This week we caught up with Marcia Kilgore; as founder of Fitflop and Soap and Glory, Marcia is a highly successful entrepreneur, the career she has forged for herself is not only impressive but inspiring. From our interactions with Marcia we were astounded by her drive, her focus and her sincerity. This lady knows business, yet she also knows fashion. She is passionate about her interests, and comes across beautifully well.
When interviewing any individual, there is always risk that the interviewee can come up with unlikely and unusual answers, Marcia Kilgore, on the other hand, delivered such wonderful and succinct responses that we have made effort to store each of her replies in the helpful-life-advice departments in our memories. Marcia is the motivational figure that today’s youthful generations need, and we thank her for imparting such wonderful advice on the London Look.
Marcia, you recently described yourself as a “serial entrepeneur”. You founded companies Soap and Glory, FitFlop and Bliss. Tell us about your incredible and inspiring career.
I sold my stake in Bliss back in 2004, both my current businesses are extremely busy, very inspiring, and take up a lot of my time. How I ended up with this much to do at once, I will never understand.
We sell Soap & Glory at HARVEY NICHOLS and Boots the Chemists in the UK, Sephora in the US and South East Asia, KIT in Australia, Douglas in Germany and Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Canada. At Soap & Glory, we believe you shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to moisturize one. It’s designer cosmetics for the masses.
At FitFlop™ we believe that our ‘newness’ at shoemaking gives us the freedom to dream. To see footwear with fresh eyes – and deliver equal parts fun, fearlessness and functionality
Over fifteen million** pairs have been sold since. (And we’re repeatedly told – by happy customers – that we make the most comfortable footwear in the world.)
Our focus is still on delivering the best in biomechanics, but now in a wider variety of styles, so our customers can have that ‘happy FitFlop feeling’ any and every ‘wear’.
Because at FitFlop, we believe that when your feet feel great, you feel like you can do anything.
You have made amazing headway in what some people would argue is still a man’s world. Would you say that your successes have been affected by your femininity in anyway? For better or for worse?
Do it for love, not for money. Any career that you start in order to have financial gain won’t be pushed along by the right motivators, and you’ll eventually be miserable. Life is short, do what you love, and success will follow! (And if it doesn’t, at least you’ll be happy every day.) I work harder than anyone else I know, while being able to maintain a sense of humour, and a good sense of perspective.
The products that you have created tend to appeal to women from all walks of life. Do you feel that you are in touch with the everyday woman?
Making people feel good drives me. I think it’s deeply ingrained in my psyche. I love to create products that brighten life. Beauty is remarkably recession proof and it isn’t so painful to be broke if your skin is absolutely glowing. Beauty products are (relatively) cheap thrills. Women just decide what they would rather have: a tube, bottle, or jar of something makes you look smashing for months, or a coffee from Starbucks that you’ve finished in fifteen minutes?
We love the cheeky and youthful feel to the Soap and Glory products. Have you had a good reaction to the branding of items like ‘sexy mother pucker’ and ‘glow job’?
We’re about entertainment. The great product inside is a given. We want our customers to have a good time before, during and after using our products. So we do our best to give them a laugh, whether with our ‘warning’ lingo, our product names, because feeling good is the raw reason you buy cosmetics in the first place. We’ve just stripped back a lot of the unattainable science-stuff and put a smile at the core of the offering. The science, the efficacy, the output, that’s a given. I look at the humour on our product packaging as a ‘free prize’ inside. It’s something that I’m equipped to give, it’s added value, and it makes people love our stuff!
We are fascinated by Soap and Glory’s ’2 minute Rinse’ campaign. Is sustainability and eco-friendliness a big part of your business agenda? Has the campaign attracted a lot of positive attention?
Everything should evolve to be more and more eco-friendly and chemical-free. It’s the responsible way to live going forward, and educated people (who generally have more disposable income for luxury-priced products) should be the first to see that we can’t continue the way we’ve been going, and expect to have an earth left at the end of it all.
You have a very striking look. Would you say that you follow trends, or focus on your own developing style?
Both. I can try on feminine clothes until the cows come home, but I’ll feel ridiculous in anything that is sparkly or floral. I always feel much more comfortable in things with good angles, simple cuts, beautiful tailoring. Once you hit 30 (and I’m 43) you should know what suits you, and stick to it. It’s more efficient! But I love newness as much as the next shopper, so I stick with the same shapes but up the ante with seasonal colours and textures, and new FITFLOP shoes…
Who are your favourite designers?
I think Yohji Yamamoto, whose clothes are just amazing works of art. They have that surprise quality about them that makes them just absolutely delightful, but also incredibly stylish. quality. He designs for people who are dressing for themselves, rather than for anyone else,
I love the playfulness of Marni. The radicalism of Comme des Garcons.
You are originally from Canada, but have lived and travelled all over the world. Would you say that there are noticeable differences between British style and the key styles across the pond?
I think British women have a great sense of style. It’s eclectic. Fun. Energizing. Great in terms of mixing colours and patterns and not reverting to whatever has been deemed ‘right’. The slightly messy sense of grooming is in a way more irreverent, more sexy, and more devil-may-care, where the attention to detail in terms of grooming of the average American girl is just mind bogglingly awesome. There are merits to both, obviously, it’s more about how you express yourself and your personality!
Finally, we must ask, what is your favourite London Look?
I’m going to have to say that BEDHEAD hair with smudgy kohl eyeliner (slightly partied out) is brilliant because it’s a wink in the way of ‘dangerous’. Then, of course, there’s the classic trench coat. how can you beat the classic trench coat with wellies?