For our third #BossWomen this International Women’s Day, we met up with Nellie Eden at Selfridges to shop, discuss her business venture and most importantly chat WOMEN. At just 27, Nellie is the owner of creative agency Babyface, read on to learn more about why Nellie inspires us.
How are you, what’s going on for yourself and Babyface right now?
Right now, we’re busy working on a few events and bits of strategy for some of our clients. All the work is really around better speaking to women our age via more authentic work and communications. I’m also busy as associate editor at Dazed Beauty which is taking up increasing amounts of time. Our first print issue is available to buy now, and we have amazing covers like Travis Scott and Kate Moss together, Kylie Jenner, Slick Woods and Genesis P-orridge. So feeling inspired and tired!
So Babyface is going from strength to strength, can you tell us more about how the company was founded/started?
We began as a female-focused careers platform in 2014, and now we’re somewhere between a creative agency and creative consultancy.
Babyface has always been about providing a community for women in the creative industries. Before online support systems exist like they do now (largely on Instagram), we founded Babyface on the premise that women needed a support network and a place to talk about their careers in a fun and organic way. We always wanted to promote collaboration and communications between like-minded people on and offline, and we hope we’ve achieved that. Now, we work with our community (that far outnumbers the people we’ve profiled on site), brands and agencies to create more authentic work that better speaks to women. We have an open door policy at our studio in East London and we offer advice for any women out there looking for it. We began as a platform where we interviewed creative women about what they did. In turn they’d recommend a girl to be “Babyfaced”. The network flourished really naturally from there. Then, about a year in we realised we were residing over a unique business opportunity- in that- we could work with our community and brands we loved and create great work and get young female paid properly. Now, we work day to day with brilliant clients like Glossier, The Body Shop, Nike and agencies like Mother and D&AD. We offer all kinds of “services”; consultancy, insight, market research, production and programming are but a few! And, we always have a very notorious Christmas party to send off each year with a bang.
The switchover from your 9-5 to taking on Babyface full time must have been pretty challenging, do you have any survival tips? (What do you wish you knew when you were starting out?)
I wish I’d had more time. I’m actually proud of how patient Claire and myself where when we started out. We never took investment, we just followed our noses. I like that we never waited for anyone’s permission and never looked too closely at what anyone else was doing. We now reside over a unique and tailored small business which suits us down to the ground. My survival tips are very loving friends, my mum, good books and 8 hours sleep when I can.
You set up your business with partner Claire Burman, how do you find working together? Do you have any advice for people wanting to set up a business together?
Have a personal agenda that you carry with you from job to job – whether that’s seeing more women in sport, seeing more females in STEM or promoting queer artists, take something personal into each boardroom you go into and try and chip away a little at the status quo. It gives my work a greater purpose when I think about the larger social responsibility we have to our community.
Working together has its challenges. Our partnership is so effective because we’re yin and yang, but it also means that we approach tasks really differently so we bear that in mind and never talk over one another, always listen, always laugh it off, never ever swear and always, always take a break every now and then.
I noticed you enjoy expressing yourself through styling and clothing, as a young woman have you always felt so free to explore fashion?
I love clothes. For so long I’ve not been comfortable with my consumerist potential (I can be totally deadly with shopping) but I’m reaching a happy place where I feel comfortable with what I purchase. I sell a lot of stuff, buy second hand and invest in less, higher quality pieces. I love colour, and I love tailoring. Prada is a weakness, as is Simone Rocha and currently Saks Potts, Eytys and hair clips from the market. I loathe designer bags on me, so I wear all of this with plastic bags. Sorry! My wardrobe is slowly becoming this shrine to young European designers. I really cherish all the clothes I have, but, if tomorrow, I were to lose them all, I wouldn’t cry about it. It’s just stuff.
So finally through your job you get to work with inspirational women daily, who should be looking at as the up-coming power women?
Gosh. So many. Joy Miessi, who is an amazing artist. Marie Yat, a friend who makes beautiful soft underwear. Scientist Male Mawkin, 18-year-old activist Amika George. Poet Abondance Matanda. Director Rhea Dillon. Photographer Joyce NG.
Do you have a standout woman, who has been the biggest inspiration to you?
My mother, Mandy. My friend and colleague, Isamaya Ffrench,
Any last tips for our GG gals?
Try not to sweat it too much, in a week it won’t matter.