Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Women to Inspire - Meet Fiona Klonarides, founder of

"Trust in life, it'll be grand"
Fiona Klonarides

         Each month we touch base with a special lady forging a pathway to make a difference in our world today. For April we chatted with award-winning beauty journalist and Green Queen, Fiona Klonarides, founder of unparalleled information hive 

         As well as running the site's prestigious annual skincare and beauty awards, Fiona knows a thing (or ten), about beauty and PR. Here she shares her inspirations, philosophies and loves:

ISO: We love that offers a refreshing hit of information on leading and niche beauty brands and all that is new beauty-wise, in an unbiased and honest way - tell us more about what inspired you to set up this unique site and how it all works?

FK: I started The Beauty Shortlist as a “consumer-centric handpicked beauty edit” to highlight some of the products I’d come across as a beauty journalist – many of them by new brands - which I thought really deserved a shout out and which I felt people would love to discover…and it all developed from there, essentially. Since then it has become a well known “launch pad” for baby brands, which is one of the aspects of running the site which I personally love most

ISO: What are the top 3 main philosophies behind your site?

FK: Ethical. Organic (as in how it’s grown). Honest

ISO: What has been a professional highlight for you since you started the site in 2009?

FK: Being shortlisted for last year’s inaugural Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards and getting voted into the Top 10, in this year’s Who’s Who, Natural Beauty Yearbook.  But also on a personal level, meeting Kate Shapland, a beauty editor I respect enormously – and Jo Malone, whose Jo Loves brand I’ve watched grow and absolutely adore

Fiona was named in the Top 10 for 2013 in this
place-to-be for the natural beauty industry

ISO: Explain a little about the annual Beauty Shortlist Awards and how they came about

FK: In 2011, I was looking back at some of the real highlights among the products and brands we’d featured, and I kept thinking “seriously, some of these products deserve an award”.  So we launched the Awards in 2012.

Next March, the 2015 Awards will be our fourth. They’re exhilarating and exhausting, pretty much in equal measure and they just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  The awards give me a really in depth eagle eye view of the current beauty market thanks to the enormous span of products that come in, which is very useful for me as a consultant, as a brand developer. This year for the first time I’m also working with a handful of really special brands to get them into retail

ISO:Did you always have an interest, for all things beauty and nature?

FK: Nature – a deserted beach, a long walk in the woods – is my sanctuary and I remember my Greek granny used to give my sister and I a Lancome gift set every Christmas. We live in a more difficult, complex world than a generation or two ago, and beauty and nature are soul soothers

Fiona harks back to nature for peace and inspiration

ISO: What piece of advice would you give someone considering setting up their own blog – for instance, how to get inspiration and keep it fresh?

FK: Let your voice shine through and never say something is good just because someone offers to pay you for that because your credibility will hurtle downhill.  I have turned away thousands of pounds because of that.  If something isn’t brilliant it just will not get mentioned on the blog and perhaps that’s why The Beauty Shortlist has grown pretty quickly as a credible beauty influencer. I think “fake reviews” are quite easy to spot – and I find them pointless; they undermine the work of other bloggers.

Keep it fresh, feature what you love and be honest – I like reading reviews that highlight the flaws of a product because that’s useful to know.  Find an angle, find your USP. I’m not sure there’s one secret to success? Blogging is ridiculously time consuming! 

 ISO: Tell us about your latest news for

FK: There’s something in the pipeline but it’s too early to mention anything yet! Other than that, we’re keeping it a mix of green, glam and growing organically – we’re very “indie” at heart and I’m pretty sure we’ll stay that way

ISO:If you had the power to change one key thing about the world, what would it be?

FK: I wish everyone in the world would drink some sort of peace potion. We’re all living for the same thing – a roof over our heads, love, health, to feel loved and needed and perhaps make a difference. Yet there’s so much turmoil going on.  I don’t watch the news any longer and highly recommend not watching it! I’m very intuitive and absorb a lot, so I find it’s better to stay away from the bad news every night – it’s not a good thing to watch before bed.

ISOWhich people / person have most inspired you in your life?

FK: Without a doubt, all the women I know who are mothers.  They are amazing and they do the world’s most important job.  After that – on a totally different note - the American transcendentalists like Walden and Thoreau and their philosophies really strike a chord with  me.  And celebrities who are activists like Eva Longoria, Angelie Jolie and  George Clooney. If you have massive influence and use it positively and wisely, you have a ‘megaphone to the world’. You’re doing good things

Henry Thoreau, an American writer and philosopher,
is best known for his writings on simple living and nature

ISO: Which special things do you do for yourself to relax?

FK: Long dog walks – I love that feeling of being out in all sorts of weather (except rain!) and getting home for a cup of tea or glass of wine. 
Some of the best times of my life were when I worked in the music industry – the rehearsals, the small, secret gigs in a dive bar.  Making a Greek salad with crispy lemon and thyme mini pittas for an al fresco summer lunch. The really simple things can be the ultimate luxuries

ISO:What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self? 

I’d probably say: “Trust in life – it’ll be grand”.  Things have a way of turning out how they should, even if there’s heartache along the way. Life flows when you’re doing the right thing.  When you’re not, it gets “sticky”.  Be aware of your internal GPS, your gut, it will guide you

Everyone is different and the best path in life is the path that’s right for you, so don’t follow anyone else down their road…and don’t forget to blaze a trail of your own and help others along their way, too.

There’s a-l-w-a-y-s someone thinner, younger, richer, more successful in conventional terms, etc., etc. than you or me…so being thankful for what we have is important because chances are we’ve got a whole lot more than 80% of the world’s population.  Less “I want, I need”…more “thank you”.

One of the best beauty products I know is gratitude.  And at the end of the day, despite the lotions, potions and facials, real beauty is not age specific

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