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I am a strategy director with experience in all stages of brand strategy and execution. I work with CEO's on the future of their business, and I bring brands to life through tailored content. Whatever you need. I am based in London, but can work wherever you and your clients are.

 

 

The Blog of Camilla Grey Petty

 

Filtering by Tag: women

Fit girl skin — how athbeauty could win in 2016

Camilla Grey

I work out like this. I woke up at 6am and did my morning skin routine. I used a serum, a face moisturiser, a body moisturiser, a deodorant, a texturising spray, a concealer, a tinted moisturiser, a mascara, and a brow gel. I am flawless. I pulled on my Lululemon work-out gear and was at SoulCycle before day break. I moved forward a row. I freshened up, I did my mini post-workout skin routine. I used a facial spray, a body spray, a blush, a powder, a highlighter, and a lipstick. I achieved the no makeup makeup look. I got a juice on the way to work and listened to the latest episode of Serial. I got to work early and felt ahead of the game. Ahead of the men. Leaning in. A personal best. My best self. Better than the rest. A self worth a selfie. I am Patrick Bateman in yoga pants and Tom Ford lipstick. I work out like this.

As we clocked over into 2016 and moved from peak drunk to peak ‘new year, new me’, beauty subscription brand Birchbox launched Arrow. According to the blurb on their site, the second in-house label from the brand specialises in “lightweight, long-wearing makeup and refreshing skincare… designed to keep up with your on-the-go, active life — whether that means going straight from pilates to brunch or just powering through an action-packed, appointment-filled day”. The range which currently contains just a lip balm and a cheek tint, is potentially the first-to-market in an emerging trend I’m going to go ahead and call ‘athbeauty’.

Athbeauty, though still very much in its infancy, has a strong genealogy which could take it mainstream very quickly. Sitting at the intersection of its forebears ‘athleisure’ and the ‘beauty blogging/vlogging scene’, athbeauty is the fast-moving consumer good every retailer dreams of. Like the luxury perfume market, athbeauty products can convey all the lifestyle associations of high-end brands like Lululemon, Equinox, SoulCycle, ADAY and Outdoor Voices but at an entry-level price tag. Add in chatty, personalised endorsements from beauty and lifestyle influencers such as Ingrid Nilsen,Kayla Itsines, and Goop, and athbeauty would almost sell itself.

2015 was the year ‘athleisure’ went mass market. So much so it probably doesn’t need to be in inverted commas anymore. It seemed every brand converged in the health and fitness space, bringing fashion, taste, style and glamour to what had previously been sweaty, ill-fitting and inappropriate to be seen wearing in public.

Like goth and punk before it, athleisure wasn’t just a look — it came with a lifestyle and a mindset all its own, and one particularly aimed at women (although not, as Vladamir Putin proved, limited to them). Athleisure came to represent an image of women that was simultaneously empowering and elitist.

As an empowering image, the athleisure look was form-fitting yet comfortable. Women could spend their day in workout gear and feel confident. It advocated health and strength over skinniness and challenged traditional notions of ‘femininity’. It allowed women to get their sweat on, and then get on with their day. On the other side of the coin, athleisure also represented privilege. The leading brands — Lululemon et al — are expensive labels. And the time and cost required to achieve an athleisure-friendly body at the likes of Equinox, SoulCycle or Barry’s Bootcamp is prohibitive.

Similar mixed messaging dwells in beauty too. The concept of #iwokeuplikethis — a hashtag made popular by Beyonce’s 2013 track, Flawless — appeared to celebrate natural beauty and yet simultaneously placed pressure on women to look ‘flawless’. The ‘no makeup makeup’ look — a tutorial for which is leading beauty vlogger Lisa Eldgridge’s secondmost-viewed video of all time with 2.5 million views — becoming the smart girl’s alternative to Kim Kardashian contouring. In retaliation equal opportunity feminists coined the term ‘rich girl skin’, to describe how — like the athleisure body — perfect skin don’t come cheap.

Nevertheless, the maturation of the athleisure trend and the increasing power of vloggers, has made the space more accessible to consumers. High street retailers have expanded their lines to include fitness wear, pay-per-play/no-subscription gyms have increased exponentially, and influencers such as Blogilates and Yoga With Adriene offer free fitness tutorials that anyone can do in their home. In both its own market and in retail, health and fitness is a growing category and one brands would do well to capitalise on.

Birchbox’s ARROW may well be the first athbeauty range but I very much doubt it will be the last. What will be interesting is to see whether the next ones come from beauty brands, fitness brands, fashion brands, or all three. Is this good for women? Probably not — we really don’t need another thing to worry about, or another thing to buy to stop us worrying. But, at the end of the day, it’s ultimately new tricks for old products. Anything currently claiming to be waterproof, smudge-proof, or good for sensitive skin would likely work through a workout without sliding off one’s face or causing break-outs. Credentials in skin-care will matter at a certain level, but creating a compelling product story is what will ultimately win this space.

