Ellen Robbins is a freelance hair and make-up artist in Brisbane, Mum of an adorable 3 year old (Sophie) and fashion and style influencer. Ellen is easily one of the bubbliest and loveliest women I have met on my Robe journey. Her charm and evident happiness that just radiates from her is infectious and it makes you want to somehow bottle it up and sell it. I sat down with Ellen for a bubbles (it was only right) to get a better understanding of what she’s about and to hopefully get some of that vivaciousness to rub off!
Your smile is so warm, genuine and happy – what’s your secret?
Too kind Bec, thank you! I honestly think it comes down to self confidence and being comfortable from within. I have always been very self aware and assured. I really try to be positive in all aspects of life and sprinkle good vibes everywhere, corny but true! It’s so easy to make someones day and in hairdressing you just learn how to bring out the best in people and make them feel GOOD! Its such a thrill! I love it!
Tell us about your morning routine…that is when you have actually had some sleep the night prior, which we know can still be tricky with a toddler in tow!
Haha! Well, I try to keep my hair and makeup super clear, dewy and flawless. I don't use a lot of makeup everyday because I just like to look fresh, so usually I wake up, cleanse (I use Origins Ginzing cleanser, or DMK Sensitive cleanser depending on my skin) pat face dry and apply Biologi Bd Serum, spot foundation, little creme blush and groom my brows and lashes ;) My fave makeup products are Josie Marran, Hourglass and Mac.
Hair wise, I am also pretty low key, I love clean glossy hair- I usually wear my hair up if I'm working, but for something special I blow-dry and tong it wavy! My top hair brands are Goldwell, Redken and R+Co!
You started a blog (The Stylist Mama) when Sophie was a baby. What drove you to do that and how did you find the time?
It was a bit of a whirlwind, I wasn't from Brisbane, and had only lived here for a year and a half before having her- so I was a bit out of my depth being in a new-ish city with a newborn!
Blogging was just a really fun way to share little snippets of our lives and things we found that worked for her, fashion and beauty tips I had learnt along the way, and to be honest it was a really fun way of being apart of a community, and talk to mamas (and dads!) that were in the exact same situation as me!
What was the most important thing you learned from having a blog?
I really learnt how to navigate the online world, which is something that had fascinated me for a long time prior. I had always loved the idea of collaborations, meeting (and working) alongside likeminded women, and having a little community of fabulous people around me too, so creating a little blog was such an empowering little project!
The hardest part was definitely being ON at all times- that’s the hardest part of the online world. Questions, requests, comments and emails come at all times of the day and you've just got to be on top of it all! I did miss the human connection a little bit which is why I started to shift my focus back to hair! :)
How did your blog Segway into your current business as a freelance hair and make-up artist, Style Me Ellro?
I had been a hairdresser for 7 years prior to Sophie/ blogging so I knew at some point I would want/ need to go back to it. I did lots of little jobs while I had the blog, but I really missed the human connection and client interaction, so when I decided it was time to get back into it- I jumped at the chance to open my own studio, and get back into the editorial world, which is just my favourite thing ever! Hair and makeup have always been my no. 1 passion, and its just so exciting to help brands bring their vision to life for a campaign shoot, and even reinventing my colour clients through the week!
What plans do you have for Style Me Ellro over the next year?
Each and every year has been so exciting and so much bigger then I could ever imagine, I think thats the beauty of being in Brisbane right now- there are SO many amazing female lead brands and businesses wanting to work with local creatives and seeing what we can create is so exciting!
Gearing up for the end of 2019, my days will be filled with lots of Racing styling and makeup, and of course the Christmas rush, but going into 2020, I would love to expand with more education, and bring out a beauty blog that is a lot more interactive then what I can currently find… watch this space ;)
We understand you formally trained in hairdressing in Noosa – what made you want to be a hairdresser and how did this expand into make-up as well?
I had always wanted to be a hairdresser from such a young age, my poor brother was usually my practice model haha! A family friend was working at a salon in Noosa, and introduced me to my employer to be, and within a fortnight I had signed up to a school based apprenticeship! One of the best decisions I’ve made!
