How an ex-Vogue beauty editor and the co-founder of Ruby & Millie are changing the beauty industry
Holloway Road isn’t the first place you’d expect to find the HQ one of Britain’s fastest rising beauty emporiums, but its co-founders’ visionary approach fits perfectly with this off-the-beaten-track location.
Not satisfied with the one-brand, one-location shopping experience, former Vogue beauty director Anna-Marie Solowij and Millie Kendall MBE, of Ruby & Millie cosmetics fame, set out to offer a new high street beauty retail experience. Instead of carrying a brand’s entire line, the concept is to retail the best, most iconic and trusted products from each range.
‘Our experience has told us people don’t shop from just one brand – they mix and match mass and premium and buy on recommendation. We’ve been trying beauty products for decades so we know what is classic and iconic, and we know what works,’ says Anna-Marie.
The two met 20 years ago on a beauty shoot for ELLE magazine, where Anna-Marie was beauty editor and Millie was launching Japanese cosmetics brand Shu Uemura to the UK market. They stayed friends and eventually went on to launch BeautyMART into Harvey Nichols in September 2012, and have since expanded to new and exciting locations – Boxpark, Shoreditch and Topshop’s flagship store on Oxford Circus.
The BeautyMART ‘edit’ is an expertly curated collection of products offering customers an editor’s pick from over 1,000 products and 100 brands. Expect Kate Moss for Rimmel London, Californian organic make-up by Ilia Cosmetics, Japanese skincare brand DHC and cult products such as EOS lip balm, Balmain hair and nail polish as well as limited editions such as Alexa Chung for Eyeko cosmetics.
‘We try new products all the time and like to investigate all avenues and countries to bring the best products to the UK market,’ says Millie. ‘Currently it’s French pharmacy brands such as Homeoplasmine, Coup D’Eclat and Embryolisse catching our customers’ attention.’
Despite international influences – Millie has spent many years living abroad Stateside, and Anna-Marie travelling the world as a beauty director – it’s North London they are both connected to. ‘I’ve lived north since 1997 – from Bloomsbury to Camden, then Highgate, Crouch End and back to Highgate – and would never live anywhere else,’ says Anna-Marie passionately. ‘We have the perfect combination of village life that’s close enough to the centre of the most exciting city in the world.’
Millie agrees: ‘I was born in North London and always come back here; I know it so well and it’s simply my home. We both spend a lot of time on the Heath, in Kenwood House, and in Highgate and Queens Wood.’
Whatever new expansion the future holds for BeautyMART – we’ve asked and they’re not revealing – we can confidently expect it will never lose sight of its North London roots.
Find out more by visiting thisisbeautymart.com