The British Beauty Council is putting the UK beauty industry on the world map. Here’s what its chairman and CEO predict for the year to come and how it’ll affect you
Chief Executive of strategic communications agency Talk.Global, founder of international communications network SERMO and now Chairman of the British Beauty Council Jane Boardman has throughout her career been subject to “passing” comments along the lines of “she works in beauty but she’s really clever”, and to be frank, she’s done with the “but”. The British beauty industry has an estimated value of upwards of £20 billion according to Raconteur, contributing significantly to everything from the UK economy to tourism, yet beauty as an interest, industry and necessity is often overlooked in a disparaging fashion in the way that say, a passion for sports cars is most definitely is not.
The British Beauty Council was founded by some serious industry movers and shakers to give the beauty business the reputation and recognition it’s long deserved, from education and training to design, packaging, logistics, retail, media, creative services and the host of employment and charitable opportunities that the sector creates. The five founders aren’t messing - here’s the lineup:
Jane Boardman, Chairman
All round communications expert and entrepreneur extraordinaire (see above), Jane’s also a strategic advisor to the British Fashion Council, a founder of the British Fashion Arts Foundation, sits on the board of the Fragrance Foundation and regularly runs initiatives supporting the Young Women’s Trust and The Red Cross Tiffany Circle. She’s especially driven when it comes to improving diversity, inclusivity and supporting women in business and education and aims to mirror the success of the British Fashion Council in her role at the British Beauty Council. All in all, a big deal.
Millie Kendall MBE, CEO
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know Millie as a co-founder of BeautyMart alongside Anna-Marie Solowij . In addition to being a retail and brand consultancy groundbreaker (she was instrumental in the launch of the likes of Aveda, Tweezerman and L’Occitane in the UK), Millie also launched makeup brand Ruby & Millie in 1998 with makeup artist friend Ruby Hammer MBE . While the brand is no longer available, I for one shall never forget the sheer, chunky red multipurpose lip and cheek balms - pretty much the first product of its kind. She received an MBE in 2007 for services to the cosmetic industry and is blazing a trail into the future at the British Beauty Council.
Catherine Handcock, Development Director
Publisher of Creative Head magazine and long time promoter of talent, skill and flair in the hair industry especially.
Kate Shapland, Content Director
Anna Marie-Solowij, Advisory Board Member
Award-winning former Beauty Director of British Vogue, BeautyMart co-founder and contributor to titles such as The Gentlewoman and the Financial Times, to name just a few prestigious publications she’s written for.
Gemma Bellman, COO
Our very own former Managing Director Gemma recently joined the Executive board as COO.
The British Beauty Council is a non-profit organisation lead by innovators, entrepreneurs, trendsetters and tastemakers and it represents the industry across the board, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, ability, religion or culture. It has its sights set on making the British beauty industry go boom on a policy level in particular (because that’s where the change happens), with a ripple effect across the globe, and as such Jane and Millie told us what they’d like to see in beauty in 2019, from empowerment via Instagram to storming government. If you thought this was just about lipstick, think again…
An official definition of the beauty industry
As Millie underlined at the launch of the British Beauty Council, “you need to define something before you can truly value it”, so creating a considered statement as to what the beauty industry stands for is the first step in boosting the profile and representation of the sector. Language leads to empowerment, so formalizing a definition of the beauty industry will go one step further to establishing a basis for its economic valuation.
As a result, the British Beauty Council recently ran a survey in partnership with the independent research agency BritainThinks to assess the voices, views and needs of professionals working in the beauty industry. The feedback will be used to shape an official beauty industry definition which the founders aim to make official in the New Year. Watch this space, but the way we talk about beauty contributes to investment in the industry - promoting it starts with linguistics.
Recognition at government level
The beauty industry is quite literally worth it (*£20 billion*) so it’s high time its impact is recognised by policymakers. This is Millie’s key driver for next year:
“'My goal for 2019 for the beauty industry would be to have it listed at government level as a ‘Creative Industry’, worthy of the attention given to other creative industries.”
To further champion this, the British Beauty Council has commissioned a detailed report into the impact of the beauty industry on the UK economy with Oxford Economics. The study will address everything from sales and services to manufacturing and supply chain, comparing its influence and economic output to other British industries. Basically, beauty means business, and the bigwigs need to get on board.
A shift from negativity to positivity
Jane predicts an end to scaremongering, guilt-tripping and narrow minded marketing - the beauty industry is evolving into a seriously celebratory space:
“I feel very optimistic about the move away from negativity to positivity in how brands are marketing themselves. I think that ‘post-pejorative’ is a key trend that will move us into a more inclusive, diverse and forgiving place with brands providing inspiration and innovation for all.”
Advertisement isn’t the only space where good vibes rule according to Jane...
For all our contemporary Insta-bashing, Jane reckons it’s democratised beauty in a way that’s never before been seen:
“I am excited about the ‘personal-pro trend’, whereby Instagram and Youtube have become a true force for good in empowering consumers to learn skills that have previously been in the hands of just a few professionals. This in turn encourages experimentation and freedom of expression.”
Whether it’s empowering the industry by way of informative British Beauty Council Instagram posts or simply bringing women together to discuss beauty openly, without shame, for all of its issues, social media has also had a profoundly positive effect on the current consideration of beauty. You can curate your own space, use it to enhance everything from your career to a Friday night lip and approach beauty in a more egalitarian way than was previously possible.
Bigging up British talent
Because, as Millie highlights, there’s a LOT of it:
“I think we need to leverage our creative talent on a domestic and global scale. The UK has some amazing home grown talent and we have cultivated a lot of fantastic beauty brands from The Body Shop to John Frieda, Pat McGrath , Sam McKnight , Lisa Eldridge , Neal’s Yard, Charlotte Tilbury , Vidal Sassoon...I could go on. The list is extensive, but we don’t make enough noise about it.”
Time to bang the British beauty drum...
Beauty as self-care
The launch of Beauty Banks , a charitable organisation founded by Sali Hughes and Jo Jones aiming to address hygiene poverty in the UK, serves to highlight just how much beauty is fundamental to our wellbeing, sense of selves and basic needs.
Staying clean is a necessity, yet millions of Brits living below the poverty line in the UK are forced to prioritise feeding their families over toiletries, sanitary products and personal hygiene. These factors are fundamental to everything from employment opportunities to mental health and dignity - donating items such as deodorant, shampoo, combs, moisturiser and razors, among other in-demand products , can turn lives around. Likewise charities such as Look Good Feel Better can have a transformative impact on self-esteem and quality of life for those undergoing cancer treatment, helping sufferers to reclaim their identity and providing not only makeup, tools and tailored advice but a support network of peers and professionals when patients need it the most. The British Beauty Council plans to continue shouting this vital work from the rooftops in the year to come - beauty isn’t a luxury or a frippery, for many it equates to wellbeing, success and survival.
Reputation, education, innovation
In that order. Once the rep of the British beauty industry is well known and established, the British Beauty Council aims to further promote education, from outreach in schools to better represent the incredible scope of scientific, technical and creative career paths in the beauty industry to pioneering MAs and BAs in everything from beauty psychology to packaging development. This naturally leads to greater innovation, with additional support for beauty industry entrepreneurs. As Millie herself knows only too well, “the beauty industry is an exciting, dynamic environment that’s far from traditional. You can make a fortune from very little if you’ve got the drive and energy. Beauty is an everyday consumable and will always be relevant.”
With that, the future of the beauty industry can only be bright - let’s get behind it.
Find out more about the British Beauty Council