Living in Noosa, you can imagine the amount of weddings we would look after, so learning makeup was the next step to further our skills and be able to look after clients on a whole for their wedding day! That’s how it all started and since then I have always up-skilled and attended refresh training courses for both hair and makeup! Luckily, my fiancé is a hairdresser too, so he shares his tips at the dinner table too!
What are the biggest challenges in your industry?
The beauty industry is so gigantic and fun there are so many elements to learn and explore, but the hardest thing is educating clients and friends on how things work. It can be hard to keep up with loads of different products/ brands/ techniques as a professional, so of course it is very overwhelming for consumers!
I feel like the beauty industry has just exploded. When I was young, there was no such thing as a freelance hair and make-up artist for the general public…that was reserved for photo shoots and fashion shows. Why do you think it has changed?
I couldn't agree more! I had always dreamt of working on magazines, and that is all- I wanted my name in those credits so bad! It seemed like such a far away world, but now thats a normal days work for so many people!
I think the advances in technology and a stylists availability have really changed the dynamic of having to have a “workplace” and being a “freelancer”. The fact that you can work from anywhere in the world is such an incredible opportunity for people to be able to make money while being on holiday, or if you've got children and can only work at certain times in the week, there are still so many ways you can work (and juggle!) with flexibility and still have it all!
I honestly never thought I would be a freelancer, it seemed like such a scary title to have, but it has given me the flexibility I dreamt of and the jobs I am able to work on, are mind blowing!
What is the biggest trend that we’ll see in hair this year?
I think the “clean” beauty market will start to explode with hair this year or next, its been such a massive shake up in the makeup industry, no doubt hair will be next!
Style wise, curtain fringes and peek a boo fringes are on there way back! Adding softness around the face for winter super luxe and feminine!
OK, so we know that you are also seriously into fashion and style. What are your 3 fashion tips for winter this season?
Ooooh!! Ok this winter I am seeing lots of colour which is really fun and pretty. I would recommend pairing lots of sorbet tones together, a pastel jumper or knit over white jeans or midi skirt and some pretty sandals or white sneakers!
On that note, sneakers are still very on trend (and comfortable!) so if you haven't tried pairing sneakers with your winter look, start with wearing them with a skirt or cropped jeans, so you can see a little ankle action. This will keep the look very chić and gives a really good balance in the look.
Layering your look is a really fun way to jazz your winter look as the temp drops! I don't really buy too many winter jumpers or anything, instead I’ll wear a floaty dress and jumper cinched at the waisted just for a bit of oomph!
Lastly, hair accessories are a really fun way to accessorise and experiment! Also fabulous if you are trying to grow out an old haircut/ fringe!
As an established influencer with a strong platform, what is your advice to emerging influencers?
Don't be afraid of changing things up, and shifting direction if you feel you need to explore more within your channel/s! There is nothing worse then putting in so much love and effort if you feel like its getting a bit stale and boring. Mix it up, and add different elements and collaborations or contributors- you have to enjoy it!
What has been the most fascinating thing to come out of being an influencer?
I have been so lucky to be given so many opportunities, and fun projects to work on, but being able to involve my family in some of them has been a highlight for sure! There aren't too many jobs in the world where your own child/ children can be apart of a project! Thats pretty fun!
What are you watching or listening to at the moment?
Well, I never used to be a TV watcher but I do have a few faves! “Power” is my fave TV show (it's on Stan) but I am a massive stand up comedy kind of lady, so I love anything with Ali Wong, and listening wise, I am a podcast freak! Love them so much, I listen to “Second Life”, “Offline”, “Beauty Island”, and “Glow Journal”.
Do you have a mantra that you live by?
"Work while they sleep.
Learn while they party.
Save while they spend.
Then live like they dream."
Which is pretty gnarly, but it's so true!
Tell us something that not very many people know about you.
Oh! This is hard, I feel like I'm such an open book and don't have too many secrets- haha! If anything - I was awarded “Most Unpredictable” at my high school graduation which is so so accurate!
Finally – because we have to ask (and we are desperate to know), which is your favourite Robe and why?
The Bec in Leopard!! The best Robe ever! Day to night, or beach to bar, I haven't taken it off!