People & Perspectives

Life as a Liz Earle brand Ambassador during COVID-19

Learn how Sarah Carr and Caroline Archer, brand ambassadors for WBA-owned Liz Earle, are adapting their lives – and livelihoods – to the ‘new normal.’

By Olivia Whittall

Carr and Archer

Since its inception in 1995, Liz Earle Beauty Co. has partnered with a team of brand ambassadors who embody the company’s philosophy and are passionate advocates of naturally active skincare. In addition to representing the brand directly to consumers and press, Liz Earle ambassadors also work behind the scenes, doing everything from selecting the best naturally active ingredients for new products to developing new treatments and applying their expertise throughout the business.

WBA Magazine spoke with two Liz Earle brand ambassadors, Sarah Carr and Caroline Archer, to see what aspects of their work and life have been most affected by the pandemic, and to find out how they’ve adapted to the “new normal.”

You use social media a lot in your role as a Liz Earle Beauty brand ambassador. How has COVID-19 impacted how you use it and what you share?

Sarah Carr: Like many people, my role changed so much, so quickly. I was used to a lot of travel, presenting to press and our store teams, doing facials and on QVC, so it took a few months to get used to being in one place all the time. Creating an at-home studio and learning how to film myself and create content was a very quick and stressful learning curve for me

Requests started coming in from friends, followers and facial clients, and from the UK Liz Earle social media team. They wanted educational, non-sales advice on how to look after their skin at home and de-stress. This wasn’t about promoting offers or discounts; it was advice you could use regardless of whether you were using Liz Earle Beauty or not.

When I created content using Liz Earle Beauty products, I would say, “I’m using Cleanse & Polish, but you can use a cleanser that’s a cream, oil or balm texture for this massage.” It was education and simple hints and tips combined with Liz Earle Beauty, and it worked.

Creating content at home was so challenging, especially with a 2-year-old. I decorated two areas of my house to film in, but then came all the things I couldn’t control: weather, neighbors, a toddler, tractors, sheep (I live in rural Devon). Some videos took over 50 takes. One even included my son shouting “Mummy!”’ right at the end. It wasn’t perfect, but it was relatable. Yes, I’m an ambassador, but I’m also a mum working from home.

Caroline Archer: I decided early on in lockdown to share life exactly as it unfolded – an edited version of the worst bits, as long as it was focused on community, connecting with customers and drawing universal experiences out of the new world of the pandemic. I believe people use social media to escape – sometimes inspired by an influencer, a writer, a way of living – but they also seek a like-minded community that shares their loves, dreams and hobbies. Sharing the hard stuff became important to me and to those who followed me. Everyone wanted raw, real emotion, not endless pretty pictures.

For me, social media really changed. Instead of being full of aspirational skincare, it was tips on how to get your mini skincare fixes when you were overstretched, or isolated and needing to keep a sense of order and routine. For me, washing my hair daily and wearing eye makeup has always been something I do. I kept this focus as one of the only parts of each day that was wholly mine. Every day I shared what was happening in my life, and how my favorite Liz Earle Beauty products were helping me. I never stopped being a brand ambassador, but I slowly made my content more personal and more honest than ever.

This also allowed me to connect even more with Liz Earle Beauty customers. I knew we had lots of nurses and medics who followed us, but I never realized how many. My customer direct messages were full of stressed out, exhausted essential workers asking for skin advice for those wearing PPE all day. It felt good to be able to make a difference and be someone they could talk to outside of their day to day lives. I’ve started leaving voice notes, too, and essential workers have loved this – hearing a caring, human voice that’s focused on them and their skin. Many left me a voice note back, sharing their experiences and sometimes even offloading their fears. I found this immensely rewarding.

As soon as COVID-19 hit, the QVC studio, where Liz Earle shopping shows are usually filmed, closed. How did that impact you?

Archer: Trying to keep the energy for QVC while sitting in my lounge or kitchen, without all the live buzz of the studio, was surreal. It was challenging in the early days with no childcare (my eldest is very loud), so the juggle was immense. When QVC is at its best, it’s like watching a dance – you hardly notice the steps. When you’re calling in from home, there’s a delay and you have to be careful not to talk over one another. This takes lots of repetition to perfect. The trick is to keep smiling and keep the messaging in short bursts, rather than the normal back and forth of a live, “in-person” show.

There have also been times when I’ve had to stay awake until 12:40 a.m. for a 10-minute QVC “hit.” It’s one thing when you’re doing that in the studio with the crew around, and everyone is working as normal. It’s quite another when it’s in the early hours at home and everyone around you is sleeping.

I’m someone who likes to keep going at something until it’s perfect. The one thing that this pandemic has taught me is that sometimes – in all areas of my life – good, not perfect, can be enough.

Carr: QVC changed almost overnight. The way we sold had to be more relaxed. Trying to relate to people stuck at home meant that the sell was often completely new – no travel sizes, no going out. All of the things we took for granted weren’t part of our daily lives anymore. We were now selling to completely different needs: stressed skin, “mask-ne” (acne coming from wearing masks), breakouts and extreme sensitivity were at the top of peoples lists.

How have you each found joy in different ways despite the UK being in lockdown?

Archer: As an eternal optimist, this was challenging, but I took each day at a time, and tried not to watch the news or discuss it on calls in front of my children. For me, the thing that kept me going was nature, and more specifically birdsong. I will never forget the peace and quiet of the beginning of lockdown. A few of my IGTV videos were purposefully filmed in my garden, to capture that early-lockdown tranquility.

Carr: I feel so grateful to have spent so much time with my son. Even if sometimes it felt like the most stressful time, I always tried to hold that thought close. I love how the team at Liz Earle Beauty has pulled together, and as a brand, we really put customers’ lockdown needs at the heart of everything we did. It inspired me to see how quickly we adapted – efficiently working from home and creating solid bonds with the team virtually. I’m on a mission to continue cooking more, shopping locally and traveling less, and I can say I am never taking the little things, like seeing friends or family, for granted again. 

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