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Premium Beauty Business: Why Keeping it in the Family is a Strong Ingredient for Success

Kelly Marks, co-founder of Pure Public Relations, has an interesting take on why she thinks family-owned businesses are among the strongest in beauty.

She herself was immersed in the world of beauty from a very young age, with a father who launched HQhair.com, one of the first ecommerce sites for beauty brands.

Here, Kelly talks about the passion and trust that runs through family-run beauty brands, sometimes over generations.

In her early years my mother worked on Bond Street at Yardley headquarters.

In his early years my father trained as a ladies’ hairdresser and had two salons in central London. He launched HQhair.com when ecommerce was embryonic – he was responsible for introducing a plethora new beauty brands to the UK.

In my early years, I spent my pocket money in The Body Shop on baskets of lotion, potions and those teeny tiny bath pearls that came in every colour of the rainbow. And, I hung out in my father’s salon and I loved every moment.

After university, I started working in a PR firm and, not surprisingly, I had a natural affection for the beauty department and spent day after day sorting out make-up collections, presenting products to beauty editors and training with brands.

A few years later I set up Pure Public Relations with my business partner Cara Ward, and my side of the business has always specialised in beauty + wellbeing.

Over the years we’ve worked with best in class brands in the beauty industry.  Molton Brown, Moroccanoil, Perricone MD, Burt’s Bees, Malin + Goetz etc.

And then I got to thinking, was I born for this, or born into this?

I looked around and saw that so many beauty businesses are familial.

According to CNBC 60-80% of European businesses are family run.  

In beauty, it’s an epidemic: think Lauder, Chantecaille, Galvin, Hersheson – the list goes on.

At Pure, we have several best in class beauty brands that all have a family connection in common. It’s fascinating to hear how they make their businesses work:

  • Goldfaden MD is a pioneering clean beauty brand developed by Dr Gary Goldfaden and brought to the global market by his, son Robert, daughter Lisa and daughter in law Lauren.  Each had previous careers and came from very different backgrounds, Robert was in finance, Lauren was in advertising and Lisa was in education.

Lisa Goldfaden explains “One of the main pluses of working together is that we all have the same goals. With our different backgrounds and experiences to pull from, it allows us to have laser focus to concentrate on all avenues.”

  • New British start up brand Kinn Living, who specialise in aromatherapy based Soil Association approved body care and non toxic home cleaning products, (recently launched at Harrods) is run by Mother and Daughter team Maire Lavarbe and Sophie Barrow.

Sophie explains “I knew I always wanted to work with my mum.  She’s the one person I know I can completely trust, and if we don’t agree on something, it’s easy to pick up and move on from there, rather than falling out, or having a row.  Working with my mum is the best decision I’ve ever made, for me, her and our business.”

  • Dafni, the internet busting hair straightening brush, was developed by an engineer father and daughter, who tasked herself with creating the best product to tame her wild hair.  Dafni is now a global business where father, daughter, sister and husband each have their part to play in research, development, production, sales and marketing.

Creator Sharon Rabi who has just had her third child explains “As a mother, I really believe in family entrepreneurship, especially for mums; the family can support the maternity leave and contain the unexpected life circumstance of a young family like mine.

Knowing that my family is ‘covering for me’ is the best support.  I could definitely not have done it without them.”

Whilst I don’t work in the family business as such (the salon was sold some time ago) I still fondly remember those hairdressing days and cherish the memories.

I immediately feel at home in any salon environment and swear it’s my spiritual home.

Beauty has an incredible ability to create and pioneer and I think it’s that inner spirit that is passed on from parent to child.

So, when my 11-year old daughter told me she wanted to create her own make-up line, I realised: we’re born into it.

Kelly Marks is co founder of Pure Public Relations, delivering client centred, commercially driven results for best in class brands.  www.purepr.com

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