When you have a dream job in fashion for 19 years as Whitney Bromberg Hawkings did, it takes something pretty compelling to prompt you to quit. Whitney started out as Tom Ford's PA at Gucci when she left school and worked her way up to become Senior Vice President of Communications when he set up his eponymous brand. She could happily have stayed as Tom's right-hand woman for life. But her business idea was itching to take flight.
"When I realised the potential of Flowerbx to completely disrupt the traditional and tired floral industry, I knew I had to leave my incredible job and take the business to where I knew it could go," says the 43-year-old mother to Barron nine, Snowdon seven, and Wallis, one.
In 2017, she went full time with Flowerbx, a delivery service which buys direct from growers for cheaper, fresher, longer lasting blooms and specialises in single-stemmed bouquets with no foliage fillers. It's a favourite with fashion insiders such as Erin O'Connor and Laura Bailey who act as her floral muses. Laura has recently created a hand-blown bud vase collection for the brand.
As an e-tailer herself, does online rule for Whitney when it comes to buying beauty? We asked her where and how she shops.
GTG: Do you shop for beauty products online or offline?
WBH: "Beauty is one of the few things I prefer to buy in an actual shop, as I feel there is a real sensory experience and thrill in trying and discovering new products. In the UK, I usually stop at Space NK (both on and offline) or head to the beauty floor at Selfridges where I am lured into checking out new products by how they feel, how they smell and the click of the compact when you close it. Shopping for beauty is one of my guilty pleasures."
GTG: Which beauty products do you buy on repeat?
WBH: "I still haven’t found a better body moisturiser than Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, £28 and Bumble and Bumble Dry Shampoo, £23 keeps my bi-weekly blow-dries looking fresh throughout the week. When I am shopping for my favourite staples, I visit my old friends at Tom Ford on Sloane Street. I worked for Tom for 19 years as Senior Vice President of Communications and was so spoiled by a steady supply of Tom Ford Beauty. One of the toughest parts of leaving to start Flowerbx was leaving the on-tap beauty – second, of course, to leaving Tom!"
GTG: What’s the last makeup item you bought?
WBH: "I was recently given Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow, £38.50 as a Christmas gift and it has changed my life! It is fool proof and has taken five years off me - I look constantly retouched (in a good way)! I wear it under Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser, £34 which gives me just the right amount of coverage without looking like I am wearing foundation."
GTG: And your most recent skincare purchase?
WBH: "I am quite basic with my skincare as I have always had sensitive skin. I use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, £8.99 and Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion, £8.99 . I always dream of trying fancier products but any deviation results in a breakout. I have recently discovered the Aurelia Botanical Cream Deodorant, £18 which was the first time I felt confident ditching my aluminum-based deodorant."
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GTG: Which beauty item do you gift to friends?
WBH: "I love Charlotte Tilbury's Instant Look in a Palette, £49 which is one compact that can take care of the whole face. I always have this in my handbag and think all my friends should too!"
GTG: You have £500 to spend at a makeup counter. Which one do you choose?
WBH: "Hands down Tom Ford . The quality, colours and experience of his products are unparalleled. Every product is considered and actually performs. The mascara does lengthen, the illuminator adds just the right amount of light, the concealer banishes any imperfection, and the Tom Ford experience makes one feel like a million dollars.
"Wearing it gives me confidence, and ultimately that is what we seek from our makeup. The new stand-alone store in Covent Garden is unlike any other beauty store in the world, and I always find myself spending hours in there!"
GTG: What would be in your Boots shopping basket?
WBH: "I love the peels and toners from The Ordinary, especially the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% . It is one product that I can use, despite my sensitive skin, and I love the scientific approach and the tingle, which makes me feel like it is actually doing something.
"I have been using Cetaphil Cleanser and Moisturiser since I was 15. I also love Eucerin Replenishing Cream, £9.75 for any super dry bits in the winter."
GTG: What’s your favourite budget beauty buy?
WBH: " Vaseline Lip Balm Therapy £1.95 or Homeoplasmine, £11.99 – the wonder cream that is available in French Pharmacies – you can also get it on Amazon. It is an ointment made for skin irritations and seems to fix everything from grazes to bruises, cracked skin and chapped lips. I love multi-use products."
GTG: And the most expensive?
WBH: "I can’t live without Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, £40 . Tom was the one who taught me the importance of a good brow (among many other things) and nothing creates a better brow than his brow sculptor.
"I also love his Sheer Highlighting Duo, £59 which makes me look and feel like I just stepped off a beach."
GTG: Where do you get your hair done and what products and treatments and tools do you buy?
WBH: "I get my hair done by Monika at Blo on Chelsea Green or the lovely Shima who works at The Ned but comes to my house in the early hours during the week. I get a blow dry twice a week, refresh it with Bumble and Bumble Dry Shampoo, £23 and then don’t think about my hair again. I have too many other things to worry about!"
GTG: Any other beauty services you regularly book in for?
WBH: "As the CEO of a start up with three kids, I don’t have much time to go out for beauty and I am lucky to have most of my beauty needs met at home. I have regular manicures, pedicures, waxing and eyebrow tint at home by Rasa (whose name was given to me by a friend) or the Ruuby App when she’s not available. I also have my hair cut, coloured and blow dried at home while cuddling my baby and sending emails!"
GTG: What’s next on your beauty shopping list?
WBH: "Oh, please tell me! I love discovering new beauty products! As the founder and CEO of Flowerbx I would love a product that really worked on reducing puffiness under the eyes . I would love a sleep serum that gave the appearance of eight hours of sleep, and I would love an elastic cream that made my skin look like I was 28!"
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