Every industry has its innovaters and ReeRee Rockette is certainly that. Business woman, entrepreneur, style guru and social media queen, ReeRee has carved a niche for herself in a truly unique way, first with Rockalily Lipsticks and now with her new salon, Rockalily Cuts. Here she tells Burlesque Bible how about her life of geek and chic and what links her to the hurly burly world we know and love.
I am the girl who has a stage name, without having a stage. I have always felt pretty privileged to have been somewhat adopted in by the burlesque community, despite shuddering every time anyone asks if I ever considered performing myself!
My journey to becoming ReeRee Rockette started when I saw my first ever burlesque show, it was Miss Polly Rae, and it was 4 years ago. And what a journey that started! It was through Polly that I got my first stage-assistant job at a cabaret show, and I even ended up being her personal wardrobe bitch at her west end show. Who’d thunk it?!
During this time, I was a teacher, and then a school librarian, and I become more and more conscious of photos surfacing at school, and the creation of an alter-ego seemed like the ideal solution. I was stage-managering two to four nights a week, on top of my full time job. I was now part of a world I hadn’t even known existed! My self confidence grew, and being surrounded my amazing women certainly helped that!
I have always been a geek, starting in chat rooms, moving to forums, then to blogging, eventually ending up with twitter and facebook. So I got to share my journey, and connect to others in the community along the way.
It slowly dawned on me, that I could be good at things other than teaching. That my skills were transferable outside of the world of education. My mind began to tick, and my feet began to itch. My blog gave me the confidence that I could create a different path for myself, and so in August 2010, I quit.
Rockalily Lipsticks was born, and it was such an exciting journey. I could work from home, and I got to immerse myself in my newly found creative side. I discovered that I loved marketing, and that actually I was pretty good at it! The relief at finding something else I could do well at was immense, the opportunities available to me suddenly felt so vast.
I had been a little anxious about working solo, and so I started Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business, a group of awesome women starting or running businesses. They pay a small subscription and I run bi-monthly meetings, we share advice, our experiences and a good cocktail or two!
Looking back at 2011, I think my magazine mentions were my proudest points. So many people had told me that you could only get into mainstream press with a PR company, and I would be lying if it didn’t feel awesome to prove them wrong. I even found the confidence to pose in my knickers for a magazine! I knew my burly girls would be proud!
So now, we’re in 2012, and again my feet were itching for a new challenge. I took the rather controversial decision to end Rockalily Lipsticks so that I could open Rockalily Cuts, my own hair salon in Hoxton, East London. It felt like a natural progression, but definitely was a bigger leap into the world of serious business.
The salon opened mid May, and although its early days its going really well! I love watching people get transformed, and walk out feeling fabulous. So far, my favourite look is the Donald Draper 1940s side parting; it looks so good on the men brave enough to rock it.
Despite retiring from stage managering in April 2010, two years on, I still oddly feel a small part of the burlesque community. I have heard of bitchy and sad stories from the scene, which is the same as any ‘scene’ no doubt, but I only every experienced wonderful people working hard at their craft. Many became long-term friends, but even those who remain burly acquaintances only, have helped make my journey an awesome one.
ReeRee is also running a Business Booster workshop on 1st July so if you own a business be sure to attend!