From a content perspective, I expect to see editorial that expands on the existing obsession with #topshelfie’s and My Morning Routine’s, to include that gym-to-work moment — a new little gap in which to sell. Magazines have gone from editorialising the contents of celebrity’s handbags, to their makeup bags and now, I can only assume, their gym bags. #iworkoutlikethis will no doubt crop up more and more across Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, because if you go to the gym and no one sees your selfie, did it even really happen!?

What’s key now for brands entering this space is to find their own angle on athbeauty, and their own way into women’s #goals to have it all and have it flawless.

This piece was originally posted on Medium

Squad girls: Swift's influential women's networking group

Camilla Grey

“I absolutely slay omelets”. Yeah you do T-Swizzle. But reading between the lines of a recent Vanity Fair interview and Taylor publicly rolling “squad deep” to the VMA’s over the weekend leads me to think it’s not just omelets she - and her BFF’s - are slaying. It’s the entertainment industry too. 

Is Taylor Swift’s squad the sugar-coated, pillow fighting, kitten holding girl gang the world’s media will have us believe, or is it in fact a networking group for high net worth, highly influential women leaders? I mean, Miley, what’s good? 

In the VF article, Taylor explains, “When you’ve got this group of girls who need each other as much as we need each other, in this climate, where it’s so hard for women to be understood and portrayed the right way in the media… now more than ever we need to be good and kind to each other and not just each other”. As a lyricist, you can’t blame her for a bit of hyperbole, but compare her definition to that of c-suite women’s organisation, Watermark, and the missions are almost sisterly, “a community of executive women who have risen to the top of their fields—coming together to connect, develop and advocate for the advancement of women in the workforce”.

Wipe away the lipstick and it’s clear to see that the group of women Taylor surrounds herself with goes beyond mere friendship. These are women earning millions of dollars a year, they are managing careers, brands, teams, finances, properties, relationships… They are innovators, finding new ways to connect with their fans, release their work, and explore other verticals beyond their areas of expertise. Why would they look to an aging record exec, when they can look to each other? As model Cara Delevigne concurs in the same article, “There’s always a lot more pressing matters going on than what we’re wearing”.

If their private conversations are about more “pressing matters”, why aren't their public ones? Taylor and her squad can amplify their power by sharing more of what makes them truly powerful. I'd love to know how Kloss manages her finances. It'd be great to hear how Cara maintains a demanding schedule across time zones. What exactly are the skill sets they outsource and who does those jobs?

Getting your glad rags on and shutting it down at the VMAs is certainly one Squad Goal. But being an influential female leader is the one we should all aspire to, and one we can help each other achieve.

The best a man can get

Camilla Grey

They say you should really only write what you know, and so I ask this question very much from the sidelines but, seriously dudes, are you ok? Because advertising, and recent studies, are suggesting that you really aren’t. 

In 1994, being a man meant using a Gillette razor. It meant helping your kid get a slam dunk, tucking your daughter into bed, snogging your wife in a lift, and then going off to practise your hobby of flying fighter jets. All with a smile on your smoothly shaven, insanely chiseled face. 

 

Fast forward 21 years and the picture is very different. If the latest VW Tiguan advert is anything to go by, then being a man in 2015 means fundamentally hating your life. Your annoying, girly daughter, your dumb sleeping wife, your idiot son who needs to use the bathroom when you’re trying to watch the game, and your stupid, stupid multimillion pound house on a quiet Islington street. Jeez, being a wealthy family man today is rubbish. 

 

It’s easy to poke fun, but a recent Samaritan’s report indicates that something has gone really wrong for today’s generation of 30-something/ 40-something men. As one of the researchers was quoted in The Telegraph, “Men currently in their midyears are caught between their traditional silent, strong and austere fathers who went to work and provided for their families, and the more progressive, open and individualistic generation of their sons. They do not know which of these two very different ways of life and masculine culture they should follow”. 

I live in Stoke Newington, where I see the Tiguan advert play out on a daily basis. Men with babies strapped to their fronts, Whole Foods bag in hand, and a Supreme sticker stuck hopefully onto the side of the Bugaboo. Men slipping into Borough Wine to throw back three shots of wine samples, while their four-year-old waits outside with the dog. It seems men want to “have it all” just as much as the women folk do. They want the Peter Pan existence of their 20-something co-workers, as well as a Modern Family modern family. Don’t we all?

And that’s the thing. Gender equality doesn’t make washing up, or child care, or not having a moment’s peace magically disappear. Just because it’s shared doesn’t make it any less boring or, at times, soul destroying. The Tiguan ad sat awkwardly with me not just because the bloke seemed in a bit of a state, but because it would have felt far more believable if both parents had been rolling their eyes. 

Regardless, whether it’s down to a generational malaise or the harsh realities of gender equality, the car is transforming. It’s gone from being a symbol of escapism and fantasy, the epitome of speed and power, to a refuge. In this respect the Tiguan is the garden shed of cars - quiet, calm and lockable. And guys, if you need a moment, go for it. We get it. We’re in it together.