Born out of necessity, English Rose Cosmetics is the perfect example of a brand created to fill a need – both in terms of market and creator Karin McKay’s search for a new, fulfilling career. With a background in cosmetic manufacturing, Karin found a way to bring her ideal product to life. With glamorous packaging and a product that actually works, English Rose Cosmetics is one brand you really need to watch out for! Gouniq had the chance to speak with Karin to see how it all began…
Gouniq: So, how did you get started in this business?
Karin: Back in December 2011, I was at a crossroads. I needed to figure out where I wanted to take myself next which, as anyone knows, is no easy task. I’d spent a large chunk of my life working in the cosmetics manufacturing industry and I was looking for a new beginning.
The whole thing happened like that proverbial flash of lightening. I was browsing in a cosmetic and perfumery shop, and I got to thinking how uninspiring the packaging was. I mean, these were high-end brands and the packaging was as dull as all get up! Then it came to me. I had all this knowledge about skin physiology, what ingredients work, so I thought, why not create a product that works and looks fabulous on your dressing table? So, I sat down and got to work. Then, in August 2012, I took my first products to Spitafields, a London market.
Gouniq: You’ve obviously worked really hard to develop your brand. Can you tell us a little about why you chose this theme?
Karin: During the 1940s, Britain was at war and life was really tough. Women had to band together to keep everything going with most of the men away. Despite this, and because of this, there was asense of positivity, with everyone banding together for the larger cause. I really wanted the English Rose Cosmetics brand to reflect this period and so I created a young woman whom I called ‘Rose’, typical of this period. The idea of Rose is her typical English Rose girl next door type who was trying to make the most of her looks with limited resources.
The product had to look glamorous, be affordable, and most of all, do what it claims to do! In 1940s war time Britain, anything other than the basics for living were luxury items. So the product had to reflect this.
Gouniq: Tell us a little about your product.
Karin: My focus is to create a product that looks great on the dressing table in your room but actually works! That’s where my prior knowledge comes in. I know all about ingredients, about skin physiology, the chemistry of it, so I work hard to make sure the English Rose Cosmetics products
I wanted to take women back to when cosmetics products were a luxury. Where you felt special and treasured these ‘treats’. And since cosmetics products are abound, it had to stand out in its own right, look the part on your dressing table and I am adamant that the contents of each package fulfils everything it says it does.
Gouniq: What do you love most about what you do?
Karin: I love hearing the feedback from customers. It really is a great thing when someone tells me how much they love the product, the packaging, how it makes them feel like they have a little pot of gold in their collection. A bit of luxury reminiscent of the positivity that existed throughout this difficult period in time.
Gouniq: And the most challenging?
Karin: That would definitely have to be the packaging! If you’re not ordering on a massive scale,sourcing packaging you can access on a smaller scale is a difficult task. I like to think I’ve chosen the best I can from what is available. I’ve spent a great deal of effort on creating the look of the product and while it was a challenge, I love the end result. Most importantly, I know my customers do too!
Gouniq: Creating a brand is a rather overwhelming task and often there is a steep learning curve. Was there anything during the creation of your brand that required you to dig a bit deeper and develop new skills?
Karin: First and foremost, self-belief, motivation and an ability to communicate your vision of the brand effectively are necessary skills that you must develop. Without them, it just do
esn’t work! Wearing lots of different hats is also required – you can’t spend all your time on just one element of the product. This means being organized is one of those things that can’t be avoided – you need to learn how to most effectively use time.
I believe it’s also really important to connect with the customer and I chose the avenue of attending markets and vintage pop up shows so I could reach potential customers that way. It also gave me a chance to promote my product. For me, this worked really well as customers who purchased English Rose Cosmetics at these venues then found me online and made further purchases.
Also, I’ve had to learn how to use social media to reach new customers. This is definitely a continuous learning process!
Gouniq: Where do you see your brand heading into the future?
Karin: I’d love to branch out into other products and really develop the English Rose line. I have a few ideas I’m playing with although these are further down the track. In the meantime, my goal is to increase the number of products within the English Rose Cosmetics line and continue to grow my brand.
We know we’ll see great things from Karin and English Rose Cosmetics. To see her full product range, visit her store at EnglishRoseCosmetics and add a bit of glamour to your dressing table!
A huge thank you to Karin for taking the time to participate in the Gouniq Snapshot interview.
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