SELL OUT EVENTS, two books, a beauty line, and millions of adoring readers – you probably didn’t notice Suzanne Jackson (AKA SoSueMe) quietly building an empire.
As one of Ireland’s leading beauty bloggers, Jackson can command big bucks for workshops, events and appearances- DailyEdge.ie chatted to her about how she got there.
Jackson started SoSueMe in 2010 while working as a receptionist for a radio station, at first writing about her encounters with the celebrities who wandered through the station.
I started it because I was sometimes bored on reception. I’ve always loved writing, even though I wasn’t too great with grammar or spelling… I found it therapeutic. I didn’t know at the time that you could earn money from blogging.
She says the blog took off quickly, with readers hungry for insider tidbits from Irish film premieres and after-parties. Beauty and fashion were gradually introduced to the mix after people began asking about the former beautician’s outfits and makeup.
After two years, she realised that people were really paying attention – and all of a sudden, a glowing review on SoSueMe could send products flying from the shelves.
I noticed that brands were extremely flabbergasted by the influence I had. I reviewed an illuminator by No 7 and it sold out in like, a day. Boots got in touch with me and told me that anything I recommend goes out of stock straight away.
These days, Jackson is the first stop for hundreds of thousands of Irish women looking for a bit of fashion or beauty guidance.
She gets “hundreds” of emails a day with queries about everything from dressing for weddings, christenings and debs events (“Do these shoes go this bag?”), to acne, to covering the dark circles under their eyes.
“I’m not a doctor or a dermatologist, so I won’t give medical advice. But I do know what brands have worked for people in the past,” she said.
The deluge of emails lead her to set up the SoSueMe workshop tours, where for €75 readers can ask Jackson these questions in person while taking in fashion shows, blogging seminars, and makeup demonstration.
The blog now has three employees, allowing Jackson to focus on her beauty line – her range of SOSU nail polishes launched in Penneys across Ireland earlier this year.
Jackson is now a bona fide celebrity to young Irish women – when she goes out, readers regularly come up to her “shaking and crying”.
She says it’s “scary” to be a role model to girls as young as 11 years of age, but it’s something she takes very seriously:
I turn down a lot of brands that I don’t think are suited to the blog. If someone asked me to try out a weight loss tea or a waist trainer, I’d say no. I have young [readers], 12-14 year olds who are very body conscious… I have to be mindful of them, and their mothers too. I don’t want to get emails saying, “Why are you recommending my daughters this product?!”
A scroll through her Instagram hints at a glamorous life, but she says money is still a worry. ”Working for yourself, you never know what tomorrow will bring.”
People think I must be a millionaire by now, but I pay myself a salary. That money is for the business, and I invest it in the business. And if I do want to buy myself a designer purchase – because people always say, “Oh look! She’s wearing Chanel!” – I save for it from my salary.
In the five years since SoSueMe began, the blogging scene has exploded in Ireland, and with top bloggers raking in money with appearances, book deals and Instagram endorsements, it’s now seen as a viable career.
Jackson’s job might be one that thousands of Irish girls would kill for (to paraphrase a quote from The Devil Wears Prada) but she insists that it’s hard work:It’s a business, and has all the boring stuff that goes along with that – admin, accounts, all the things you need to do to keep a business afloat. It’s not as glamorous as it looks.
[By Valerie Loftus] [Read More]