NATALIE MOORES, CO-FOUNDER OF MAC&MOORE
The latest kick-ass woman for The Female Focus series features our friend and key partner Natalie (Nat). We're big believers in her and the business she shares with her partner Jess. We caught up with her on setting up Mac&Moore with her mate, the art of poetry and the importance of pushing for equality with attitude.
Did you have a female role model or someone you admired as a kid?
There are a lot of strong women in my family, and I’ve always aspired towards being able to take my place amongst the ‘powerhouse pack’. My mum, in particular, always taught me to work hard and that you should always be able to rely on yourself, which has made me fiercely independent and I’m hugely grateful to her for that.
As incredible as it is to find amazing female role models within your own family, I do really hope that future generations can be inspired by women in all sorts of fields, industries and areas outside their immediate network. More representation means more inspiration!
What led you to start Mac&Moore?
I actually never imagined I would be running my own business when I first started out in the world of work. It was something so far removed from my field of vision that I never believed I could do it. Then, after working for a few years, gaining confidence and conviction in my own ideas I realised that there were a lot of things I wanted to do differently. The best way to do the work I wanted without having to navigate internal politics or have someone else ultimately responsible for your career was to start something myself. I think Jess and I met at exactly the right time and we often joke about me being the Yin to her Yang, but it’s true. We realised very early on that we complement each other’s skillsets and working styles and that meant we could bounce off each other and work in a more productive way than I ever had before. A business partnership needs work, just like any other relationship and we’ve always placed an importance on communication in order for us to get the best out of ourselves and each other.
How do you think your early years have influenced what you're doing today?
I was always a book worm. I remember maxing out my library card every week and then my mum catching me reading with a torch under my duvet way after I should have been fast asleep. I think all those books gave me a real love for language, and a broad vocabulary (and a lot of dark circles under my eyes!). It seems to make sense now that I would be working with words, and I love experimenting with the way things sound when they are put together. I’m a published poet as well as running my business and I definitely think that playing around with words in a poetic format helps me bring something totally different to my clients.
How do you keep learning more whilst building a business?
I am a bit obsessed with learning. I did a Masters straight after my undergraduate degree and would love to do a PhD at some point (Dr. Moores, yes please!). But in the meantime I am always trying to advance my knowledge in some way. Feminism is very important to me and I am always trying to broaden my understanding of the world I live in … and learn how that world fits into the wider world. It’s confronting sometimes to step outside of your own echo chamber but so important to do. We also lived in Amsterdam for six months recently and I made myself go to all sorts of interesting events over there which was great. Jess and I attended an amazing negotiation workshop hosted by SheSays and FinchFactor, also the Creative Mornings were fab!
Where do you get your inspiration?
As the creative half, inspiration is vital to my day-to-day work, and I absolutely believe that it can come from the places you least expect. If I need to come up with a new idea I’ll quite often go for a walk. Sometimes being on the move and either trying to clear my head out completely or have a look around me and see if something stirs ends up creating the best work. Reading something that has absolutely no relevance to the project can also be useful so that you force yourself out of thinking in the same way or risking getting stuck on something that’s been done before. T.S Eliot said, ‘good writers borrow, great writers steal’ and I think if you’re stealing from somewhere completely unrelated and rewriting it to suit the goal you’re working on then the output can be magic.
Why do you promote equality with attitude?
When we first started Mac&Moore we created the hashtag #GirlsDoneGood. At the time, it was a distilled way of describing ourselves, we had overcome a lot to get to the point of setting up our business and we wanted to be confident and celebrate that. As the business grew however, so did the number of other #GirlsDoneGood we wanted to champion and shout about, and it sort of transferred to being the starting point of a mission to go beyond client work and be fierce advocates for female empowerment. Two years on, we feel as though #GirlsDoneGood doesn’t go far enough. There’s deep-rooted injustice, discrimination and prejudice across cultural, racial and gender lines meaning that you can’t simply talk about one issue in isolation. So often the conversation about feminism excludes women of colour, trans women or disabled women, and we’re well aware that we need to constantly continue to learn and listen to ensure we’re advocating equality for everyone, not just anyone who looks like us.
What do you think is missing from businesses in building true diversity?
I think there’s an element of acceptance missing. That comes from listening. A lot of people know that they ‘should’ be on board with gender equality and diversity now, but I’m not sure everyone actually believes in it wholeheartedly. I’ve seen plenty of conversations online or heard people still disputing the gender pay gap for example, which means there’s still work to do on education. People need to really listen to those around them who can offer a different perspective (whether that’s gender, race, culture or ability) and absorb what they hear without internalising it or getting defensive. That’s where a lot of these types of conversations break down and I think once we can move past that, it’ll be much easier to adopt and we’ll start to see a shift in the tide.
What advice can you give to businesses that want to make a mark through their marketing?
Don’t underestimate the power of great copywriting. A lot of business owners think they can write their own brand copy, and I totally appreciate that if costs are tight, most people can write far more proficiently than they can design, for example. But there’s a big difference between getting the words down on your website and those words persuading someone to buy from you, or get in touch, or even remember you. If you do go down the DIY route, make sure you’ve completely nailed your brand personality and tone of voice before you start so that what you write is reflective of your brand and always consistent. If you do have some budget to invest, get a skilled copywriter on board and you’ll see a big difference!
Name the best piece of marketing in your opinion and why?
I have always loved Guinness’ marketing. The very best ideas are so simple but they just work. The ‘Made of More’ campaign they did in association with English rugby was such a smart idea in its absolute sheer simplicity.
Similarly, The Fearless Girl campaign really packed a punch. That was a great example of the importance of context within marketing. Placed anywhere else, she wouldn’t have had the same impact, but by standing up to the charging Wall St bull, the conversation around gender equality and female empowerment was framed beautifully.
What's your biggest learning so far since starting Mac&Moore?
There have been two big ones and they almost contradict each other.
No one’s going to do it for you. There are so many different elements to running a business that you just don’t need to involve yourself in when you are employed by a big company. Both Jess and I wear a LOT of different hats, and sometimes that can feel exhausting. When you’ve spent your whole day working on a project and have to spend an evening catching up on finances or filing it can feel never-ending. But no one is going to do it for us … and I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing now for the world!
Go with the flow. Mac&Moore has been our sole source of income since day one, so we really took the plunge. That means some pretty scary days when you’re not sure where the next bit of work is coming from, or if a client doesn’t pay your invoice on time. It takes a lot of practice not to freak out in these moments, and remember that the most important thing to do is continue focusing on providing great work… things have a habit of working themselves out and stressing yourself into a stomach ulcer is not going to be useful to anyone.
Who's a woman you watch or someone you admire in 2018?
I really enjoy Marisa Bate’s writing for The Pool. I think what that platform has done in general is really inspiring. They’ve changed the game on ‘writing for women’ and proved that you can still publish articles about the best moisturisers without assuming it’s all we care about. The variety of content displayed and the subject matter is engaging, compelling and I usually start every day reading their email in bed!
I also think Amika George has done an incredible job raising awareness and driving action around period poverty. I first discovered her whilst researching our #20GirlsDoneGood campaign early this year and have been following her progress with great interest. It just goes to show that you’re never ‘too young’ to be taken seriously and I think she’s an amazing role model for girls everywhere not to tolerate injustice and to take action when something about the world angers them!
Name the quote you live by.
‘Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim’ – Nora Ephron
‘We must be swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon’ – Mulan (I know this song is about how to ‘make a man’, but I love flipping it on its head and think it’s a great motivator and basically how I would love to be described!)
Find out more about our most prized partners, Mac&Moore here.