Exclusive: Beauty Mogul Lara Worthington Gives Us a Lesson in Business
Sometimes you can sit on a business idea for years before you finally take that leap of faith, throw all your fears out the window, and make it happen. But it seems being an entrepreneur is today’s career of choice for many young creatives who are turning their passion projects into multimillion-dollar businesses. Lara Worthington, née Bingle, has done just that. Lara the model successfully transitioned herself into Lara the brand, bottling her quintessential Australian beach-girl essence into every tube of her new beauty line, The Base. The budding entrepreneur proved her business savvy and creative nous when she created a sellout swimwear collection for Cotton On, but Lara says her business education came from being on set as a model and dealing with corporate executives. “You learn to navigate through that from a young age,” she says. We spoke to the new mum—she gave birth to son Rocket Zot with husband Sam Worthington in March this year—on the biggest lessons she’s learned, how motherhood has changed her career, her tips for fellow entrepreneurs, and more. Scroll down to read more from Lara.
MYDOMAINE: You recently made the transition from international model to business model, launching your own beauty line, The Base. What has the experience been like?
LARA WORTHINGTON: It’s been exciting and one of the most rewarding things in my career to date. I have been involved in every aspect of launching The Base, from product development, packaging design, marketing, building an e-commerce site, and overseeing a team of people, to help bring my vision to life. At first it was overwhelming, but I believe in taking educated risks, working hard, surrounding yourself with positive people, and dreaming big.
MD: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about business and branding?
LW: I’m thrilled with the response to my products so far—it’s been so positive! I’ve been very hands-on with the business, doing everything myself with a small support team. The biggest lesson has been to understand my customers and listen to their feedback. I see each sale that comes through and take on board his or her experiences and feedback.
MD: To be a successful model, you have to be a savvy businesswoman; what has your modeling career taught you about business?
LW: As a model you are exposed to business and dealing with corporate executives, and you learn to navigate through that from a young age. I guess one of the key things it’s taught me is to look at things from a business perspective and not have an emotional attachment, but I’m still learning every day.
MD: How did you educate yourself on the science behind creating beauty products? Is education an essential component for any entrepreneur before launching a business?
LW: Being in the modelling industry for over a decade and having hundreds of different products applied to my face was research in itself. It gave me a good platform to know what I wanted to create. I am and continue to be actively involved in the development of The Base products and have continued to research new products and key ingredients for the range. I have just launched new products including a Lip to Cheek in two shades, New LB Cream shades, and a velvet bronzing makeup base is in the pipeline.
I recommend researching the market extensively and understanding your brand offering and what your customers want. It’s all about offering a unique product and brand experience for your customers.
MD: The Base is a product very close to your heart. How do you separate your heart from your head when it comes to business?
LW: Listen to your heart for creativity, but make educated and informed decisions in your business. Hard work and acknowledging the reality are essential to success!
MD: What does it take to run your own company—physically, mentally, and emotionally?
LW: People tell me that I’m determined, and I’ve always been that way. That’s how I built my business, just proving to myself a little at a time that I could do what I challenged myself to do. And once I proved one small thing to myself, I felt confident to go on and prove the next and the next. It’s all encompassing.
MD: What books do you recommend entrepreneurial women read to educate themselves on business?
MD: What are your top three tips for female entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
LW: Surround yourself with inspiring and positive people.
MD: Who are the successful people you look up to for business inspiration?
LW: Visionary, self-made women with inspirational careers such as Natalie Massenet, Jenna Lyons, Victoria Beckham, and Oprah Winfrey.
MD: What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
LW: Learning from your experiences each day and watching the business grow.
MD: Is there anything else you'd like to add about what it takes to run a business, tips for business success, or entrepreneurial advice?
LW: Learn to ask. It never hurts to ask.
MD: What advice do you have for other mumpreneurs looking to start their own business with a baby in tow?
LW: I’m always impressed with women who have a great work/life balance; knowing how and what to prioritise is important, and something I’m certainly working on. I think it will always be a constant juggle, though.
MD: What's next for Lara Worthington and The Base?
LW: I wanted to create something that was exciting to be a part of and something that makes people feel good about themselves, and I feel like it’s only just begun.
For now, I want to consolidate and get the right structures in place for global expansion. We’ve just signed Sephora in Australia, and we will launch with them at the end of this month. We’ve also had interest from other key global retailers, but I want to get the backend of the business 100% right first, everything from production, manufacturing, and new product development. Slow and steady wins the race.
What hurdles have you run into as an entrepreneur? Do you think education is key? Share your experience and tips in the comments below.