5 minutes with Dr PawPaw founder Pauline Paterson

We chatted to Pauline, the woman behind Dr PAWPAW, whose iconic Overnight Lip Mask is featured in the limited edition Female Founders Edit.
Dr PawPaw founder, Pauline Paterson

“I knew I wanted a plumping formula but what I didn’t want to create was something that tingles on the lips,” she explains. “Instead, this overnight lip mask uses peptides which naturally plump the lips over time. It’s a real treat, and one of my favourites.”

Staying true to the brand’s multi-tasking ethos, the mask has uses beyond the lips too. “The beauty of this treatment is that it can also be used around the eye area and on the forehead as well to target and smooth fine lines,” says Pauline.

My inspiration came from…our daughter who had really bad eczema as a baby. We wanted to try the natural route instead of steroids, and because I'm from Australia, I was familiar with the pawpaw fruit being used in skincare. I had a pawpaw balm from back home, so I tried it on her and it worked. Pawpaw is so multitasking: it’s hydrating but it’s also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and you can use it anywhere.

I took it from an idea to a business… at first, by trying to bring pawpaw balm over from Australia. At the time, Holly Willoughby was saying ‘pawpaw is my favourite product but you just can’t buy it here’. But none of the pawpaw brands would sell it to us, so we decided to create our own pawpaw product instead.

The secret of my success is.. standing out. We really went in there, all guns blazing, going “look at me!” People always tell us they love how fun and colourful Dr. Pawpaw is, and it makes them smile.

One top tip is… fake it until you make it if you have to! We launched with one product in Harvey Nichols, just as I was about to give birth to our son. Within a year, they were asking for more products, but nobody knew it was me, working from home with two kids. That wasn’t socially acceptable then, so I’d lie on emails and say things like ‘I'll just get my team to do that”. They had no idea I couldn’t take calls because I was on maternity leave, breastfeeding in my pyjamas. 

One pinch-me moment was… when Victoria Beckham was asked in the US what her favourite drugstore product was, and she said “That pawpaw balm. They're British. They're iconic.”

The best thing about being the boss is.. being able to work around my kids. The worst thing is, you never stop working, so when the kids are in bed, I'm back on my emails. There is no off switch when it's when it's your business but I love it so it doesn't feel like work.

I get the balance between work and home by… making sure I’m fully present with my kids. All phones go at the dinner table, and if they walk into a room to ask me something mid-email, I stop. That email will be there afterwards, but that moment when they come to me won’t. 

For a big boss moment, my beauty essential is… a bright lip. A red, hot pink or bright orange is definitely a big power-up for me. 

The treatment I swear by is… oh so many, I’m a self-confessed beauty junkie. I have tried it all. I have an amazing facialist who just reads my skin and absolutely knows what I need. And I love all those science-powered treatments. I’ve had HIFU skin tightening and Morpheus8. The results are amazing but Morpheus8 is the most painful thing I've ever done. They numb your face twice, so I can't imagine what it would feel like if they didn’t.

If I’m stressed from a tough day I… love a bath and a ten step-skin regime, with cleanser, exfoliator, mask, serums, rollers, gua sha tools… everything. Or if I'm really frustrated. I'll get on the peloton and bash it out!

If you want to start your own brand you need to… know your target audience and then get your price right. If you don’t, you’re basically doing it for nothing.

The five words I’d use to describe myself are… determined. kind, strong, thoughtful and fun. 

Dr.PawPaw Overnight Lip Mask

Want to read more about the Dr.PawPaw Overnight Lip Mask? Click here to see the full reveal >