Later Life Stories – The Entrepreneur
Sleep is my secret weapon – I get about nine hours a night. I can be the most sociable person but I’ve always been a party pooper at night. I like to spend evenings by myself to regroup. It helps me stay fresh and focused the next day.
As the founder of Rodin Olio Lusso, I need to be. The beauty products company I launched at 59 after a freelance career as a fashion stylist — I worked with big fashion and beauty clients, including Madonna and Halle Berry — has become bigger than I could have imagined.
I started out mixing the ingredients for my body oil in a coffee mug at home and then giving it away to friends and beauty and fashion insiders. It was like making salad dressing — I didn’t have a precise, written-down recipe but I knew how much of each oil to mix and I did it the same way every single time. One day, my nephew saw me do it and said, “Why are you giving it away?”
If I had thought about my oil as the launchpad of a big business, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I would have thought that it was all too overwhelming. But the experience has been very gratifying. To be viewed at this stage in my life as some sort of style icon is surprising and exciting.
Being recognised on the street makes me feel special. But I can’t help smiling at all this recent attention: I mean, seriously, where was everybody when I was young and adorable?
Sleep is my secret weapon – I get about nine hours a night
One thing that helps with my style is that I’ve never been a trend-follower. I’ve been up to date on fashion due to my job as a stylist. And I’ve always loved beautiful and interesting clothes. I was also aware of what suited me and what didn’t. I have never felt a need to keep up with it all.
One of my social media joys is my personal Instagram account. I post a lot of pictures of my dog, Winky, and of my one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea with my collection of sea shells, plants and many other curios. But I don’t follow anybody on Instagram. It’s not to be exclusive but more because I don’t want to become overloaded by a constant flow of images coming my way. I prefer searching for things myself.
I like to stay healthy and I’ve always been conscious about what I eat. I try to eat organic products but I’m not a nut about it. I enjoy a good glass of wine with dinner. I’ve been lucky because I’ve had the same silhouette all my life even though I’m not an exerciser. As for my hair, it’s been grey since I was in my 30s and I’m not planning on changing that now. It’s interesting that now young girls are dying their hair silver.
In the end, it’s better to embrace getting older — but also to embrace its limitations. I can’t do some of the things I used to so I’ll just take a taxi where I used to run somewhere. The key is to be aware of what you can and can’t do.