“Age is no barrier to looking fabulous”

Rebecca Weef Smith talks to Look Fabulous Forever founder Tricia Cusden on why she launched her make-up company and how she reinvented her career.

In 2013 Tricia Cusden was 65 and semi-retired “I had been going through a challenging time with a crisis in our family but had spent a year with a sense of purpose. I was needed. When the worry was over, of course there was a sense of relief but also a feeling of ‘what now’. I needed a new challenge. I needed a reason to get up in the morning. I had some savings and thought I’d see if I could create a totally different kind of beauty brand aimed specifically at older women and showing them in all their fabulousness.”

Tricia choose to launch a make-up brand because she was struggling to source makeup which actually worked for her “I was using around 9 different brands which I had arrived at through trial and error and wasting a lot of time, effort and money and sensed there would be loads of other women like me who felt the same.”

And it seems there are. Look Fabulous Forever (LFF) has grown at super-fast rate making it not only a successful makeup brand but an enviable business model.  However I get the feeling that LFF was always more than just about make up. Right from the start the brand’s philosophy that “age is no barrier to looking fabulous” was at the core of the business reflecting Tricia’s viewpoint and permeating not only the skincare and make up, but the community building that runs alongside the product line: LFF is about encouraging what Tricia calls “a period of renaissance and expansion rather than contraction and winding down. I want to show you how to challenge society’s assumption that getting older means becoming invisible.”

Tricia is every inch a brand ambassador for LFF and a role model for other women: Not only does she put on a ‘good face’ and shows us how to make up in a way that brings out our best, but she shares her personal way of being which inspires us to maintain hope for the future. When you chat to Tricia you leave with the idea that opportunities to reinvent yourselves, in the way she has done, are available to any of us if we stay open to new ideas.

Tricia doesn’t down play the hard work that it takes to build a successful brand but she does make the idea that its accessible if you take a few risks and are willing to try “Ask yourself what would I most regret not having done on my deathbed?’ The idea of starting a makeup business was mad. I risked my savings, if it failed my ego would have been dented but I took a huge leap into the unknown and it’s been the best six years of my life.”

Tricia did have experience in business but not in this business “it has been a very steep learning curve. And when I had the bright idea of opening a physical shop last year the incline became greater still. I had never run a shop before so, as with many things in my life, I made it up as I went along.”

Tricia is a great example of exercising your brain by stretching yourself and she also (relatively) recently discovered physical exercise and is surprised how much she enjoys working out. Her attitude to life includes wearing red lipstick – I shall tell my daughters to make sure that I am buried wearing our Cherry or Monroe Red lippie – driving with the wind in her hair – “I have a beautiful second hand, six year old Mercedes 350SE, and my heart lifts every time I switch on the ignition”- and dancing. “I don’t much like the saying ‘Age is Just a Number’ because it feels trite, but I do passionately believe that ‘Age is Not an Excuse’”.

The day I meet Tricia at her shop she looks very much the classic business woman; polished, smart, sophisticated. And yet her refusal to accept the rules of society which tell older women ‘you mustn’t do this and you mustn’t do that’ are a clear sign of a rebellious nature. Tricia isn’t someone to fade into invisibility: “Tough if you don’t like my red lipstick because I love it and I have earned the right to wear it in a proud spirit of defiance!”

Tricia’s book Living the Life More Fabulous is a guide to feeling great, whatever your age