Legology’s Kate Shapland
Fabled talks to the founder of Legology about her love of legs, overcoming hurdles and feelgood beauty.
I had a long and complete obsession with the beauty and wellbeing of our legs fuelled by my years as a beauty writer. For me, anti-cellulite had become a byword for leg care, just as anti-ageing has for skin care, and I felt there was a need for a product that took a more mature and rounded approach. Fluid retention is a big problem for lots of women; it can make you feel heavy and cause cellulite, and I had my own challenges with it so I wanted to create a treatment that addressed that - as well as other things. It became one of the catalysts for Legology.
There were many hurdles, there still are. So far I haven’t let go of any of my ideals and pushed for everything, which means it takes me months or more to find suppliers - it took a year to find a supplier for the jar for my hero product, Air-Lite. Another real challenge for me was juggling a developing brand with other work. Trying to nurture it alongside other earning commitments made me a shadow of myself.
The products had to work really well and feel wonderful to wear and use. The idea was to make a high performance brand that made you feel positive and happy every time you used it – or even looked at it. A bit like how you feel when you have a suntan or a blow dry. The last thing I wanted to do was create another shelf-filler that people felt obliged to use because they didn’t like a part of themselves. I wanted Legology to have a gentle charm and style – and a reassuring sense of having been around forever - but also to be new and inviting.
You get the greatest impact on cellulite by keeping active. So much hinges on activity because it keeps your circulation ticking over, preventing legs feeling heavy and puffy, and fluid retention (which contributes to cellulite). Also deep tissue massage is amazing - the right therapist will get an inch off your muffin top/thighs/buttocks in one session and in time can re-shape your legs. Team with applying a deep drainage cream daily and eating a lean, low-carb diet and you can get rid of cellulite but the key is frequency. You need to be very committed and do everything regularly.
I launched Air-Lite in 2013 at Liberty London. It launched at the end of September – completely the wrong time of the year – with just 500 hand-numbered pieces; Air-Lite was a genuine limited edition! By Christmas they had sold out and I had to go back into production in the new year. That was a little hairy. I launched two more products, Sun-Lite and Exfo-Lite, two years later.
Being handed the very first Air-Lite off the production line was magic. I’d dreamed of making it for many years and even now I sometimes look at it and can’t quite believe it happened! Seeing the products well reviewed by my beauty writing colleagues never ceases to be thrilling. And agreeing every new retail partner is always a high five moment.
I’ve learned more than I could have imagined. Sometimes it’s a bit painful, but I’m lucky to have had the chance to learn about another part of our business, and I’ve loved making new contacts in manufacturing and retail. I’ve always been a perfectionist but this journey has taken that to a whole new level. I really don’t understand compromise – I think that’s my print background – and I struggled with this initially, but I’ve learned to recognize what’s worth fighting for and to avoid knee-jerk reactions when things go wrong. I’ve learned that when someone says something can’t be done you have most likely hit on something worth doing. I know that I’ll never be an entrepreneur - I’m just doing something I love the best I can and that involves taking risks. To me there’s a big difference between the two.
Every product is like an extension of myself. I feel a bit like mother hen when I see them pop up on social media all around the world. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried the first few times I did retailer training. I think I underrated the journey and how emotional it might be but also surprised myself by my determination.
I’m doing what I love and don’t want to stop! But when I start staring at the wall like a rabbit in the headlights I try to switch off with a long dog walk, good book or TV box set. Ignoring social media helps too.
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