How A Failed Job Interview Helped Me Create The Biggest Beauty Blog In The Country


Anne Marie Lodge, also known as ‘Ree’, used her passion for beauty to create a blog in 2010.

Her passion for beauty attracted a few initial readers who have now grown into half a million readers a month. She started something to follow a passion and has turned it into a business, her blog is the biggest beauty blog in the UK and one of the most trafficked in the world. So we had a chat with her about just how she started the blog and how one woman’s passion for beauty products was translated into a hugely successful blog, what she swears by and her plans for the future.

Being made redundant was the best thing for me…

When I was at University where I studied English, I barely used eat so that I could spend my money on products and I had an early obsession with YSL’s Touche Éclat. While other students were sitting cross-legged on floors, I was glammed up to the eyeballs waiting for my next student loan to clear so I could hit the beauty halls. I did a bit of studying too.

When I left University, I actually went for an interview at the Independent for a role as a trainee journalist. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about the world, current affairs or anything serious, so the less said about that little encounter the better. I never even thought of writing about beauty. I just drew a line under the whole thing. So I ended up doing what most people do when they don’t have a plan – I got a job in recruitment! I did this for quite a few years, with a few other things mixed in and after I had my son I went back part time as a bid writer, so I was getting a tiny bit closer to being the writer I wanted to be.

Luckily, I was made redundant. It didn’t seem lucky at the time but it forced me to think about what it was that I really wanted to. Somehow, one day, after realizing that a lot of the links I was clicking on Twitter were actually blogs written by normal people, I decided to start one myself.

My family has called me Ree since I was a child

It all started with Twitter. I have been called Ree by my family and friends all my life because I couldn’t say my real name Anne-Marie when I was a child. When I joined Twitter in 2009, Ree was already taken, so I thought it would be funny to choose ReallyRee, like when celebrities used ‘the real…’ When I started the blog, I had already built up a nice group of people that I chatted with, so I thought it would make sense to stick with it. I regretted it for a while because it didn’t mean anything and didn’t have the word beauty in it, but I am pleased I stuck with it now.

My blog in three words…

Keeping beauty real.

My favorite part of blogging is…

Discovering new products. I am obsessed with newness and my heart races when something really exciting comes along. I love it that readers know they can come to the site to find out about all the new launches – they are as obsessed as I am!

My favorite products are…

I have so many faves. As a category, foundation is a complete obsession, and of course highlighters. They give me life! I love Too Faced Born This Way, BECCA’s Champagne Pop, Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick, Tom Ford Honeymoon quad and about 75 million other products.

My skincare regime is…

I change it up all the time because I have to try new things, but I always double cleanse, I always use a facial spritz, followed by serum, oil and then moisturizer for face and eyes. The key is to let each step sink in I think. Current faves are Elizabeth Arden Cleansing Oil, the Starskin Master Cleanser, Jurlique Hydrating Rose Mist, Kiehl’s Apothecary Concentrate, La Mer Reparative Oil, Goldfaden MD Plantprofusion night cream (which I also like for day) and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Cream.

I blog in my downtime

I love a bit of Netflix – I am currently working my way through Prison Break. To be fair, I blog a lot of the time while I am watching TV. I like to think I can multi-task. I love going on holiday with my family too.

The key to my success is…

I think I just keeping going. I have always focused on what I am doing and tried not to get distracted by what other people are doing. I keep my head down, get on with it, and make sure that I keep smiling. It helps that I am completely in love with my topic!

The best advice I can give is…

Don’t give up. I always say you haven’t failed until you quit. Don’t pay too much attention to what other people think and pay attention to what your readers/ customers/ clients want. Keep going and remember that hard work pays off – sometimes it just takes a bit of time.

My plans for the future are…

The plan is to continue to expand the site – more content, more innovation, more excitement, more readers!

The Ultimate Blog Plan is now live! This huge eBook is filled with honest tips, behind-the-scenes stories of Career Girl Daily’s journey, free blogging templates and workbook exercises to help you create a successful blog from day one. Get access to all the chapters and workbook exercises here!

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