As sceptical as I was about parting with £35 per night I was interested in attending, I’m proud to say that curiosity got the better of me and I booked two nights worth of Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor events. My student loan went in, and no sooner had £70 of it vanished then another £30 odd for my return train journeys for each day (booked with Virgin via www.nationalrail.co.uk and as a student I managed to book return tickets PLUS London Day Travel card which enabled me to use the Underground to my heart’s content all day for just over £15 per day... bargain!) I initially was considering staying in a hotel for the night, but with prices being so hefty and revision time coming up, I figured having the morning in my university library then making tracks to London at about 1ish was a much better idea, especially considering the amazing price I got it for.
So what exactly is the Inspire and Mentor Campaign? A scheme set up by Marie Claire in 2010 was originally designed in partnership with The Prince’s Trust charity in order to celebrate the success of women in the work place and encourage the sharing of ideas, networking and the importance of mentoring and helping one another along, in order to give women that bit more to be proud of. Sound great right? Well, it really is. Since its launch, the campaign has hosted numerous lectures and seminars with inspirational guest speakers, enlisted the help of 17 of the most influential women in Britain spanning industries from film and fashion to beauty and business and created very real partnerships between these high-profile females and women who just needed that extra push to make their ideas a reality! For more information about the campaign and the successes which the mentees have had since the gruelling interview process just a year ago, check out the June issue of Marie Claire retailing in all good magazine vendors for £3.60. For students who may find that a bit too painful a fee, consider subscribing for just £1 for the first three months then £2 after that at www.magazinesdirect.com (the company through which Marie Claire organise their subscriptions). Also, there is no obligation to continue subscribing after the £1 runs out!
Anyways, let’s get onto business! Which events did I book? Well, there were three... How to get into fashion with Jane Shepherdson (most famous for the epic revamp of Topshop a couple of years ago and turning around the fortunes of quality women’s brand Whistles), How to get into beauty with Liz Earle (the lady who started a world-renowned beauty brand using only natural ingredients from scratch whilst raising a family) and How to get into business with Carole White (love her or hate her, she founded Premier Model Management in 1981 with her brother and consequently starred in the 7-part Channel 4 documentary The Model Agency... she is also managed to get tangled up in the recent Naomi Campbell ‘Blood Diamonds’ lawsuit somehow...) Naturally, I wanted to get onto them all, but unfortunately the Jane Shepherdson event was fully booked. Never mind, I thought at the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t going for Jane, Liz or Carole, but to see as many Marie Claire employees as possible, so I let it slide.
What else was I expecting? Well, when I booked the events I heard that the Liz Earle one was to be held at the rather plush Charlotte Street Hotel in the Goodge Street area whilst the following night would take place at Marie Claire Headquarters at the beautiful glass Blue Fin Building in Southwark. So I was expecting to get lost, that’s what I’m trying to say! Naturally, I had to plan my outfit around my inability to follow direction, so I decided on the first day to keep things simple with my gold gladiator sandals bought from Faith a million years ago, rust coloured tapered Topshop trousers, cream Topshop crop-top with peach coloured detail and my oversized cream knit cardigan from, you guessed it, Topshop! The following day, I wore my black glads (bought at the same time and place as the gold ones!), but took a pair of my highest heels in my handbag for when I arrived, after all this was Marie Claire HQ, my future place of work, so I had to make a good impression! I paired the shoes with my black faux-leather jacket purchased in Papaya for a steal at $25 on my last trip to the USA, my black wayfarer sunnies from Urban Outfitters which were a present from my mom last year and my snakeskin-print jumpsuit from Topshop (another bargain... got it in the online Flash Sale for just £35 from £65!)
In my confirmation email I was informed that the events would start at 6.30pm and finish at 8pm on the 11th and 12th of May and that there would be nibbles and champagne available! I also read on the Marie Claire website that we would receive goodie bags containing about £60 worth of swag per night... I thought, ‘SCORE!’
Anyways, over the next few days I will write up what each of the events were like and let you in on the contents of my goodie bag, but I just wanted to do this blog to let you all know about the campaign and strongly recommend it. If you have any questions or have had any past experiences with the campaign, please just stick it down in the comments and I will respond as soon as possible J
Take care my little chick-ettes.