As part of our series into “How Can Collagen Help You?”, we chat here with Emma about the remarkable effect collagen has had on her hair. Before we look into locks, though, let’s get a bit more background on this 30 year old, blonde rap artist from Essex.
… Actually, that’s a little misleading.
Emma is just 30 and blonde, that much is true. She and her Maltipoo dog Toby, who shares the same birth date, celebrated their respective signature birthdays just prior to lockdown. However, despite bringing the house down by rapping the full version of Will Smith’s Miami at a Karaoke session, Emma is not making a living from that talent. Instead, she’s carved an impressive career in sales working for one of the most recognised wellness magazines in the UK - Health & Wellbeing.
But her journey into sales was not so much intentional as it was serendipitous.
When work leaves you in tears every day
Emma’s previous role was not in sales. On the contrary, it was steeped in finance and admin as a retail buyer’s assistant.
Prior to that she had worked “on the floor” in the same business. The workplace was 80 per cent female. From Emma’s perspective, it was commonplace to be judged as much on wardrobe outcomes as it was on work outcomes. She felt pressure to wear brands as opposed to no-labels. The way Emma saw it, talking about one another was more common than talking with one another. In fact, she would find it so stressful that, at lunchtime, she would head downstairs to the beauty counters and find solace in buying a new product. Much of her wage never walked out the door, it was spent on keeping up with colleagues.
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She was miserable and nothing she did ever felt good enough. It got to a point where, every single day, she would walk home crying. At night, she would lie in bed sending herself email reminders of things she must action the following day. It all came to a crescendo, and Emma realised she couldn’t take it anymore. She applied for a job, not really understanding it was in sales.
The Sales Manager who doesn’t like the pushy approach
The day Emma interviewed for the position at Aceville Publications, she was hired.
The recruiter recognised her innate fit not only with the business culture, but with her ability to connect and build a relationship. Here was someone who could achieve sales not through pushiness, but through the old-fashioned way of providing customer service and integrity.
She was hired.
These days her workplace is a good gender mix, which Emma believes is really important for a positive culture. When asked why she is successful in her career, Emma replies it’s because she listens. She hears what clients and brands are saying, and she responds accordingly. She wants to nurture her relationships as opposed to hustling for one-off, quick wins. She feels uncomfortable when the hard sale is applied to her, so she avoids that approach when she’s working with others.
A day in the life of magazine sales
No day is the same.
Magazines work on really advanced timelines (when we spoke at the start of July the mag had begun their Christmas edition planning) and Emma’s agenda will, in part, be set by content meetings each month. Feature stories help guide advertising direction. So, on any given day Emma could find herself reaching out to food, beauty, fitness and wellness brands.
If her stable of clients isn’t always appropriate, she will venture out to seek new relationships and opportunities, often researching potential partners online and through social media. It’s such a thrill when she makes a new connection, develops a relationship, and there is an outcome for all involved. Every career, however, has its challenges. For Emma, that’s usually when a contact will keep her holding rather than play a straight bat. Or, worse still, when a cold call results in someone swearing at her. Those are the responses that turn her off certain brands for life. They forget there is a human factor.
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But the pros far outweigh the cons, and Emma really enjoys working with small teams of clients and colleagues. She loves nothing more than when the lines between marketeers and advertisers blurs, and true teamwork finds new ways of doing things, nudges boundaries. Towards the end of a magazine cycle, it’s Emma’s responsibility to lay all the ads on a flatplan to ensure they sit well and there is content flow from the title to the backpage. On the day of press, she will have some administrational boxes to tick before starting a whole new fresh cycle the following day.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Did working at Health & Wellbeing influence Emma’s wellness, or was it something that was always top-of-mind?
It turns out to be a combination. She was always conscious of how her nutrition, sleep and stress management influence her wellness. She is a passionate spinner and runner and will usually go to the gym at least three times a week, as well as walk Toby twice a day. She is not a huge meat eater, but might enjoy the occasional steak in a restaurant. Otherwise she looks to plants for protein.
Time with Health & Wellbeing has only educated her further, exposed her to new brands and science. She’s also a voracious podcast listener and Youtube viewer. It was on Youtube, actually, that she came across collagen. Here, she learnt that from our mid-twenties our body’s ability to naturally produce collagen starts to decrease. As a result, this initiates the ageing process. It piqued Emma’s interest…
Collagen and hair
Until recently, Emma had always found that caring for her fine, blonde hair was a bit of a bug bear. When she was in her teens, she went through a tomboy stage, and cut most of it off. But, from that moment, it never returned to its original length.
Since then, Emma’s hair has been fairly high maintenance. Hair supplements, hair growth products, food for healthy hair; she’s tried the lot, but with little success. She invested in microbead hair extensions in 2018 and absolutely loved them. However, they became rather expensive and time consuming, so she tried to embrace the natural look. Then, after nurturing a new relationship with a client at work, she was sent a tub of collagen powder to try.
Edible Health’s collagen powder!
After about five to six weeks, Emma suspected the collagen powder was having an impact, but it wasn’t until people actually began commenting on her hair that she realised something really was working this time.
Emma takes her bovine collagen daily in a smoothie mix that she changes every now and again, but will usually comprise chocolate or vanilla vegan protein powder with coffee or frozen fruit and almond milk.
The professional verdict
Lisa Pordham has been Emma’s hairdresser since she was a young girl. The two share diet and beauty tips whenever they catch up. Nobody knows Emma’s locks better. Following Emma’s first post-lockdown return, Lisa confirmed her hair was now thicker.
With change comes opportunity. Whether that be big, bold changes like deciding to leave a job, or small, effortless changes like introducing something new into your daily nutrition. For Emma, she’s seen the positive impact of both.
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