As you are aware, I have been and will be interviewing ladies in the industry (fashionista / o or any socialite) or any hard working business woman that has a strong work ethic but also down to earth nature. Joanna from Shanghai Suzy is one of them. She’s down to earth and makes yummy lippies that taste like grape.
1) So, how long has Shanghai Suzy been around?
I launched Shanghai Suzy in August 2013, so it’s been just over 3 years!
2) How did the name come up?
The brand is named after my friend Suzy, who is from Shanghai! When we were little we used to call her ‘Shanghai Suzy’. In fact all of the colours are named after my friends 🙂
3) Your favourite colour / shade of lippie that you like to wear and also make?
My favourite lipstick EVER is Miss Chloe Toffee in our whipped matte formula, in our current collection. To me that is lipstick perfection!
4) What were you doing before this?
I worked in marketing and brand management for about 5 years! I worked on pharmacy cosmetics brands, a luxury skincare brand and also in luxury automotive!
5) Where do you get your inspiration from to make more lipsticks?
The creative side of Shanghai Suzy is what ‘fills my cup’. It gives me life! I am always thinking a season ahead. The colours in every season ultimately stem from the simple question of ‘what do I want on my lips right now?’
6) How did Shanghai Suzy “brand” start?
I had a vision to launch a capsule lipstick brand and it grew from there. I wanted a ‘go-to’ lipstick-only brand that sold on-trend colours that didn’t cost a fortune. Where it wouldn’t matter if I only wore the lippie once or twice with a certain outfit to a certain event. I hated spending $40 on lipstick that I might only wear once!
7) What was your first lipstick you created?
We created the samples of the first range all at once – some of those first range hues are still some of my faves!
8) Do you ever pinch yourself with all of the success, you receive?
I try to celebrate when we have successful ranges or we have a great day for example, but I’m always working a season or two ahead so I tend to focus a lot more on the future and growing the brand rather than being in the moment – oops!! I feel like we have so much potential and we’ve just scratched the surface so it’s hard to not get ahead of myself sometimes.
9) If you would to pick a girl for your brand, who does she look like & what are her characteristics?
My ultimate style icon is Nicole Ritchie so I think she’d have to be my dream girl. She’s quirky, beautiful, successful, funny, SO stylish and unique.
10) What to next?
We’re currently putting the finishing touches on our ‘Essentials’ Collection which is our first permanent range, we’re launching that pre-Xmas! And also starting to formulate for next Winter which is crazy! We’re launching a new formula for next Winter so we can’t wait!
11) What is your favourite type of makeup look?
At the moment I love dewy skin with a bronzed glow, nude lips, brown/bronze/gold eyeshadow and thick lush lashes!
12) Your style icon?
Nicole Ritchie! Obsessed!
13) Honest opinion and advice on “building a brand from scratch”
Wow this is a big one! I think it’s important to work out your brand values and what you stand for early on, and have consistency across all elements of your brand – packaging, product, social media, website, in-store presence etc 🙂
14) I love how down to earth you are, even though you are successful. Any tips on staying grounded?
Awww that is so lovely of you! I guess having a small business, it’s so hands on for our whole team – always! Some days I’m helping to pack orders, or doing the post run myself! So it keeps me super down to Earth. I’m not sure if I have any tips but I think it’s important to always be willing to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty.
15) How did the scents in the lipstick idea come about? (I love it as I as I just want to eat them! LOL)
I’m so glad you love them!! I really dislike that typical waxxy lipstick smell and the way it lingers around and I always have, maybe it’s because our lips are directly under our noses – I’m not sure haha! But it was important to me that we made them smell appealing! Not like musty old lady lipstick ewwww!!!
16) Do you have any tips on someone that has a shaky hand applying lipsticks
I think dark, vampy colours definitely take a steady hand, confidence and practice! Perhaps get your application down pat on more forgiving, neutral colours first and then experiment with bolder colours from there! Or simply overdraw your lips like I do when I accidentally apply outside the lip line haha 🙂 I also love applying super dark shades with a brush so I can have that little bit of extra control.
Thanks so much Joanna for allowing me to interview you.