Patra catches up with three female influential entrepreneurs and award-winning bloggers
It wasn’t long ago that when women reached a certain age, the thought of starting a new career or putting yourself in the public eye was quite unheard of. There was also a time when social media was seen as something for youngsters.
Thankfully, times have changed and there are a number of mature women with a strong online presence who are out there representing a big section of society that had previously been overlooked. We caught up with some inspirational women that prove age is no-longer a barrier to success and that women, like fine wine, only get better with age.
Meet the women
Annabel and Grace:
Annabel & Grace are the women behind the online magazine of the same name. Both over 60, they have turned what was once a simple blog into a successful award-winning online magazine for older women. On the Annabel & Grace website you’ll find ideas on fashion, recipes and wellbeing – positive, pro-age and light-hearted, it’s easy to see why their magazine is doing so well.
Tracey created the lifestyle website FightingFifty after feeling frustrated about the lack of health and fitness information available online for mature women. Seven years on and Fighting Fifty has successfully filled that gap and is now great space where older women can gain tips and advice on to look good and live well into older age.
What did you do before this?
Annabel: I started my working life in the fashion industry spending much of the 1980s with David and Elizabeth Emanuel. I then moved into the music industry and finally ended up running a professional basketball team, The London Leopards.
Grace: After working on various BBC TV dramas, I set up a graphic design agency. Over the years I worked with clients such as BP, BT and Dunhill. After my son was born I stopped work until co-founding A&G in early 2010.
Tracey: Following a career in advertising, working at some of the top London advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, I took a long career break to bring up my children. I was a stay-at-home mum for 25 years!
How do you feel about the word ‘influencer’?
Annabel and Grace: Personally we don’t like the word influencer as it intimates that we have a power or authority. Everyone has their own style and should make their own choices, we would prefer something along the lines of Encourager (if there was such a word) or Inspirer as our ethos is to help our readers find the best solution to any of their life dilemmas – whether it be style, health or simply what to cook for supper that night. At times we all need a refresher or some guidance in all of these areas and hopefully A&G helps in a small way.
Tracey: I feel the word has been exploited by social media, and now so many people are influencers. Often the information or ‘influence’ given has no concreate evidence behind it as the influencer is not a professional qualified to give advice. I much prefer to be an informed consumer than an influencer.
What do you like most about your work?
Tracey: Meeting people. I have been really lucky to meet so many inspirational women through Fighting Fifty, and to be a small part in their journey, either to better health or by conveying information about their brands and products. Fighting Fifty is a wonderful creative platform that has allowed me to use my marketing skills and has pushed me to learn so many new ones. When I started Fighting Fifty, I had no idea how to run a website, I’ve had to learn on the job and I still learn something new every day.
Annabel: I love finding really good new products or services and sharing this knowledge with our followers. It is so rewarding when our readers take the time to email and tell us how much a particular article has helped them or how much they are enjoying our website.
Grace: I very much enjoy having a creative outlet. Although producing our weekly magazine is very hard work, it is also very fulfilling. I love having a jam-packed diary – not only writing posts, but photoshoots, recording podcasts, filming for our YouTube channel and meeting so many inspiring people.
What was the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Annabel: Not to waste energy worrying about something that may never happen and so to live in the NOW.
Grace: Stay physically and mentally active – and smile, it may never happen!
Tracey: Don’t smoke! I have had so much good advice over the years, but one piece that I am so happy that I took from a young age, is not to smoke. It’ so damaging to your body and your skin. Thankfully we are so better informed now than we were when I was a teenager.
Is 60 the new 40?
Tracey: I would like to think so as my 60th birthday is just a year away. I do believe that as we age better and live longer, we can easily still be enjoying all the same things at 60 that we did at 40. Provided we take care of ourselves, that means eating well and taking some exercise every day, we can have just as fulfilling life in our 60s as we did in our forties.
Annabel: It is an expression that is often used however there are some 60+ year olds who are having a very tough time. I would prefer to say that you are as young as you feel and your age is just a number but not to be governed or restricted by it.
Grace: 60 is 60 – and it looks and feels fantastic!
Are there certain rules you follow when it comes to dressing?
Annabel and Grace: There are no rules nowadays which is very heartening. We think women should dress in a way that makes them feel good. If you love wearing an outfit then that will show. Our only tip would be that, as we grow older, we should embrace colour – a pop of colour will light up your face (and your life!)
Tracey: I learnt a very good lesson that if you don’t absolutely love an outfit when you try it on, then don’t buy it. This rule has definitely prevented me from making any costly mistakes. I also believe in purchasing investment pieces rather than fast fashion and buy to extend my wardrobe rather than replace it. I am very conscious of waste and have to force myself not to buy on impulse. I don’t always succeed!
Annabel, Grace and Tracey on Patra
All three of our inspirational woman enjoy Patra clothing and have collaborated with our brand. When talking about Patra Annabel said ‘They do not compromise on the fabric or manufacture. The items are all machine washable and the clothes look contemporary and stylish. Finally, the prices make this collection great value for money’. Tracey agrees, adding ‘I am so impressed with the quality and fit of the clothes from Patra that I am already working on my next wish list!’.
Find out more about these inspirational woman:
Annabel and Grace: www.countrywives.co.uk
Tracey McAlpine: www.fightingfifty.co.uk