Elle Ferguson: From blogger to beauty queen

An early start in the digital space has helped fashion and beauty entrepreneur Elle Ferguson carve out an enviable career – and now she’s helping motivate others.

Authenticity can be hard to come by in the world of social media, but for Elle Ferguson it’s everything her brand is built on.

The digital entrepreneur and beauty brand founder first gained prominence as a fashion blogger more than a decade ago, with her blog evolving to become online shopping destination They All Hate Us.

“I love that blogging isn’t a dirty word anymore and that social media has created so many incredible jobs that didn’t even exist when I started,” Elle says.

While Elle’s penchant for fashion and styling remains, these days she’s just as involved in the beauty industry.

“There’s never a dull moment,” she says.

“I feel incredibly grateful to be in the position I am in because I get to work in two industries that I am obsessed with.”

“I know who I am”

When it comes to Elle’s personal image, she never envisioned her tousled mane becoming such an iconic part of her brand, which has seen her accrue more than 680,000 followers on Instagram.

“I was obsessed with the hair from the Victoria Secret shows when I was younger and after I mastered the curling wand, I began styling it a little beachier and a lot more me,” the 36-year-old says.

“About six years ago someone suggested I change my hair and go straight and darker to update my image.

“I know who I am and I’m really proud of that person; that beachy hair is part of who I am.

“I politely declined and when I saw this person a few months back they said ‘I’m so glad you didn’t listen to me about your hair, that hair is iconic’, so I had a little giggle to myself.”

“You need great skin”

In more recent years, good skin and understated beauty have become part of Elle’s signature look.

“I love great skin, flushed cheeks with a great tan,” she says.

“I don’t tan naturally as it’s just so bad for your skin, so I use Elle Effect Self-Tanning mousse to give me a healthy glow.”

As an Olay ambassador, she’s at the forefront of the latest and greatest ingredients and treatments in skincare.

“I grew up with my mum and my nana having a jar of ‘Oil of Olay’ on their vanity, so when I started working with Olay it really was a full circle moment for me,” Elle says.

“Skin is so important in what I do, and I don’t like wearing a lot of make-up, so you need great skin.

“I am obsessed with the Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 because it gives me plump bouncy skin.”

The business of beauty

Her vegan beauty brand Elle Effect isn’t her first business venture, but it’s the first brand she built from the ground up and that didn’t come without its hurdles.

“I had to learn everything from the beginning,” Elle says.

There’s not one aspect of Elle Effect that I haven’t had a hand in or learnt something from.”

From having to re-sticker 20,000 bottles by hand to hiring a chemist to help develop her tanning formulas, it’s been a taxing yet educational experience for the Sydneysider.

Business runs in Elle’s family, with her little sister Lucie behind established jewellery brand Baby Anything.

“Watching her take risks and not have any fear when creating her business gave me the confidence to just go for it,” Elle says, of her own business nous.

Family ties

In addition to imparting business know-how, Lucie also helped Elle’s fiance, retired AFL player Joel Patfull, design and create her engagement ring.

“Lucie and Joel designed the ring together as a surprise and I had no idea.

“There’s so much pressure to create the perfect ring and I often find myself just staring at it thinking how did I get this lucky?”

Like many engaged couples, the pandemic caused delays in their wedding plans.

“Joel and I adore each other and if we have learnt anything it’s that we can get through anything together,” Elle says.

“We have a lot of friends and family interstate and overseas that we would love to have at our special day so it’s exciting to think that our dream wedding can actually happen.”

Expanding horizons

More recently, she added to her expanding repertoire with podcast series Sliding Doors with Elle Ferguson, featuring fellow entrepreneurs such as Beyonce’s stylist Zerina Akers, Monday Swimwear founder Tash Oakley and celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan.

“Whether that be tips or inspiration, it’s important that what the audience is listening to means something and I feel so grateful to be able to share these amazing guests with my audience.”

“I am extremely goal driven”

Practising wellness is also important to Elle, who transformed her body and mind during lockdown, much of which she credits to her hour-long jogs on the treadmill.

“I literally just got off the treadmill to do this interview; during lockdown I felt so average about myself because we couldn’t go out or go to the gym, so I got a treadmill and set a goal.

“I’ve never been a jogger, but a lightbulb went off and I just wanted to try.

“My goal is to reach 10kms in one hour and I’ve just hit 9.5kms so I’m getting close.”

“I am extremely goal driven and I set goals every day and I make sure I hit them,” she says.

“My inspiration is the people I surround myself with and always at the top of my list is my mum.

“She is my number one.”

Written by Charlotte Brundrett.

IMAGE: Rachel Yabsley