I really admire entrepreneurs, especially those in the creative industries. This year I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts on Northern Ireland based female professionals who have really made their mark in their chosen area. I find them and their work ethic inspiring, I hope you do too.
First up let’s find out more about Belfast-based Katrina Doran, founder and editor of Sugahfix.com.
You’re a self-confessed beauty and fashion obsessive, but when did your interest turn into a fully-fledged obsession?
Pretty much from birth! My family owned a fashion production company in Newry making coats – and the famous Burberry trench coat was made there in the 60s and 70s so fashion is in my blood.
My earliest memory of ‘fashion’ is asking my mum to make me a pair of pink corduroy dungarees – I think I was two!
You couldn’t get the sort of clothes you can get for kids back in the day so if you wanted something then you had to make it yourself. Having a super-seamstress as a mummy was big help! I have four older brothers so my mum tended to dress me in super-girlie frilly dresses, which I wasn’t that fussed on haha! I’ve always been a bit more subtle with my personal style. I just wanted clothes like my brothers so I could climb trees, but in pink of course!
The beauty side of things arrived at age 13 when my skin went haywire. I tried every sort of acne treatment and went to the doctor several times but nothing worked so I decided I’d educate myself about skin and skincare and fix myself! It’s a work in progress!
When and where did you first come up with the idea of Sugahfix.com?
Sugahfix.com is a development of a magazine that I produced for Paul Stafford Hairdressing called Gloss. I wish I’d bought the domain at the time but this was ten years ago before blogging was a big thing. Gloss was the first digest-sized magazine published by controlled circulation in Northern Ireland – before Fate or Go Belfast. I’ve always worked in female lifestyle marketing and was always looking for this perfect publication to advertise my clients. I loved Daily Candy in New York and Handbag.com in London and decided to take the core of Gloss as a concept and go online.
What are your top five ‘can’t live without’ beauty items?
1. Crème De La Mer Radiant Concealer. It saved me from being a hermit during a really bad bout of cystic acne and can be used under the eyes to hide dark circles or to cover blemishes – it’s a real multi tasker.
2. Benefit Stay Don’t Stray. I use this every day and couldn’t do without it. It really does help your eye makeup stay put and not crease.
3. Dior Skin Nude foundation – my favourite foundation! It’s the perfect match for my ghostly pallor and has just the right level of coverage but still looks like skin. Like me, only better!
4. Eyeliner – I’ve worn a cat eye style liner since I was 13 so I don’t feel like myself unless I have my liner on. I switch from liquid liner to pencil to gel or just black eyeshadow applied with a liner brush – depending on my mood or how much time I have to get ready.
5. Elemis Tri-Enzyme facial wash. I love the whole Tri-Enzyme range but if I have to pick one product then the facial wash is a must-have. My skin really loves it and it seems to keep everything in check. I ran out about a month ago and was so happy that my friend bought me a little kit of the range for Christmas that had the wash in it. I could tell from first use my skin was much happier! I used it first thing in the morning when I’m in the shower and it really does help keep my pores clear and skin looking and feeling smooth.
Looking to summer 2014, what trends should I be buying into?
The trends for 2014 fashion are a bit samey – the 90s influence will be stronger this year but you probably have a lot in your wardrobe that you can wear again. Floral prints, pretty pastels, sheer, pleats and metallics – sound familiar? Make-up trends are a bit more interesting with a move away from contouring – and towards skin that looks ‘real’. Brows will still be strong but they’ve dominated the face the past few seasons and it’s going towards a softer more feminine look – no one feature is the most important. So make-up up could give you fresh new looks along with items already in your wardrobe.
You’re a big champion of Northern Ireland bloggers and you set up the FABB (fashion and beauty bloggers in NI) group. What would be your advice to wannabe bloggers?
Big big advice for bloggers is ‘FIND YOUR NICHE’. Find something that you are super interested it, that absolutely fills you with joy and that no one else is doing, and go after it like a dog with bone. Be the expert. The more niche the better! The niche might be as big a fashion in a certain location like what everyone is wearing on Brick Lane in London – so you go out and photograph what people are wearing on Brick Lane every single day, or it could be as narrow as turquoise jewellery. Then pull in everything about turquoise jewellery that you can find and be the expert in that niche.
There are so many ‘here’s what I’m wearing today’ blogs that unless how you dress is really super unique – you will loose interest as quick as your readers will.
What do you love most about the work you do?
Photoshoots. I love fashion and beauty photography. It took me a while to really figure out what I’m good at and photoshoots is it – from concept to production. Seeing an idea coming to life, taking everyone’s ideas and stirring them up in the pot so the result is an organic process that is bigger than the sum its parts. When every member of the team is really on fire – that’s when the magic happens and you product the most beautiful pictures.
What has been your proudest professional moment?
That’s a really hard one. There have been lots of little ones but I suppose winning Best Blog at the Northern Ireland Social Media Awards was one I always remember as being a real ‘EEP!’ moment. Sugahfix had been shortlisted and been a finalist for lots of awards but this was the first time it officially was the winner and I really was so thrilled. It also led to me setting up FABB as through the awards I’d found some fab (pardon the pun) other fashion bloggers in Northern Ireland who were also shortlisted.
What or who in life inspires you?
Creativity inspires me. And people with real talent.
Una Rodden and Grainne Maher are two of the most creative and talented people I know and I love working with them and seeing their businesses grow.
Una is so humble about her talent – she’s hasn’t a clue how amazing she is! I met Una about 15 years ago in my first job in a fashion PR and event management company when she was assisting Michelle O’Doherty who was the big name in fashion design at the time. It’s fab to see how far she’s come. Grainne Maher is one of my best friends and I love it when she’s in a real tizzy about something new she’s made – her enthusiasm is infectious! She also works so hard and grabs opportunities with both hands and hangs in there for the ride to see where it takes her – she’s a real grafter with creativity and talent in equal measures. I love that.
A lot of your tweets and instagrams feature your adorable cat, is he your biggest fan?
Kuma is my daily joy. He’s such a sweet little bundle of fur. Whatever is happening in the world, there he is, bright as a button every morning. He just wants fed, played with, and a warm lap to snuggle on. Such simple pleasures. He doesn’t care what I’m wearing or what size I am or if I have my make-up on – that unconditional and uncomplicated love of a pet is a wonderful thing.
How do you like to unwind?
I’m getting really into meditation and using crystals – sounds all very hippie but it a good friend of mine was training to be a crystal healer and I was her case study for her assessments so she practiced on me and it is the most phenomenal thing I’ve ever experienced. I also love yoga. I got to Yoga Flow Studio on Hill Street and they have underfloor heating – it’s bliss!
Katrina doing what she does best – managing a photoshoot
Katrina with her beloved Kuma
Follow Katrina on Twitter.