Meet the Visionary: Rosalie Audoin of Dielle UK

Stark & Splendor exists to help visionaries materialize their big ideas. An awesome by-product of this work is that I get to meet, work with, and learn from some ridiculously savvy professionals who are about making meaning in this world. Far be it from me to keep all of this inspiration to myself! I thought it would be cool to introduce you to some of these world changers in this new Q & A series, Meet the Visionary.  

Meet the Visionary- Rosalie

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to visionary Rosalie Audoin, the founder and CEO of London-based beauty company Dielle UK.

A recent Articulation Intensive client, Ros completely blew me away with her passion for revolutionizing the beauty industry with her message of "essentialist beauty." In this interview she talks about what that means to her, and shares about her path to creative entrepreneurship.

Meet Ros...

Rosalie Audoin

Rosalie Audoin

Welcome to The Ampersand, Ros! Let's take it back to your childhood. As a girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ever since I can remember I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was 8 I lived in Puerto Rico and there was a big mango tree in my parents' backyard. Every summer the mangos would fall to the ground. I would pick the nice looking ones and take them around to my neighbours in a little basket [and sell them] for 10 cents each. Then I'd gather my friends and go to Don Mario's sweet shop, which was around the corner, and we'd have a feast!

I used to dream of being a real business woman from a very young age. My mom, who's always been my ultimate cheerleader, bought me a huge calculator once and it was definitely one of the favourite gifts I received as a child because I thought "every business women needs a calculator."

I also wanted to be a teacher because I love to share knowledge and encouragement. I lived in Haiti for a few years and saw there that education and insight literally change people's lives.

What led you to start Dielle?

A massive change in life! After having my son I went back to work when he was 6 months old, and the year that followed proved to be very difficult for me. I constantly felt torn about leaving him with nannies. Managing my very busy schedule was a real struggle. My husband travelled a lot as well, and when I had evening functions I sometimes didn't see my son for days.

One day I decided to make some changes which would make my season with a small child more effective. It was a tough decision but I quit my job (and I'm so thankful that I could do that) to start something new whilst working from home. My background was in finance and in the charity sector, but I loved the beauty industry and dreamed of creating a brand that could inspire and reshape some beliefs spread in this sector that [I believe] are damaging to women's souls. So I started Dielle and it's been the best journey I've ever embarked on.


How did you overcome the fear that comes with having your own business?

I haven't overcome that fear yet! Ha! I just do it anyway. It's a constant theme that I need to address. I was surprised to find out as I spoke to other entrepreneurs that's it's totally normal and most entrepreneurs experience fear in one way or another. Stepping into the unknown, putting yourself out there, making mistakes while the world is watching -- you don't always get to rehearse and correct your mistakes before the "show."


What's been the most challenging part of establishing a beauty brand?

Dielle was made of many pieces that, unlike a puzzle, did not really fit together easily. Initially, there was a lack of cohesiveness between different aspects of the business. The message of the brand, which is what makes Dielle unique, lacked clarity. I just couldn't seem to express it in a way that made sense. In my head it was clear but it wasn't communicated clearly to my customers.

Product Shot

Your new brand tagline is "Essentialist Beauty." What does this mean to you?

Essentialist beauty means: find out what is essential

to you

, what works for you, what matters to you and stick to it and make it work for you. I means don't follow every trend. Stop comparing yourself! Practically: do you know what nail colours suit you best? Do you know what shades and textures work with your lifestyle? Narrow in on them  and rock them! You don't need 50 or one in every colour! Be happy with the 3 that bring out your beauty, make your complexion pop, and enhance your everyday life. At Dielle we emphasize 

quality over quantity, and meaning over matter

. We are not driven by trends and consumerism, but instead we want to remind women to pursue meaning and authenticity in their lives.

Sweet Virtue

Sweet Virtue

What's your vision for the beauty industry and the impact Dielle will have on women's lives?

I want Dielle to be a brand that opens women's eyes and really helps them see themselves as the beauties that they truly are. I want women to know that their lives matter and that beauty products only exist to enhance what they already have! I dream of seeing a movement of women who stand confidently, focused on things that really matter instead of being distracted by illusive beauty ideals or by the undisciplined pursuit of more or "better."

Dielle Woman

You recently went through the Articulation Intensive. How did it impact the way you are building Dielle? Did you learn anything about yourself through the experience?

