I’ve had this blog for three years this month, and I’ve been to my fair share of beauty launches and press trips. I do sometimes forget that it’s quite novel to someone not in the industry, so I thought I’d give you a run down of my past two days in Cape Town with Maybelline and L’Oreal Paris.
Before I start, I’d like to explain that this post was inspired by the lady at the next table in Mugg & Bean at Cape Town International yesterday, when we were killing time before we flew back to JHB. There were three of us and we had hardly sat down when she turned around with a bright smile, announced that she’s nosy and asked us if we’re all from the same group while pointing at another table. The other table did in fact have four glam L’Oreal staffers and I confirmed that we were indeed from the same group.
I explained that we were guests of L’Oreal and that we consisted of mostly beauty editors and beauty bloggers, and that we’ve been discussing the product launches for the rest of the year. She didn’t quite understand and asked me an unrelated question (I’ve forgotten now, but it might have been whether we were from different stores) and I explained again. She may or may not have understood, and turned back to her husband after a bit of a chat. For the next 20 minutes she was blatantly listening to our conversations and laughing with us, and I love her for not even pretending to be subtle about it.
Day 1 – Maybelline
I’ve taken two days leave for this trip because it would be too difficult to work in between flights and events. Flight departs at 12ish pm. I decide to grab a lift to Gautrain station with the boyfriend at 08h30 because getting a taxi 90 minutes later seems like too much work. I get to the airport just after 9, have breakfast, quickly handle some work things that can’t wait and meet fellow blogger Zaa about an hour later. I intended to get a mani but I forgot the Yemaya Express isn’t in the domestic area in JHB so we end up sitting around in Vida with a couple of beauty eds until boarding time.
We get picked up from the airport with shuttles and arrive at 15 on Orange Hotel at 3pm. Pre drinks for our function are at 4pm so we’re checked in and we’re off to our rooms to get ready. 15 on Orange has great suites FYI. Modern & clean, but comfy enough to make you feel at home. Anyway. At pre drinks I drank the strongest Cosmopolitan in the world and nearly fainted from laughing at Eloise Dreyer‘s stories (who has had two of the strongest Cosmopolitan’s in the world). We could browse around makeup stations where models were being prettfied, and there was a manicure station where we could pull in for a varnish. Just after 5pm we’re picked up by yellow cabs and driven 200m to the Labia (ha ha) theatre.
The Labia is made up to look amazing, and after more drinks and sly smokes we’re ushered in to the theatre for the presentations. We go through the launches for the rest of the year according to each category, and we finish surprisingly early. More mingling and champagne drinking outside, and we head back to our hotel at around 7pm.
It’s early and we were prepared for a finishing time of around 10pm, so after considering some options Zaa and I decided to chill in my suite and order dinner there. Party-girls-are-us.
Day 2 – L’Oreal Paris
We’re scheduled to leave for Franschhoek at 8am, so it’s an early-ish checkout and breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast we hang around until about o8h45 though, and get on buses for Franschhoek. Our second day venue is Le Franschhoek Hotel, which is gorgeous. I packed the wrong boots though, so I end up whining every time I have to walk somewhere and my backup shoes are in the bus, which was moved somewhere. I’m a real joy when I’m uncomfortable.
Coffee, snack and a morning session; again going through different categories. L’Oreal’s launches are more detailed and there are a lot of them; so the time flies as we make notes and ask questions. Then there’s a champagne bar (the good stuff), a sit down lunch, and the last of the categories plus some talk about the marketing strategies going forward.
As soon as we’re done the JHB crowd need to grab press packs and head to the bus. Dimi from Style Scoop is with us and her flight to Durban is an hour before ours, and she’s cutting it close. The rest of us have an hour and a half to kill (hence the Mugg & Bean trip) and then we head back. Our flight lands at 20h30 which means we just miss the last Gautrain, so the boyfriend picks me up and I have a nutritious Wimpy burger for supper & arrive home at 10pm.
That’s how it goes, pretty much. It’s fun and exciting, but also much less glamorous than it seems. There’s a lot of waiting and traveling. The experience depends a lot on how well you’re taken care of – the L’Oreal team are pretty great. Every single time I opened my mouth to speak to someone on the PR team they first asked if I was ok. When I asked where the bus was parked to figure out whether I could change shoes in our lunch break, Christine, the PR assistant, sincerely asked me if I would be able to cope and I burst out laughing because she was so serious about it (and then I proceeded to ask for a piggyback ride back to the conference venue).
I’m pretty selective with press trips that require traveling because this is not my full time job. I also don’t get invited to nearly all of them. That’s why I can enjoy the ones that I do decide to go to – I don’t do them that often, and I only choose trips that have a real interest and value to me.
There you have it! Questions?