and human rights activist who rose to fame with the creation of The Body Shop,  a cosmetics company producing and retailing natural beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism. The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with developing countries.

Aside from the creation of The Body Shop Anita was involved in activism and campaigns for environmental and social issues, she had involvement with the Greenpeace and The Big Issue. She also founded a charitable organisation, Children on the Edge, this organisation was built to help disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

Anita Roddick

{Image Source: Getty Images}

Antia ran a very successful campaign for The Body Shop, about self-esteem by creating a generously proportioned doll called Ruby, that was in the storefronts across the UK with a slogan “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do.” This campaign was designed to challenge stereotypes of beauty and counter the perception of beauty influenced within the cosmetics industry.

By the early 2000s, Body Shop had been voted the second most trusted brand in the UK and was the 28th top brand in the world. It was disclosed that she had donated all of her £51 million fortunes upon her death.”

Let us know who your inspirational female role model is by commenting below or tweeting @Honcho_Search.

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