This was such as turning point for us as a brand. You have a very special gift: the capacity to create cohesion and coherence. You were able to grasp what I was trying to say and make it plain with exceptional clarity. The program forced me to take some time to think and really create a visual representation of what the brand is meant to look like. I hadn't done that since the pre-start up phase and I realised that the business today, was not at all what it was before we launched. That's a good thing, but we needed to articulate what Dielle has become and where we are heading. I also learned that I can no longer hide behind the brand, which I still find challenging but I'm slowly learning that it's the only way to build Dielle with authenticity and integrity. The program taught me that people buy from people -- not just a company with a logo and a product.

Thank you, Ros! I'm elated that you can say those things about our work together! What's inspiring you creatively right now?

I'm currently working on the calendar for next year and I am particularly excited about creating more ways to spread the Dielle message through our products, services and events!

Dielle Line Up

What's a piece of advice you would give to other visionary women starting out in the beauty industry?

There is a seat at the table for you, take your place and confidently bring to the table what only you can bring!

Trust Me You're Lovely

Last question! Fill in the blanks. Your favorite Dielle polish colors for when you are feeling...

Beautiful:Modern Goddess

Content:Secret Mercy

Powerful:Unyielding Courage 

Dielle Product Shot

Thank you Ros! And thank YOU for reading. To find out more about Ros' essentialist beauty philosophy and her stellar line of creamy, dreamy nail polish essentials, visit or follow along on Instagram @dielleuk.

Brand Crush: Draper James

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to learn about Reese Witherspoon's new southern lifestyle brand, Draper James, via PureWow. While my fashion preferences lean more towards modern silhouettes and bohemian touches, I was quite taken by the launch of this decidedly pretty and preppy brand. Reese and her team are doing a wonderful job of using brand language, savvy copywriting, and storytelling to carve out a solid positioning in the upscale women's sportswear category.

Draper James is a well-funded, celebrity-backed outfit, but that doesn't mean that you can't apply some of their swift branding moves to your own small business. To prove it, I've rounded-up four brand language ideas to inspire you straight from the Draper James playbook.

Brand Crush: Draper James

1. Get a clear brand essence.

Just a moment on the Draper James site is all it takes to capture what this brand is all about: a celebration of the South.

I consider a brand essence to be a punchy and powerful phrase that summarizes everything a brand stands in just a few words.

Draper James, the home of grace, charm, and monograms!


Homepage 2

"Celebrating the South" seems to wink at you from every corner of the Draper James homepage -- from the monogrammed logo, to the sky and navy blue brand colors, to the "Grace and Charm" tag line, to the sweet tea in Reese's hand. Emblems of the American South are everywhere.

As if that weren't enough, the brand essence is also beautifully summarized on the About Us page. Check out these last two paragraphs.

About Us

Pinpointing a brand essence is one of the fundamental things I do with clients in Stark & Splendor's Articulation Intensive. The purpose of this processes is to give their brand a "north star." All branding and content decisions flow from there. It is a critical step to developing a strong brand, and Draper James has clearly nailed it.

Do you feel like your brand has a north star or essence? If not, consider what two-or-three-word phrase you might use to describe everything your business stands for.

2. Share a personal narrative.

While skimming through the website, you get the sense that Draper James is more than just another celebrity fashion project. Instead, you feel like it emanates from an authentic love and respect for the people, places, and customs of the South. How did Reese and her team manage this?

I think it has a lot to do with storytelling.

Reese's personal narrative on the About Us page lets us in on the inspiration for the brand -- her grandparents.

Reese and her grandma, Dorthea, the Draper in Draper James.

Through old portraits, cute family anecdotes, and a heartfelt video, Reese does a great job of telling the story of her romance with the South.

Check out the video here:

Reese Video

How can you use storytelling to inject heart and authenticity into your brand? Start with the "About Page" but don't limit yourself to that space only!

3. Use clever colloquialisms.

Try reading the Draper James site copy aloud without inserting your own coquettish drawl.

Betcha you can't! 

That's because the brand's copywriters have done a wonderful job of using colloquial language to make us feel like we're a part of their big, happy Southern family.

Here's some examples of how Draper James has used informal language to infuse the brand with real grace and charm.

Love, Reese


Southern Sayings


Southern Social


Hush Y'all

Notice, that using slang and colloquialisms doesn't mean sloppy copywriting or writing exactly how you speak. Instead, this style of writing borrows key phrases and imagery from spoken language to add meaning and emotion to otherwise polished copy.

Would using regional slang, a relaxed tone, or informal language help you better connect with your audience?

4. Give your audience reasons to believe.

WWD reports that 40% of Draper James' line is manufactured in the South. The company partners with artists and makers in Charleston and Savannah, amongst other Southern cities, to produce items such as homeware, silver and stationary. By doing so, Draper James shows that it's not just appropriating Southern culture, but it actually celebrates the South by investing in the economic and artistic vibrancy of the region.

