April Lockhart | Brand Marketing, Caudalie
What does a typical day of work look like for you?
Caudalie is such an entrepreneurial (or entrefemmeurial) environment. My job is a little bit of all things social, content, influencer, and events… everything I love! At another beauty company, what I do would usually be broken into totally different jobs or departments (i.e. social content, influencer marketing, events management, etc.) , but since Caudalie is relatively still small in the Americas, I get to have my hands on everything. Sometimes it's stressful, but most days I'm super grateful I get to work on so much & learn as I go.
Everything from organizing events, connecting & meeting with influencers, brand partnerships, product seeding, managing our social accounts: Facebook, Instagram, working with our French team on content for Instagram shooting content for IG stories, and analytics/reporting.
What tools and resources do you use for your work that you would recommend to aspiring creatives?
Since social is a huge part of my job and life, I totally think people should take their own personal Instagram seriously. Be yourself and be real with people - but also be creative, use it as a snapshot of your life, work, and passion. Use it as a moodboard. I'm obsessed with Planoly to organize photos + #vibe, and it just mainly keeps me sane moodboard my photos. Sorry, did someone say Type A? But seriously, people look at your Instagram as a portfolio nowadays. It's gotten me jobs before, so can't knock it.
Some tools I'm obsessed with in my work life (that may not be for aspiring creatives, because they cost #$$$ but) are Dash Hudson, which is an insanely gorgeous Instagram analytics platform that I love to find great UGC, analyze engagement rates, and check post performance, and Billion Dollar Boy, which has Instagram Story tracking capabilities (a HUGE lifesaver if you're in influencer marketing or PR).
Lastly, LinkedIn. I forget how addicted I get to it. There's always insightful articles & you never know who you'll connect with and how one message could change your career.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Stillness is so crucial for me in finding inspiration for work, and life. We can get into this go-go-go mode (which I am totally susceptible to), where we're working & creating and just trying to keep our head above water, that we don't have time to think on what's new and next, learn more, or just have the capacity to brainstorm. So I find that if I don't set time aside to either 1) sit with myself & do something that makes me happy or 2) do something new that grows me (i.e. reading, taking a class, talking to a mentor) than all the busy work becomes just busy work.
And then I mean, New York, right? It's hard to not be inspired here. Everyone is hustling doing 7 different things, plus their own side gig, plus XYZ. You almost can't live here if you're not one of those people. I just wanna keep up with all the boss women and men around me!
What is on your desk?
Always coffee. Whether its 9AM or 6PM, there's likely always a coffee on my desk. Sometimes I think it's a mental thing, like making coffee gives me energy - even if I don't drink it. A diffuser to de-stress me, and a Beauty Elixir also always. Because... have you tried it? Spa in a bottle.
What keeps you up at night? What gets you up in the morning?
Literally the only thing that gets me up in the morning is coffee. Am I the only person that gets excited the night before thinking about my coffee the next morning? Or like dreams of the smell of coffee? I'm insane. I've accepted that.
What’s the best business advice you can share with our readers?
Have your own thing. One of my first bosses, who still to this day I credit as one of the best mentors told me "get your own side gig, because at some point, you get tired of working for people. So even if you can only dedicate a tiny bit of time to it, just do it. One day you'll have built something thats yours & you'll be glad you did. And then you'll have the option not to work for someone."
And then, be kind to people. It's said a lot, but not often practiced. People get so competitive in work environments, and they're only nice to people they have to be nice to, or try to undermine people that are threatening their position. Just be nice to everyone. You never know where someone will end up, and how they might help you one day. And if not, you still didn't lose anything. Building up other's successes never tears you down. Rooting someone else on isn't going to threaten your position. People need to stop being afraid to encourage people or say in meetings "That's such a great idea!" it's not going to make your idea any less great by saying someone else's is great too. Let your work speak for itself, and let kindness & encouragement be your reputation.
Who are your idols?
I've loved Nicole Richie forever. I just think she's hilarious, beautiful, and built a respectful brand and come so far. And then just so many women I follow that are hustling, working, and doing cool things. There's a lot in New York.
What has been one of the most unexpected aspects of your career path?
My career feels like it's been a whirlwind of random coincidences that aren't a coincidence. I'm totally that person that believe everything in life happens intentionally. I can become so passionate about something, totally wholeheartedly pursue it, and then completely change directions. It's funny, but I'm grateful for that about myself. When I was a teenager, I thought I was going to be a musician - I was living in Nashville, playing shows, writing, recording, traveling, etc. and I just reached a point where I was like eh, I'm not passionate enough about this to do this for the rest of my life, so I applied to FIT because I was interested in social + marketing and completely did a 180. But I look back on all the cool friends + relationships I had from doing music, that I still have in my new career. I like to call it my USP! Something random that makes me, me. People never expect it.
I like to think of myself as Jim Carrey in Yes Man, because I try to say "yes" to any opportunity I think I'd learn from, and that's brought me a lot of unexpected career path twists & turns. Somehow along the way, it's lead me to beauty and I couldn't love this industry any more.
Words to live by?
Prioritize people. Remember the end goal & re-shift your focus. Choose joy. Don't compare yourself. Look back at how far you've come.
I know it goes against a lot of #girlboss stereotypes, but it can be so easy to always think about me-me-me, but for what? I want people around me that can help me, grow me, teach me, and push me. And no one wants to be friends with a selfish person. So prioritize your friends. Make time to text them something encouraging, or hang out with them - even if it’s once a month. Create that margin to be able to love people + you'll find your life and work become a lot easier.
You shouldn't dwell on the past, but it's healthy to look back at how far you've come and where you are now. Especially when you're losing inspiration or motivation. I had a mild breakdown a few months ago (ya know, it's healthy to do that like twice a year in my book) where I was just on social media overload, comparing myself to all the amazing women around me, and feeling like "why am I not here in life, why hasn't this happened, why does everything overwhelm me" and then I just started thinking to myself: "Dude. You're 23 years old. You've created your own position at your dream job, you work with smart people you love, you live and work in New York City, surrounded by friends you love, creating things, getting cool opportunities.... what's the problem, again?" and then I'm like "Oh." I've done a lot in my young years! And I have a lot left to go. Love the path you're in, and realize that it's a work in progress. You're never going to be perfect, and realizing it is where you can find joy. I kind of don't believe in an end goal. My end goal is to be always growing, always learning, always getting better.
What is your biggest career accomplishment?
I hope my biggest career accomplishment is yet to come! But to date, probably being able to create a position at Caudalie that focuses on community (it didn't exist before I started!) I think this concept of community is totally the future of influencer marketing. Sadly, I don't see a huge future for macro-influencers. It's just too costly for not enough payoff. Brands should focus on fantastic content creators with highly engaged audiences that care about their voices. I've gotten to concept our community-focused account, @MyCaudalie from a thought in a meeting to getting our founders on board to coming to life, and that's been a proud moment for me!
We’ve coined the term “entrefemmeur” to describe women who are forging their own paths, not taking any shit along the way. What does being an entrefemmeur mean to you?
Embracing myself fully. Realizing what I bring to the table is something no one else can + loving the path and progress I'm making. Learning constantly. Not being afraid to ask silly questions. Being confident. Knowing my worth + not settling. Not being hard on myself. Speaking up, even if I think my ideas aren't good or I'm not experienced enough or smart enough. Using my voice, even when I think it’s the unpopular opinion. Loving people!