Charlotte Tilbury’s secrets to success
As the British beauty entrepreneur strikes a deal to sell her £1 billion brand, we examine how she transformed herself from make-up artist to magnate in just seven years
There is big news in the beauty world. Charlotte Tilbury, creator of cult beauty products such as Magic Cream moisturiser and Pillow Talk lipstick, has sold her business to Puig, a Spanish fashion and fragrance empire.
The deal could value the Charlotte Tilbury brand at £1 billion, just seven years after it launched. This would make Tilbury, who was awarded an MBE in 2018 for services to the beauty and cosmetics industry, one of the richest female entrepreneurs in Britain.
“I’ve always dared to dream and create magic through beauty,” said Tilbury in a statement. “We’ve reached a pivotal point in our growth since launching seven years ago, and we’re looking forward to unlocking new opportunities with Puig, which is the perfect partner as we build an iconic brand to last.”
Since launching her own make-up brand in 2012, Tilbury has transformed herself from behind-the-scenes beauty queen to household name as her products shine from counters in stores including John Lewis, Fenwicks, Selfridges and Sephora. So how do you create an iconic beauty brand to last? Here are some tips from Tilbury’s own career.
Tilbury’s first brush with make-up was at boarding school. After discovering the power of mascara on her own lashes at age 13, the budding make-up artist amassed a kit and started offering make overs to friends. She then went on to study at the Glauca Rossi School of Makeup.
Diversify your portfolio
Key to Tilbury’s career trajectory was to avoid being pigeonholed within one area of the industry. “I had this big red carpet, fashion show, and advertising and fashion cover career,” she tells Prestige magazine, pointing out that she was the first make-up artist to have created looks for the September covers of American Vogue, French Vogue and British Vogue in the same year. “I love my contemporaries and I think they’re amazing but there’s not one that spans a red carpet and a fashion career.”
Experiment and create your own solutions
A tub of Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream moisturiser now sells every two minutes, but it started as a DIY professional solution. The cream was crafted by Tilbury herself to pep up models’ tired-looking skin during Fashion Weeks, and its underground cult success is what inspired the launch of her brand.
Work for established brands
As well getting as hundreds of magazine covers and advertising campaigns under her belt, and creating make-up looks for the rich and famous, Tilbury was also a consultant for established brands. “While I was creating lines of makeup for Armani, MAC or Tom Ford, I always knew that I’d create my own line,” she has said. “I was practicing my skills working with other people.”
Own social media
Much of Tilbury’s rise to fame has been credited to her flawless social media presence, through which her personality shines as much as her precisely highlighted skin. Her Instagram, which has 3.5 million followers is a blend of tutorials, product news, celebrity friends, and is peppered with her signature bubbly personality and “darlings” call to action.
Weave your own legend
Tilbury has become a mythical figure. As well as her caricature-building habit of addressing everyone she speaks to as “darling”, she has also cast herself as a glamorous celebrity insider. She surrounds herself with famous friends, whom she regularly talks about and selfies with, and names her products after them. Her well-told backstory of a childhood spent in Ibiza surrounded by rock stars only adds to this. Perhaps the best and newest piece of the Charlotte Tilbury legend is that she is so devoted to make up, she creates a special look to sleep in and her husband has never seen her without it. Best of all, this rumour was spread by Kim Kardashian.
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