Oh hello gorgeous! As it’s August (yes you read that correctly) I’ve got another interview in my, Women in Business series (read here and here). Today I have the lovely and equally gorgeous, Caroline McQueen. We virtually met through a Facebook group and after hearing about what she does I thought, she’d be perfect for this series.
Her bio describes her as a Personal Image & Brand Consultant from London, and also an ambassador for Virgin Startup. She makes over bloggers and solopreneurs from website-to-wardrobe, so clients and companies will climb over hot coals in heels to collaborate with you. Caroline’s been working in media communications for over 10 years – both in front and behind the camera. And has worked with a number of top brands and magazines on their promotional campaigns. It’s not an exaggeration to say she’s marketed EVERYTHING from fast food chains, to feminine hygiene products. So, if it has to do with promoting yourself and looking good – she’s your girl!
Interview with Caroline McQueen
How did you get started?
I guess I’ve been on this journey for a while. When I was in college, I was really interested in studying film — particularly 3D animation. But for a while, I thought that was what I wanted to do long term. So at university, I studied digital media production at the University of the Arts, London, and that course taught me how to do anything creative on a computer you could possibly think of. And so for 4 years, I did a lot of experimenting as it was a really practical, hands-on course, with a lot of room to explore. Towards the end, however, I did a complete 180 and found myself being more interested in branding and the world of advertising.
My first job straight out of university was at the games company Sega, where I pretty much got to play video games all days for the marketing team and show them how it worked, and what would look cool in their ads.
But then the recession hit and I lost my job, so I moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue my second love, which was acting. I ended up getting a few small parts in TV and film, as well as appearing in commercials. Then in 2011, one of my friends from Sega — who’s now a comedian, needed help with his personal brand and asked me for advice. I didn’t realise back then that this could actually be someone’s job!
What is it about being a blogger that you enjoy?
I like following the current trends and conversations online and putting my own unique spin on it. Blogging is such a personal thing. When I research a topic and write an advice piece, I sometimes find it’s something that I also need to remember myself. I really like looking at things from a different angle and sometimes playing ‘devil’s advocate’ to bring more to the conversation than the same old, stale advice other bloggers trot out time and again.
Apart from blogging you’re a brand and image Consultant, tell me a bit about that
Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of top companies and magazines on promotional campaigns for their brands. I’ve managed to fuse those skills with my passion for fashion to create a unique experience for people starting their own business or blog. Personal branding all about forming the right emotional response you want people to have when they see you or hear your name. It really is a science and an art. It’s a lot more than just telling people to wear a that hat, or a particular sweater. There’s a lot of analytical research that goes into developing someone’s public image.
What do you enjoy about the job that you do?
I love talking to, and getting to know new people. One of my favourite things is working from scratch to build someone’s persona and seeing how it develops over time. It’s a lot more work when I have to take a client who’s image kind of broken and needs fixing. It can be tricky to alter the publics’ opinion sometimes and make them forget the bad things. Plus, there’s the shopping — which I love! 🙂
Have you faced any resistance in this field being a woman of colour?
Yes. A few times. If someone speaks to me on the phone and they haven’t seen a photo of me and then they meet me in person, sometimes the work disappears. I tend to focus on the people who are more interested in my abilities and what I can do for their brand, rather than the fact that I have a permanent tan.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into this field?
Try to shadow a stylist to see if this is truly what you want to do. Then, find your style before telling anyone else what to wear. Read. Study art. Become a cultural omnivore for every piece of media that passes in your direction.
Talk to different people every day and tell them what you do. Networking is such a buzzword now, and it’s surrounded by so much jargon and misinformation that people no longer receive the benefits of it. So I’d say to “socialise intelligently”, with the intention of building genuine relationships instead of thinking about what you can get from someone. And just start! Even before you’re ready.
What’s a typical day if you have one?
I don’t have a typical day really. I start reading what’s going on — Emails, social media, current trends and topics — that kind of thing. Then, I’ll start working with clients from 10am until lunch. I tend to keep my afternoons free to work on content — either a new blog topic or finding outfits and accessories for clients. Sometimes in the evenings if there’s an event, I’ll go to that. With my job there’s never really a hard deadline so I can do things when I want.
Do you have a dream goal that you’re working towards?
One of the people I’ve been inspired by is Oprah and the other is Sir Richard Branson. If things go to plan, hopefully I’ll meet him this year. There are huge possibilities for expansion with my business. I’d like to create an online magazine or one day build an empire like they did.
What makes your heart sing?
Definitely being able to travel and to be creative. I love having the freedom to express myself, explore different things in my own time and in my own way.
Told you she was lovely and she gave great advice and you can learn more by visiting her website. Caroline has shared her dream goal, along with the other women in business I have interviewed. Share in the comments your dream goal.
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Until next time, be well