Legology founder Kate Shapland decided to change her career path after writing a beauty column at the Telegraph Magazine for over a decade. A beauty editor on a mission, Kate worked with an independent French chemist to start her own leg care range, creating a product that worked brilliantly but also felt so good to use and wear it became a healthy habit. Despite admitting she could have carried on writing her column for another 14 years, Kate had a passion she couldn't ignore...
Having written for The Telegraph Magazine’s beauty column for years, what made you decide to press the reset button on your career and take the plunge to start your own brand?
I loved working for the Telegraph Magazine and I could have carried on writing the column for another 14 years, but I had a passion which I couldn’t ignore, irrespective of the implications on my finances or security. I’ve been obsessed with leg health and beauty for many years, and from my perspective as a beauty writer – with a view on both the market and consumer demand – I felt that there was a real opportunity for a dedicated leg care line that delivered results and was also fantastic to use and wear.
What inspired you to create Legology?
I felt women were being short changed on leg care. Cellulite has become a byword for leg care rather like skin care is all about preventing ageing, but while it’s definitely an issue for most women, it isn’t the only problem legs have. Fluid retention and heaviness are also issues – especially when it’s hot, during pregnancy, long haul travel or even after being on your feet all day. I saw nothing that addressed this, and with it, cellulite (because the two are linked), so I set out to do that, working with an independent French chemist on formulas that worked hard and made leg care more of a positive experience. The bottom line was that the products had to work brilliantly but also feel so good to use and wear that they became a healthy habit, because in beauty repetition equals results.
Has your approach to beauty changed since starting your own brand?
No. If anything it’s proven to me that all the things that I believed in when I was writing about beauty – attention to detail, integrity, passion, performance and the feel-good factor – do matter. Great beauty products are the sum total of all these elements, it gives them soul, that’s what makes them appealing.
How do you achieve balance in your everyday life?
I’ve given up trying, I’m far too chaotic to be balanced.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned along the way?
That dealing with the little daily hurdles gives you confidence. That you can’t be pioneering with a ‘push back’ mentality, so if you’re manufacturing you have to seek out people who are as thirsty to break the mould as you are.
What’s your ‘pinch me, I must be dreaming’ moment?
Seeing Legology rated alongside the most coveted beauty brands by my peers. The editors have seen everything and there is so much. It means so much that any of them are even interested in Legology.
What advice would you give to someone starting out a career in beauty?
To really understand all the different parts of the business – not just the sector you work in, so you have a broad view of beauty.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m very inspired by anything with a past – buildings, textiles, people.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To listen to everyone except people who say it can’t be done.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Hang on, everything turns out ok in the end.
What did you want to be growing up?
When are you happiest?
Give me a skirt with an elasticated waist, a t-shirt, a pair of plimsolls, a change of underwear and a toothbrush and send me to the countryside for a week in the summer. That’s happiness for me.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Making my own way forward.
And what would you like to achieve next?
A legacy beauty brand – I’m working on it.
When was the last time you laughed out loud?
Pretty much all night last Friday at a friend’s 50th in Kentish Town.
Fantasy Dinner Party. You get to choose six guests – dead or alive – to spend the evening with. Who would you choose? And who does the washing up?
Photo-journalist Sean Flynn, Errol Flynn’s son, who disappeared in Cambodia in 1971; WW2 SOE agent Violette Szabo; Elizabeth Arden; author and Londonphile Peter Ackroyd; Charles Dickens; and Burt Baccharach. There would be no washing up – at Fantasy Dinner Parties the dishes do themselves.
At hush we value female friendships - what qualities do all your friends share?
A great sense of humour, empathy for each other, and a desire to see the point of Snapchat.
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m devoted the preservation of London’s heritage.
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I’ve rediscovered Dean Martin recently, so I’ve currently got him for company in the Fiat 500.
What’s your top tip to unwind?
Exercise – walking or Lotte Berk, a hybrid ballet-pilates method which uses small intense movements to tighten and stretch muscles.
Over or under dressed?
Under, but with a bright lipstick on standby to ramp everything up if need be.
Summer or winter?
Summer in the country, winter in town.
Over or under packer?
Over, always. Pack tight!
Ultimate beauty trick?
My mother’s egg and oil mask – add a drop of oil to a beaten egg, apply to your face with a cotton ball; wipe off after 10 minutes for magical softness and glow. You won’t need moisturiser or foundation.
Skincare saviour you swear by?
Guerlain’s L’Or Radiance Primer – the original skin-perfector and still the best.
Desert island beauty product (we’ll give you sunscreen)?
Legology Air-Lite, my hero.
Clotted cream on chocolate digestive biscuits.
Think big but make time for cosiness.
Can’t live without…
My husband, my wingman at Legology, and our Scottie dogs.
To see Kate's Legology range visit Legology.co.uk!