Monday, 23 March 2009

The Beauty Spot: Liz Earle

People often ask me what my favourite skincare brand is, or what brand I would recommend for this problem or that problem. Without fail, I always recommend Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare.

Why? Because their products really do work. They look fantastic, they smell delicious and they feel great on the skin. It also helps that they have a female duo at the helm that have a wealth of experience in the beauty industry and are extremely passionate about the service that they strive to deliver to over 80 countries around the globe. They don't just care about the bottom line, they care about their customers, their ingredients and their staff - and it shows.

If, like me, you'd like to one day run your own business and become a very successful entrepreneur, Liz Earle is one person you could definitely learn a thing or two from.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Liz on several occasions and when I tell people this they are fascinated to know more about her - 'what's she like?', 'Is her skin really that gorgeous?' (yes!) etc...

I thought it was best to let her do the talking. Read on to find out more about Liz Earle and her award-winning brand.

Who are you and what do you do?
I am the co-founder of Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare which I set up with my friend and business partner Kim Buckland in 1995. The range is based on the power of plants and natural ingredients and is a gentle, affordable, effective skincare range which delivers great results on all skin types. All of our products harness the finest quality naturally active ingredients to make a genuine difference to your skin. I’ve always had a life-long fascination for botanicals and natural remedies which led me to my early career as a magazine health and beauty editor. I later went on to write over 30 books on the benefits of plants and botanicals for your skin and for your health and was inspired by Kim to set up a skincare range based on my research. My latest book, Skin Secrets, now brings together much of my research and beauty knowledge gathered over more than 25 years in the business.

How did you start in the beauty industry and how did do you get to where you are today?
Both Kim my business partner, and I started our beauty careers 25 years ago, which gives us a total of 50 or so years in the industry! We met when we were both working for Molton Brown, which at that time was a tiny, high-fashion hair salon in a trendy part of London. I loved the research I was involved with for new products and so quickly moved on into writing and broadcasting for my health and beauty book and television shows... Kim and I set up Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare as we saw that there was a gap in the market for a range of simple, pampering but affordable skin treats which really do what they say they will. Kim believed that my expertise in the beauty world, from my botanical research, my many health and beauty books, to product knowledge built up from years of presenting beauty features on TV would be the perfect starting point. We launched in 1995 on QVC with 4 products which sold out in the first half an hour– the rest as they say is history.

Can’t live without beauty item(s)?
My two all-time beautifiers are Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and Superskin Moisturiser. Our customers tell us they see a real improvement to the look and feel of their skin after using these two super products, whatever their age or skintype. My all-time handbag must-have is Superbalm, the ultimate pure-plant emergency skin salve I never leave home without. I use a dab of Superbalm to keep lips soft and glossy, cuticles well-conditioned and even rub it through the ends of my hair to prevent flyaway static frizz. We christened it Superbalm because it comes to your skin’s emergency rescue - just like Superman.

Describe a day in your life
Every day is different –and in the course of a week I can find that I have presented on QVC, attended a loyal customer event, held meetings about new products in development, had several interviews and spent time researching the latest botanicals. I schedule most overseas field trips for botanical research during term-time and take a break when the children are back from school, as having a balance between work and family is very important to me. No two days are the same for me which is just one of the reasons why I love my job so much.

What are your thoughts on the beauty industry at the moment (trends, financial climate, organic, natural products, Dr brands etc)?
With the current financial climate people are bound to cut back on some of life’s luxuries but I believe caring for your skin is a necessity not a nice-to-have. So this year, where we might be thriftier with our wardrobe for example, the last thing women will give up is skincare. One of the founding principles of Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare was to create affordable premium quality skincare so everyone could afford to have great skin, every day. For me, the beauty trend for this year is very much about treating yourself in small and special ways. By spending more time on your beauty regime you can feel pampered and look great without having to break the bank. Making a little ‘me’ time at the end of each day to massage in your favourite facial oil doesn’t cost the earth and can make all the difference to both your skin and your psyche.

You write a blog on your brand’s website. Why did you decide to do this?
As a writer and researcher I’ve always communicated via the written word and I think that education is really key when it comes to caring for your skin. Customers are increasingly aware of what products they are using and have more questions about them than ever before. Writing a blog has been a great way for me to share my expertise and research with our customers, from the preservatives debate to divulging the details of my latest ingredients sourcing trips. I think that blogs are a great way to connect with our customers and to share information. They have a chance to engage with us and post their own questions and opinions. Different members of our team here also write blogs, our Environmental Officer, our Botanical Research Manager and Ethnobotanist (to name but a few) all contribute regularly to keep everyone up to date with the latest news so our customers can better understand us as a company.

What are your brand’s philosophies and how do you put them into practice on a daily basis?
At Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare we are passionate about all that we do and always keep in mind our ‘precious recipe’ a combination of carefully ‘ingredients’ that make us who we are These founding principals were to provide our customers with products that really work on every skintype by harnessing the potent powers of the finest quality ingredients, delivering our customers with a simple no fuss and dependable routine which is also a pampering daily treat, and offering an affordable choice with everything beautifully packaged. We are also committed to first class service, and it is our friendly caring team who make it all possible. Because of this commitment to quality and service, we have been rewarded with loyal customers, who tell all their friends and keep coming back for more. A copy of our ‘Precious Recipe’ hangs in every office and is so vital to our success that every new employee joining us has an induction where they learn about our ‘Precious Recipe’ and understand how important these ‘ingredients’ are in everything we do.

You do lots of travelling to discover new ingredients and to talk to your customers – how do you find the time to do this?
I often ask myself the same question but somehow I manage to fit it all in! It does help to have a fantastic team of people around me, especially when my diary gets filled up so quickly with appointments. Researching botanicals and building lasting relationships with our farming suppliers are ongoing projects which are never going to end, they are so important for the company. With botanicals, there is always more to learn about nature, new ingredients, suppliers and community support schemes. And with customers there is always more to discover about what they think of you and the range and what makes them tick - hearing their feedback is vital for the company and often very motivational and inspiring which makes it much easier to find time for!

Greatest achievement to date?
It still astonishes me to know that we now have customers in over 80 countries around the world and that one Cleanse & Polish is sold every minute. We have grown through the power of word of mouth as we do not advertise, and have relied on the dynamic network of women who tell other women about our products which really work. I still find it so inspiring that we have such a loyal following, it is very humbling to know that our customers are happy to recommend us to their friends and family. Receiving our MBEs from The Queen at Buckingham Palace for our ‘services to the beauty industry’ was also an incredible moment for Kim and me.

Who else do you admire in the beauty industry?
I really admire the work that Robin Coe Hutshing has done with fragrance – when I visited her niche beauty boutique, STUDIO at Fred Segal in LA, she introduced me to Memoire Liquide where you can have any scent custom made to your taste. The quality of the essential oils and the expert, friendly staff made the whole experience a very memorable one, and now I have a gorgeously fresh fragrance just for me which is unlike any other. I am also a big fan of Aromatherapy Associates who, like us, never compromise of the quality of the efficacy of their lovely aromatherapy treats.

Hopes for the future of the brand?
We have lots of exciting plans and hopes for the future of the brand and we are already putting these into action Last year we launched the Liz Earle Signature Facial at our new Treatment Rooms in Chelsea’s Duke of York Square. We are launching additional body treatments in the coming months. We’re also working on a fabulous new summer footcare range, and a heavenly new fragrance – and more! So many plans in fact, so watch this space! Our challenge will be to continue to grow while maintaning our commitment to excellent customer service and high
quality products which really work; two principles at the heart of everything we do.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin