Everyone that knows me knows I love a great Lippy, so I am pretty stoked to be featuring Lipstick Queen and founder of Shanghai Suzy – Joanna Wheaton. Pucker up as we talk business and lipstick with Joanna!
Firstly Joanna thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us, we are excited to have you!
You launched Shanghai Suzy in August last year – how has life been in the six months since then?
Things have been pretty crazy, in a good way! When I launched the business I was still working about 30 hours a week in other jobs, I’ve gradually transitioned now to working full time on the brand and it has been so exciting to see the brand flourish and grow. This year has been really busy – at the start of the year we were in about 25 stores, now the brand is sold in about 75 stores! And now we’re also in talks about a very cool exclusive US distribution opportunity but more on that once it’s confirmed!
Your concept of colour and smell is amazing, we love that the lipsticks smell like grape hubba bubba yum! How did you decide on your final products? Where did it start?
I started brainstorming Shanghai Suzy several years ago after I had finished working in cosmetics product development for several other local brands. I knew that I wanted an affordable go-to lipstick brand that only sold lipstick! The concept all came later – seasonal colours, cruelty-free, bubblegum fragranced etc. It took a while to decide on the brand name, packaging, formula – the colours came last based on the trends, I look at fashions coming out of the US and UK in particular when I’m selecting colours.
Who do you look to for inspiration for fashion? Business?
My inspiration for fashion comes from all over – I’m quite a tomboy actually and I love bold, masculine pieces. My favourite high-end brand is Givenchy, and for everyday my wardrobe consists of Sass & Bide, Cotton on and ASOS.
When it comes to business inspiration, I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and I bounce ideas and strategies off my Dad on a daily basis, he’s a mentor to me in a way. He has several successful environmental engineering companies, which couldn’t be more different to lipstick – but it’s crucial to step back and look at the bigger picture on a regular basis, and he definitely helps me do that. One of my best friends Daniel has an accounting background and now successfully runs his family business, we’ve been friends for about ten years and we’re constantly talking business. He definitely helped me in the early planning stages for Shanghai Suzy and is a great inspiration now when it comes to growing my business and implementing processes etc going forward.
With Shanghai Suzy growing so fast I am sure your days are really busy, what is an average day like for you?
I’m an early riser and the day normally starts with some sort of exercise – the gym or a walk. I normally spend half an hour planning my day – looking at meetings, my to-do list etc, planning to get it all done! Our priority it always our customers – we need to get our webshop orders completed and our wholesale orders completed, and pack any new store kits. A portion of my day is spent managing the PR/marketing/social media side of things, and a portion of my day is also spent on the financial, accounting side of things.
Do you have any tips for time management?
I’m a perfectionist and I have trouble delegating, which are terrible attributes when it comes to time management. Needless to say I normally work crazy hours but I wouldn’t have it any other way – I’m actually much more balanced now that I have my own business as opposed to working for someone else. I’m a big planner and I always have a plan for the day, I would never approach the day blindly or without order. I believe in focusing on one task at a time to get things done – I very rarely multi-task. Switch off the phone, email and social media, have one tab/document open, concentrate and physically tick the task off to help with momentum. I also think that prioritizing effectively is key, some things inevitably fall off the bottom of the list, which you need to be fine with.
What are your fashion tips for – must have lip colours?
My favourite all time ‘pop’ colour is an orange, I’ve loved it for years! My seasonal favourites change regularly of course – at the moment I’m loving our dramatic dark purple Miss Kitty Black Plum, and our highly pigmented peachy shade Miss Simone Baby Coral. This season is very dramatic, whether it’s a bold, richly pigmented pastel or a daring deep hue – I really feel that for this Winter, wishy washy colours are out. It’s all about defined lips and true colours.
What can’t you live without?
I have a lot of acne scars so I feel naked without a good mineral foundation. Obviously I love my lipstick (next level!), I also love coffee, chocolate and shellac!
Which celebrity lips would you most like to see wearing Shanghai Suzy? Why?
Nicole Richie hands down! I think she has the best style ever, I think we’d be best friends if I knew her!
What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back to when you were starting out?
Double your budget Joanna!
And lastly could you share a sneak peak of What is next in store for Shanghai Suzy?
Shanghai Suzy’s Spring Summer colours will launch in September which is super exciting! We’re developing the range now which is my favourite part of the job J Next year (Autumn Winter 15, launching in April) we’re going to see a chic new look for Shanghai Suzy with a stunning packaging makeover – stay tuned! You’ve heard it here first!
Thank you Joanna for chatting with us, we wish you every success for the future xx
If you would like to order any of the Shanghai Suzy Lipsticks including the latest edtion “Gosling” which was a collaboration between iconic Melbourne singer/songwriter Gossling and Shanghai Suzy, you can purchase them here: www.shanghaisuzy.com
Also check out Shanghai Suzy Face Book page here: https://www.facebook.com/shanghaisuzylipsticks