We caught up with Susan Gerrard, Gerrard International chairwoman and Mii founder, as part of our International Women’s Day series, celebrating our female founders and championing women’s rights throughout the month of March.
What does being a female founder mean to you?
Using my professional experience and knowledge of the beauty industry, I feel I have empathy with other women and am proud to represent that. After about 7 years of researching and testing for the right makeup selection and manicure and pedicure range, I instinctively knew that my brand would be well received and loved. I love wearing makeup and am never seen without it. And having trained thousands of manicurists in the past nationwide, my nails are always immaculately polished. I can also multi task and am able to function being a mother, grandmother and leader in the industry.
What, or who, inspired you to start Gerrard International?
I wanted our company to be master of our own destiny. I wanted a secure future for our company, for our own brand and our lovely clients who have become to rely on us.
What are you most proud of achieving in your career?
Launching my own brand of makeup and nail care, we named it Mii.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Apart from Covid, which has had a world-wide effect, it would be breast cancer which I had 28 years ago when I was just one year into developing my business and 12 years ago when my daughter was also diagnosed. Thankfully, all is well with both of us but we certainly make the most of every day.
What’s your top tip for anyone wanting to set up their own brand?
Do thorough research and make sure that there is a gap in the market for it
How do you get the right balance between being a business woman and the rest of your life?
I am very lucky that apart from about a team of 65 us in the business, I also have my husband Ian who is financial director, daughter Lisa who is our managing director, daughter Danielle who is director of international sales and son Paul who is our brand communications director.
So we have family time all the time which is great. I gain great pleasure from my 6 grandchildren ages from 23 to 15. We have a great circle of friends with whom I love socialising and I enjoy playing the piano which I learnt just eight years ago. I love reading cookery books and when I have time I love to bake and cook. I have to admit that I love buying clothes and have an amazing boutique called Harpers quite near to where I live. I have been a regular customer for over 50 years and their buying skills are quite unique and completely up to date with fashion from France, Italy, Spain and America.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever had about your brand?
We have had so many amazing testimonials and they all include the ‘wow’ factor. All the compliments include the fact that the products are so easy to apply with colours and shades to suit everybody and they are loved by all. It has also been said that the foundations, mascaras, serums and hand creams are addictive!!
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?
Life is not a dress rehearsal, so make every moment count. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. Joan Collins once said this, and it has always stayed with me. I believe that we should treat other people how we would want to be treated.
Next week, we catch up with Lucy Palmer, founder of Hair Gain.