Caroline Watson is a celebrity stylist (having worked with actresses including Cate Blanchett and musicians such as Kanye West and Britney), who has recently set up her own range of cool resuable zip away bags (an ‘overflow bag’, if you will) in a range of five brilliantly bold colours. Caroline lives a bi-coastal lifestyle, between London and Los Angeles, and is also mum to a young daughter. So she certainly knows a thing or two about juggling and dealing with ‘overflow’…
In the first of a new series on FashCatherine, editor Catherine Hudson finds out about the woman behind the brand, and gets Caroline’s advice on how to inspire women, through highs and lows, to reach similar, great things in business.
Stylist and designer, Caroline Watson
How would you describe your job, and how much of your time does it take up?
“It is 24/7. If I’m not prepping outfits for clients, I’m at fittings, getting them ready for a TV performance or on a plane travelling to the next promo junket. I shop and travel constantly for my job, however I am really lucky that I do get to pick and choose when I’m working. This then gives me time to focus on my own company Caroline Watson London, which is still relatively new, but I’m working really hard to expand it. “
You can shop Caroline’s bag collection online, now
How did you reach the job position you are in now?
“I used to study at the London College of Fashion which pointed me in the right direction. I started freelancing in my spare time with different stylists on various projects. My first big job was assisting Seta Niland who was hugely influential in the industry (Seta styled The Spice Girls). It was so exciting working for her, as well as so many other great stylists that helped me along the way. I then decided to launch my own career. I started working with boyband Blue in the early 2000’s – and it is all history from there.”
What was your biggest setback, and how did you overcome it?
“Many years ago as a stylist in the UK you would be pigeon holed into one area of styling. You were either an ‘editorial fashion stylist’ or a ‘music stylist’, so it was hard at times to get jobs in London. At one point, downloading music had taken over and the UK music industry was dying, so there were no more ‘CD-UK’ or ‘Top of the Pops’ shows that you would do week in week and week out. That’s when I decided to move to LA.”
Did you ever feel held back in the workplace, because you are a woman? If so, how did you conquer that?
No, not ever. I know my stuff when it comes to menswear. If you are knowledgeable about your craft then nobody can hold you back. Whether you are man or woman. My clients respect my work and I always involve them in clothing choices. It’s about them at the end of the day and it’s my job to make them shine and feel comfortable and look great. It’s team work and I love all the boys I work with.
How have you gained confidence within your working role?
My confidence comes from the great experience I’ve been lucky enough to gain working with lots of different people. I always take on board people’s advice to help me grow and develop.
Caroline with her daughter
Work aside, how do you prioritise your social time? Who gets the most of your attention?
My daughter definitely takes up most of my social time – I love hanging out with her, and she’s also super inspiring to me! I try to see my friends and family as much as I can, because when I was on tour, and living bi-costal, I didn’t get to see them very much. So whenever I’m free, I’m usually chilling out with my daughter or my family.
How do you relax?
I love kicking back and relaxing, cooking something wholesome and delicious or chilling out in the evenings in front of the TV. Going to the park with my daughter or down to our local beach if weather permits. I love watching family movies from the ’80s and ’90s – my daughter loves them too – she’s a huge back to the future fan!
What would you say to women who are interested in starting a career in your industry?
Be prepared to work very hard and for long hours. Keep an open mind and learn as much as you can from your mentors and those around you in the industry when you’re first starting off, but if you feel like something is going to work be happy in your own judgment. Be confident in your style choices, if you think you have a good eye for something stick with it, don’t let people alter your style decisions. Work hard and never give up
How do find your own inspiration – for work, and for play?
My inspiration comes from film, fashion and fabrics but it can come from anything really. I’ve got an eye for anything creative.
What are your three top tips for starting your own business?
1) Believe in yourself, your product /clients. You have to be focused and stay disciplined. I believe in my bags, and my business reflects this. It gives me the energy to keep going.
2) Learn everything you can in all areas of your business from the accounts to marketing if you are running your own business you need to know about all its moving parts
3) Team work makes the dream work
How ambitious are you? Are you still striving for more success? How?
I’m a really hard worker – I always have been, and since having my daughter, I’m even more so! I enjoy being busy so I am always striving for success. I want to build Caroline Watson London into a household name/lifestyle brand.
What is your favourite/best social media tool?
I am a big user of Instagram @carolinewatson_ – I’ve been to some amazing places and worked on some really unique projects so I always want to share my Instagram posts with people. It’s a great place for my followers to see what I’m doing with my life and I always try and keep it fun, dynamic and relatable as possible.