[7 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday everyone! Oh, what an introduction to 2021 this week has been… We at CarolinaGMX hope you are all keeping safe, healthy and positive in spite of all the changes we are already facing this year.
This week, we thought we would bring you our weekly Friday Founder interview but with a special twist.
This week, our Editor Gabriela interviewed our Founder Carolina so that you could all get to know the face behind CAROLINAGMX that little bit better. And yes, they are sisters...
So, as ever, grab yourself your favourite morning beverage, find a comfy corner and get ready to get to know Carolina, Founder of CAROLINAGMX!
"I started my first fashion blog while I was at university. It’s interesting to look back at that now because blogging was in its infancy. Instagram didn’t even exist back then!"
Well, hello there! So, we are going to start our interview as we usually do, with your childhood. How do you think your childhood has influenced you today?
Why hello! Well, as you know, as children, we were always encouraged to be creative. I studied art from a young age, both at school and also on Saturdays with a private teacher. Then, at university, I decided to study fashion design. I didn’t feel any judgement about that and felt free to pursue my passions, which were always primarily sport and fashion. I definitely had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age too as I always had little projects on the go. I used to sell clothes and other items at car boot sales and on eBay. I was very into planning and I seemed to have some different ideas to what my peers had.
You were definitely a busy child haha. How did you get started in the beauty and fashion industries?
As soon as I was old enough, I applied for all sorts of internships and ended up working for brands like Escada, Erdem and Wallpaper Magazine, amongst others. I mainly focused on the fashion industry rather than beauty. Those internships were such a fantastic experience because they allowed me to test-drive different career paths in a short space of time, and also showed me the areas that I really didn’t want to work in.
Before I graduated from my BA at Leeds University, I was hired by Burberry in their E-Commerce division. It was a great introduction to the industry because Burberry was so forward-thinking at that time. Not only did they have a website when many other brands didn’t, but they were the first brand to do ‘runway to retail’ meaning they made the London Fashion Week collection shoppable straight after the show. I was really inspired by that whole experience and my entry into the world of e-commerce. I really grew to love innovation in the industry. Following Burberry, I worked for several other brands across the fashion and beauty industries including Selfridges. They all taught me lessons that have helped with building CAROLINAGMX.
Speaking of, when did you decide to start up CAROLINAGMX and why?
CAROLINAGMX is the name of the site now, but when I founded the website originally, it had a different name. I started my first fashion blog while I was at university. It’s interesting to look back at that now because blogging was in its infancy. Instagram didn’t even exist back then! At that point, certain fashion bloggers were just starting to make a name for themselves and I was intrigued by that world, however, there was still no industry as such.
Several years after university, I went vegan in an attempt to fix the allergic reactions that I had started to develop on my face. Then, I began looking at how I could extend being vegan into other areas of my life like my makeup, skincare and clothes, but at that time there was very little information on how to do this online. That was the inspiration behind The Vegan Edition, as I called the website back then. The idea was to cover vegan fashion, beauty and lifestyle, and I really enjoyed that exploration.
We had the site for a few years but, as I realised that veganism wasn’t the solution to my allergic reactions, I transitioned to a pescatarian/vegetarian lifestyle. The website has evolved alongside me. The Vegan Edition taught me that I loved working with brands and loved writing so I created CAROLINAGMX as more of a personal blog to highlight the things I was interested in and to continue to work with brands.
I think that is really cool that you are constantly re-evaluating your “brand” and the website as you evolve as a person. So, what is the link between CAROLINAGMX and sensitive skin?
Well, as CAROLINAGMX evolved, one thing I was constantly being drawn to was sensitive skin. When I suffered from these extreme allergic reactions I felt so helpless, so I started to do all this research as there wasn’t a publication out there that focused on sensitive skin in a holistic way. I wanted to share what I had learnt, the products that were working for me, and highlight the fact that sensitive skin affects everything, not just your skincare and makeup products. We feature a lot of things on the website, but there is a special focus on sensitive skin.
I have learnt so much about sensitivities and allergic reactions from you, so thank you! What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is an issue that I feel has become more important to everyone, given the state of the world. We try to make sure that we work with brands that not only reflect our personal style but also consider sustainability in their key values. We want to highlight these brands and help lift up small businesses that are doing great things!
That has been my favourite thing this past year: shining a light on these small businesses and connecting with them during such a difficult time. What would you say were your biggest challenges in starting up CAROLINAGMX?
I don’t actually think the start was as challenging as the evolution has been. Starting is fairly simple. Adapting to your platform (for example, WordPress) can be tricky as it can change over time, but producing consistent content and constantly re-evaluating your strategy is the real challenge. It is natural for a website or blog to evolve as your personal tastes and values do. I think we often forget that it should be following you on your journey, not the other way around! However, as life happens, you can easily feel unmotivated or a little lost. It’s important to stick it out during those times!
Absolutely! I know you and I are constantly talking about that. What strategies do you think have been key to the success of CAROLINAGMX?
I think there are two things. Firstly, having a niche and focusing on sensitive skin has been instrumental in navigating a saturated market. Sensitive skin is such an important issue as it can be caused by all sorts of things that people might not realise: stress, pollution, external aggressors, laundry detergent, candles, the list goes on... Secondly, our Friday Founder interview segment makes us stand out and has been a great way to build relationships, learn and collaborate with brands.
"Winning the 2019 Best Specialist Skincare Advice Blog UK was a truly wonderful moment! I am also so proud to partner with brands that I have loved and admired for many years from Jimmy Fairly to By Terry and Foreo."
Completely! It has taught me so much. What is your favourite thing about CAROLINAGMX?
Ah, it is so tricky to pick only one thing! What is amazing is that the role can be whatever I want it to be and nothing is set in stone. I am really lucky to be able to do such a variety of things including writing, social, digital marketing, working with brands, reviews and a lot of research. Wearing many hats is definitely part of the appeal of the business.
What is your proudest achievement or milestone you have achieved with CAROLINAGMX?
Winning the 2019 Best Specialist Skincare Advice Blog UK was a truly wonderful moment! I am also so proud to partner with brands that I have loved and admired for many years from Jimmy Fairly to By Terry and Foreo.
The brands we have got to work with are pretty incredible, to be honest! What inspires you?
Travel probably inspires me the most. Unfortunately, I imagine opportunities to travel will be pretty limited for a while, but I cannot wait to jump on a plane once it is safe to do so! In terms of my day-to-day, I am a big believer in having a time-out; it gives you a clean slate to come back to. Taking a break in the middle of the day and coming back always leaves me better equipped to deal with a problem.
That’s a really great point. I definitely need to do that more as sometimes I just power through! Right, I’m excited to hear your answer to this one as I know you have a whole notes section on your phone dedicated to this… What words do you live by?
“There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs”- Unknown, “There is only one very good life, and that is the one you know you want, and you make it yourself.”- Diane Vreeland, “You are your problem and you are also your solution.” - Bridesmaids.
Ok, you didn’t disappoint! So tell me, what’s next for CAROLINAGMX?
We want to establish a new routine in 2021 by marrying what our readers want to see more of with our true passions. It is important to find the sweet spot with our content. Expect a lot more collaborations and our IG Live Series will also be back very soon!
Liked what you read?
If you fancy checking out some of our previous interviews, you can find them here. Want more from CAROLINAGMX? Check this out: The Ultimate Review of UFO 2 By Foreo Sweden- Is It Worth It?