Was I crazy to start a new business at 65?
In January 2012, my little grand-daughter India was born. Within a short time it was apparent that she was very sick. When she was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder, our worst fears for her future were confirmed. For most of 2012 it felt as though our family was sailing in a leaky boat constantly buffeted by gale- force winds across an ocean of tears. I felt that my role was to try and help in whatever way I could, so I very willingly put my life on hold for the duration. Happily, despite all the odds, India survived and began to thrive and by March 2013, despite needing 24 hour care, we had all reached dry land and could begin to face the future with a lighter heart.
I was 65 on Christmas Day 2012. Since I gave up teaching in 1974 I have always earned money and have never been employed. In other words I have long been a self-employed business woman and an entrepreneur. Just before Mother’s Day this year I wrote ” A year ago today India had open heart surgery and 24 years ago this week, Mum died. Suzy has lots of help now with the children, so feel adrift and in need of a new direction. But it will be o.k.”
A few days later I floated the idea of my training as a make-up artist and starting a cosmetics company for mature women to my other daughter. I asked her to tell me if she thought I was mad to consider a completely new direction at my age. Her instant reaction was “That’s a brilliant idea – you’d be really good at that!” So I came up with the name “Look Fabulous Forever”, immediately registered the domain name and set about creating this new business. And, at the end of 2013, I am loving every minute of it!
I would almost say that I could not have run this business at an earlier time in my life. I have gradually acquired various skills and knowledge over the past 40 years and they are all coming in very useful now. I have a very clear idea of how I want this business to be and the values that inform it. I have worked with a small group of exceptional people to design and produce 12 high quality products. I have engaged with social media to underline my belief that you don’t need an unlined face to be gorgeous. Older women are invisible in advertising and other media and I have made a commitment to show honest photographs and videos of real women with ‘real’ faces.
So, nearly two months after the fantastic launch of LFF, I couldn’t be happier. I am getting an overwhelmingly positive response from the parties, the makeovers and the internet. I am getting steady hits on the You tube videos of between 50 and 70 views a day and slowly I am getting orders from different parts of the world (so far the USA and Europe). People are telling me that they are impressed with the service (thank you Dooley Rumble for your excellent delivery), and that they love the make-up.
So was I crazy to start this business at 65? Well I think you know the answer to that! And this week, despite all the dire predictions of her likely physical disability, India walked around the park near her home using a special walking frame… We are not only securely on the shore, the sun has come out again.