LONDON — Freelance writer and editor Kathleen Baird-Murray has let her curiosity get the best of her, and launched a podcast where she asks beauty founders how they coped with the inevitable crises that came with building businesses.
Called “Keeping Face,” the podcast launches Wednesday with Tina Chen Craig, founder of U Beauty, talking about how, during one particularly challenging moment, she collapsed on the floor of her hotel room.
In other episodes, Baird-Murray talks to Frederic Fekkai; Bobbi Brown; John Legend, founder of Loved01; and Charlotte Mensah, one of Britain’s top stylists and experts on natural, textured and mixed-heritage hair.
Mensah is the owner of The Hair Lounge on London’s Portobello Road, and built her salon business with a grant from The Prince’s Trust, which was founded by King Charles III. She was a guest at the king’s coronation in London on Saturday.
Baird-Murray asks guests about the moment everything fall apart — or was about to — and how they got back on track.
In an interview, Baird-Murray said it’s not the average beauty podcast, with top 10 tips, advice on blowouts or product recommendations.
“There’s a human interest level. So many of these lives seem perfect — aren’t we always hearing about people who started their business — in a week — from the back of an envelope? Or from the kitchen table?” she said.
“We don’t hear about the pitfalls or the hard graft, the times where things went really wrong. I love knowing how people got round those issues, and persisted, when lesser mortals would have given up,” she added.
Baird-Murray said she found it interesting that some of her subjects refused to dwell on their fumbles or failures, and focused instead on their achievements, while others talked about their reliance on numerology, astrology and psychics.
“I think it’s because I was talking to people in very creative fields,” she said. “Probably, if I was talking to neuroscientists, I would not have been getting that.”
In all, they were a fascinating group, Baird-Murray, who produced the podcast with ParkView Creative and with sponsor Renude, said of her guests. The podcast logo was designed by Paul McNeil, and based on Baird-Murray.
“What I loved about them is that they just do their thing. They work very much on instinct. The thing I kept hearing over and over again was the phrase ‘I never had a business plan’ — and that fascinates me.”
Baird-Murray, whose articles, interviews and profiles have appeared in the Financial Times, British Vogue, Tatler, The Telegraph and Sunday Times Style, said she’s hoping to release a second season.
She’d like to sit down with people including Glossier’s Emily Weiss; Demetra Pinsent, CEO of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, and Barbara Sturm, whom Baird-Murray interviewed earlier this year for the Financial Times.