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Stylist live returns to Olympia London

Who inspires the inspirational? An interview with Event Director, Mariam Ahmed

When your job is to inspire thousands of people up and down the country, where do you go for your own inspiration? Mariam Ahmed, Event Director for Stylist Live shares her expertise and experiences on how to turn a hugely successful magazine into a live event that empowers and motivates women...

Q: Thinking about events like Stylist Live, New Scientist Live and This Morning Live, why do you think creating “live experiences” as an extension of a publication seems to work so well?

A: The main reason is because you have an existing loyalty and trust with these brands. Stylist may have helped to guide you through your career, relationships, work/balance and wellbeing, if the brand then runs a live experience, you are going to trust it has been curated for you in the same way you have come to believe in that brand.

Q: What is the secret ingredient to turn a magazine into a commercially successful experience that empowers and inspires women?

A: Authenticity. At Stylist, the tone of the magazine has been set as a readers’ equal, we’re talking to our readers as an equal, a friend, and at the heart of that is authenticity; we wouldn’t feature anything we didn’t genuinely believe in ourselves or anything we wouldn’t discuss with our friends. This extends to the live execution. We only feature authentic content from speakers who we feel are real experts in that specific field.

Q: And, what challenges do you face when bringing a publication to life?

A: Honestly? We’d love to make the event longer to accommodate more content, more pop ups, more brands and more shows. It’s hard to narrow down the breadth of the content that Stylist stands for into just 3 days of talks, shows and activations.

Q: At its heart, Stylist Live is “the festival of inspiration”, so what/who inspires you?

A: My mum is my biggest inspiration. She was a powerhouse when we were growing up, career woman, always looked immaculate, still made it to all the school plays and sports days. She can’t sit still to this day and has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. When I was little I wanted to be Margaret Thatcher, but I think I was just impressed that there was a woman in a power suit on TV all the time.

Q: How do you decide on content to resonate with over 20,000 visitors?

A: Our talent team spend months seeking out the trends of the future; as well as getting under the skin of what is current and relevant in our readers’ worlds. We are passionate about offering attendees content that is aspirational, relevant, authentic and useful. There are plenty of rounds of content testing and we work closely with the editorial team to ensure all our messages are aligned.

Q: How does Stylist Live play a role in developing the wider brand?

A: There are so many parts to the Stylist brand; print, digital, email, social – experiential is another core pillar and a big part of Stylist’s future.

Q: And finally, what should we be most excited for at Stylist Live this November?

A: There’s too much going on to narrow it down... Hundreds of brilliant boutiques that I can’t wait to shop from, the VIP area which is sponsored by Shiseido this year (so expect a beauty haven), the catwalk always gives me goose bumps and of course the amazing talks which make you feel motivated and inspired, there’s always a moment at the event where I do a double take when I realise I have walked past a famous face.

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