This is a prime example of how branding has more to do with what companies do, then what they say. Draper James gives consumers a solid reason to believe the brand essence.

Made in the South

What can your business do, operationally and concretely, to live the brand essence? How can you better share what you are already doing with your audiences?


Now I'd love to hear from you. What brands are you crushing on these days? Who's doing a great job of using language and copywriting to elevate their brand?

Draper James Graphic Pinterest

In this post, I mention Stark & Splendor's Articulation Intensive. It is a first stop for clients that are fuzzy about what their brand stands for or how to communicate that to the world.

Are you confident that your brand has a unique and compelling identity? Do you have trouble talking about your services or products because you don't know the best words to use to communicate your uniqueness? Perhaps you have a logo and visual branding, but you still feel that your online presence is all over the place and you need clarity and consistency in your comms.

The Articulation Intensive addresses these common issues and so much more. It is ideal for small businesses, creative entrepreneurs, and consultants preparing to grow. Email me at for more information.


6 Web Copy Mistakes Start-Ups Make

  6 Web Copy Mistakes Start-Ups Make

When it comes time to write the web copy for your new site, it can feel more than a little overwhelming. Staring at a blank screen, trying to decide what to say, how to say it and in what order — it’s enough to send anyone running (or at least, running for our Articulation Intensive).

There are a lot of things to keep in mind while trying to craft clever and compelling web copy and we’ll continue to offer advice on this blog. But for now, we’ve put together six common mistakes start-ups and entrepreneurs make when drafting the wording for their sites.

1. Using generic language

Is your product "innovative and unique"? Great, so is everyone else’s. Using generic or jargon-y terms to describe your product or service won’t do you any favors. It won’t help you stand out from your competitors and won’t get potential customers excited about your brand.

Instead, think of the truly unique aspects of your brand and use that language to describe it. And once you’ve drafted a version of your web copy, go through and highlight any words that seem generic or off-brand. Take some time to consider alternatives that speak more authentically to who you are and help differentiate you from the crowd. The thesaurus is your friend here, since it can help you find words with similar meaning to those generic terms but that speak much more strongly to your brand experience.

2. Not including your "why"

Talking about the products or services you provide is fantastic, but it can also be hugely helpful to explain why you launched the brand you did. What makes you so passionate about this industry? What are you hoping to accomplish? What struggles got you to this point?

All of these "whys" help paint a clearer picture of your brand and let customers feel like they know you. If they can relate to your passion or struggles it creates a connection, which in turn makes them more engaged clients and brand evangelists.

3. Making it all about you

That said, while you definitely want to include information about yourself and why you created the company you did, your website copy shouldn’t be all about you and what you do. You also want to address why your customers should care about the product or service you provide.

What’s in it for them? What benefits (whether financial, emotional, physical, etc.) will they receive from buying from you? Make this as clear as possible so customers can feel confident in their purchases.

Web Copy Mistakes

4. Trying to be all things to all people

We get it, you want as many people as possible to buy your product or service. But trying to appeal to a wide, general audience is generally a recipe for disaster. It forces you to water down your language (and remember, we don’t want generic) or bounce around from idea to idea, trying to cover all your bases. Neither tactic gives audiences a clear vision of what you can offer them. There’s a saying: "In trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one." Keep it in mind and focus on writing web copy specific to your target audience only.

5. Word vomiting on your homepage

It is important to let people know what you’re all about, why they should buy from you, etc. But loading up your homepage with massive blocks of text will only scare people away. Think of your homepage like a trailer for a movie. You don’t want to give away all the good stuff, but you do want to entice people enough to keep scrolling or clicking.

A smart tagline that clearly conveys your brand, a short paragraph or bullet point list that explains what you’re about and clear instructions on how to learn more is a great starting point for the top of your homepage. And if you do want to include more text, just be sure to break things up visually with photos, bullet points, icons and more to keep readers’ eyes moving down the page instead of glazing over.

6. Keeping things too vague

On the flip side, if your homepage or website in general doesn’t clearly convey what you’re offering and why people should buy from you, then you need to keep working.

Some start-ups merely give a brief overview or show a flashy-but-unclear video and then ask potential customers to contact them for more information. And while this might work with some people, most will simply move on to another website that doesn’t make them work for information.

Remember that there are an endless amount of sites out there and you have competition no matter what industry you’re in. So make your site quick and easy to read, and make sure you web copy clearly conveys who you are, what you do and why they should care. Doing so helps ensure that your customers stay on your site and don’t head elsewhere out of frustration or boredom.