This International Women’s Day, we invited an extremely talented artist to our Spa in the APEX City of London Hotel near Tower Hill. Karen Mabon has ties to PURE Spa & Beauty both through her city of origin, Edinburgh (where PURE Spa & Beauty was established), and through Elemis skincare.
She designed a limited edition version of the best selling Pro Collagen Marine Cream in collaboration with Elemis; who are raising money and awareness for women for women‘s campaign to support survivors of war.
She visited us at 61 Mark Lane (within the APEX City of London Hotel) for an infra-red sauna, Indian head massage, Elemis booster facial and gel manicure; afterwards we caught up to have a chat about her work.
How did you get started in art?
My dad is an artist so I was always surrounded by art as a child – he was my art teacher too so it was hard to avoid art! We always went to galleries when I was young and our house was full of beautiful paintings and books so I think I just naturally developed an interest. I’ve always loved drawing but also making things too.
What inspires you as an artist?
I look at other artists work a lot; I love British pop artists like David Hockney, and I also love the softer more narrative painters like Mary Fedden and Eric Ravilious. I also love the Scandanavian textile designer Josef Frank and the Italian design house Fornasetti. I kind of just look at everything and anything really – just looking and taking in the world around me. Sometimes I’ll get inspiration from Portugese soap packaging, sometimes it will be the colours of a woman’s cardigan in a film. I think it’s about storing up these flashes of inspiration and knowing when to tap into them again!
Being a successful woman comes with its own challenges; do you feel it’s important to take time for yourself, and how do you wind down at the end of the day?
Yes definitely; when I first started my business, I worked non stop, all hours of the day. But it wasn’t productive and I never felt like I was really present in my own life, if that makes any sense?! Like I was always racing towards this intangible idea of ‘success’. I think that notion gradually unravelled and I realised that life is just happening right now and you have to make time for the things that really matter; your health and happiness, friends and family, that kind of thing.
Plus I was just getting really tired and making stupid mistakes all the time because I was trying to do too much. It wasn’t as if there was one moment when I thought, things have to change, I think I just slowly started to realise that I was missing out on a lot of important life events and fun because I thought I had to be constantly working on my business. As I started to tentatively make time to do things which weren’t work, and stopped feeling guilty about it, I realised that it was okay to do that. Better still, it made me feel better and feel excited and inspired about work again! So now I really value my down time, whether that’s having a glass of wine with friends or running or doing a yoga class. I also love really long baths and listening to podcasts! My favourites are the High Low with journalists Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, the Debrief Podcast and Monocle 24: The Entrepreneurs.
Were you excited to work with Elemis on the limited edition marine cream design?
I was SO shocked and over the moon when they got in touch because I already knew the brand and was a huge fan of the products. I was also really excited to have the chance to design packaging because normally brand collaborations involve designing a scarf which is lovely but as a designer it’s always exciting to have a different challenge.
How do you feel knowing your design is helping Elemis build
awareness for Women for Women’s campaign to help survivors of war?
I’m so humbled and proud to have been involved with such an important organisation. Since we’ve been working together I’ve been able to research more about the work they do and the more I read about it, the more I want to draw awareness to what they are doing and why it’s so vital; I really do urge everyone to go and have a look on the website because there are loads of ways in which you can help victims of war rebuild their lives, from donating money to simply sharing a hashtag.
What’s next for you; are there any big projects in the works?
I have a very big collaboration I’m not able to reveal unfortunately but it will be launching in May! Apart from that we are launching our first ever swimwear collection in June which I’m really looking forward to because it’s taken ages to get it just right and to get the quality where I wanted it to be.
Karen’s design is available in store and online at PURE Spa & Beauty now, and with this limited edition product you’re also saving 30% on Elemis’s best selling skincare product.