An Australian Beauty Entrepreneur Reveals Her #1 Piece of Career Advice

Lauren Powell

Photography by Christian Blanchard; Styling by Tarra Chong; Makeup by Ania Milczarczyk; Hair by Jess Furlan and Edwards & Co Sydney.

Eleanor Pendleton is the definition of successful female entrepreneur. The founder and editor of beauty website and online magazine, Gritty Pretty, has just added another business accolade to her cap with the launch of Gritty Pretty’s e-commerce store this week.

The beauty guru, who is best described as innovative, inspiring, dedicated (and who has one of the dreamiest offices in town), started Gritty Pretty back in 2010 and has since evolved the company from a side hustle blog into a independent digital publishing company.

The digital publisher-come-e-tailer now offers a curated mix of brands and products that are of course beauty-editor approved—beauty aficionados, rejoice! We caught up with the award-winning journalist to chat all things small business—scroll on to read our interview with the inspiring company founder.   

MYDOMAINE AUSTRALIA: What are the biggest lessons learned since starting Gritty Pretty?

ELEANOR PENDLETON: Do everything you do with authenticity and passion. Don't be afraid of failure, but if you do make a mistake, make it fast. Also, the industry is very small so be kind to others—this will come back to you. And, always know your why—the real, deep burning reason you've launched your business and taken a giant leap of faith in the first place—I always come back to that every morning when I drive to my office so I remain centered, focused, and committed to the loyal audience Gritty Pretty has accumulated. Sure, the road to success is never smooth—there are plenty of potholes and roadblocks along the way. For me, one of the biggest lessons or challenges I've had was convincing traditional media agencies to invest into an online beauty magazine that did not exist yet and had no competitor I could compare. In fact, the 'sell' still comes with its challenges. But, I don’t see these experiences as negative as such—I see them as experiences, which Gritty Pretty, my team, and I can learn from.

MD: What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs aspiring to start their own business?

EP: Good things come to those who work their ass off!

MD: What has been both the most challenging and surprising aspects of starting your own business?

EP: The warp speed evolution of digital changed everything for me. I thought I would eventually go on to become a print magazine editor—I never imagined I would become the founder and editor of my own independent digital publishing company. Life throws unexpected turns but I’m glad it threw me this one. I’ve learnt more about myself since running my own business than I have before.

To me, success is creative freedom. The freedom to conjure up ideas, execute them and share them with the world. I feel so grateful that my business has become successful—I can't stress that enough. I'm grateful to all of my staff and the people I work with—they each contribute to making my dream, and I hope also theirs, a reality.


Photography by Christian Blanchard; Styling by Tarra Chong; Makeup by Ania Milczarczyk; Hair by Jess Furlan and Edwards & Co Sydney.

MD: What are the things people don’t realise when starting your own company?

EP: How f**king hard it is! Because Gritty Pretty is relatively well known, perhaps it exudes an air of glamour and success, but there's a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes such as being chained to a spreadsheet at 2am. Sexy, huh?

Plus, if you're leaving the big corporate world to run your own start-up, you suddenly become the IT department, HR department, accounts, admin assistant—your role isn't just 'Founder' or 'Director', it's 'I Do 875 Jobs A Day'.

Also, "office hours" becomes a fantasy—a mythological idea of working just eight hour days, five days a week. What even is a 40-hour week? No, really... Since launching Gritty Pretty, I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I’m a perfectionist and have immense attention to detail. I place a lot of pressure on myself because Gritty Pretty is my business, but I’m excellent at internalising it. I think it's really important to have a personal support network—my fiancé, family, and close friends—who I can confide in. I also have an incredible Gritty Pretty team and the work culture we have stems from me. I make a point not to let stress overcome me and I have consciously created an office environment where the team have freedom to work their own hours or from home when they choose.


Photography by Christian Blanchard; Styling by Tarra Chong; Makeup by Ania Milczarczyk; Hair by Jess Furlan and Edwards & Co Sydney.

MD: Do you have a business mentor? And if so, why do you think mentors are important for new or aspiring business owners?

EP: I confide regularly in incredible businesswomen including Marina Go, Julie Stevanja, Bahar Etminan, Sally Obermeder, Maha Koraiem, Bianca Monley, Alison Rice, and Sara Donaldson. I also love reading books by female entrepreneurs such as Lisa Messenger and Ariana Huffington. I'm also inspired by local successful women such as Samantha Wills. I'm really passionate about The Sisterhood! I truly believe women should lift each other up (girls can drag each other down)—I think it's very important to help others in business and give back, especially to those starting out, by sharing your own knowledge and experiences you've had.

MD: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when building your brand and business?

EP: No—everything that was meant to happen, happened when it should.

MD: Do you think it’s important to take risks in business? If so, why?

EP: If you take a risk and it pays off, you will be happy. If you take a risk and it falls short, you will be wise.

MD: As an inspiring entrepreneur and company owner, what is your number one piece of career advice?

EP: Create a business plan, find your niche and never give up. If you haven’t figured out what you want to do just yet, that’s okay too. Think of what makes you happy and run with that—that in itself is pretty epic!

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