ALL EYES ON… BEAUTYMART
ANNA-MARIE SOLOWIJ AND MILLIE KENDALL MBE – OF BEAUTYMART FAME – TOOK A FEW MINUTES OUT OF THEIR ULTIMATE PRODUCT CASTING TO CHAT TO SOAPER DUPER ABOUT WHERE THEY’D PLACE IN THE ORCHESTRA AND WHY THEIR MORALS ARE PARAMOUNT TO THE PRODUCTS THEY USE.
Tell us something we didn’t know about cosmetics
Both: The word ‘cosmetics’ is originally from the Greek for ornament.
If you were musicians in a symphony orchestra, what would you play, and why?
Anna: Millie’s would be the kettle drums, she’s the “BOOM” that really shakes-up and energises our business and I’d play the violin – in the background but carrying the tune.
What ingredients do you avoid putting on your skin and why?
Anna: My personal bias is towards plant-sourced ingredients and I love the simplicity of an oil, but I’m also willing to try a high science product and will keep using it if it delivers. I guess I feel the same about medicines – I wouldn’t not take a drug because it was synthetic, if it made me better and helped keep me alive (though I’m conscious that cosmetics are hardly essential to life). Apart from moral issues around animal testing or animal-derived ingredients where the animal has suffered or been killed; certain crusading views around excess packaging of beauty products (hooray to anyone who can cut back on that and make a product look desirable (Soaper Duper, I’m talking about you!); and microbeads – which I hate, hate, hate, I would say I’m surprisingly relaxed about ingredients. I don’t even have an issue with food grade parabens and actually I’m more bothered about the long-term safety of alternative preservative systems. But I’m not the average consumer – I use bar soap, (I know, weird right?) but I’m very, very conscious that the messaging around product ingredients is born out of future fears for our health and that of the planet and that is something that brands have to recognise and act on.
Millie: I try everything – but I don’t like the smell of tea tree oil!
What is your favourite Soaper Duper fragrance and why?
Anna: I’m a lemon head – so Zesty Lemon is my favourite. I’ve always preferred citrus based fragrances to florals.
Millie: Zingy Ginger because everyone in my family loves ginger so everyone can use it.
You’re two female entrepreneurs running a cool concept shop together in one of the world’s most competitive retail environments. What’s that really like?
Both: Topshop is such an incredible retail space and its customers are there to shop – and they do – like crazy. The challenge is to keep our boutique looking full, fresh, exciting and enticing. It’s a major juggling act but we have a great team who make it work.
What do you look for in a product/brand when selecting for BeautyMart?
Both: It’s a bit of a sixth sense: I guess with our combined 50 years plus experience, we can spot a great product a mile off but it’s a combination of looks, performance and clarity of message. When all three of those are aligned, you’ve got a winner.