Meet the Bespoke Cosmetic Chemist
Cosmetics a la Carte was inspired by a desire to change the way make-up was sold and perceived. The brand is based on the ‘try before you buy’ ethic, offering ‘made-to-measure’ options with a range of bright colors, custom-blending and skin-matching. Lynne Sanders’ path from Unilever to Yeardley as a researcher ultimately led her to meet Christina Stewart, her founding partner of Cosmetics A La Carte. Since then, the Cosmetics a la Carte store has been located in its original location of Knightsbridge, London, where everything is formulated and hand blended.
Great name! What makes Cosmetics a la carte stand out from the rest?
Cosmetics a la Carte is the only luxury makeup company in Europe that hand makes all its own products; to your exact specification if you wish. The business was founded 20 years ago on the principle of helping women manage their makeup needs so they can truly look “top of their game,” providing women with professional, luxury items that you know suit you and you actually want to have in your handbag. We were the first makeup and skincare brand to show customers how to apply their makeup too, and we have expert make-up artists in our London store who make a point of finding the best solutions for clients that visit us. (In 2010 we will be able to do this on our website as well to help our many customers that are now flung far across the globe, so watch this space! )
What unique services and products do you offer?
If you send us a swatch or a sample of your favourite shade of lipstick, eyeshadow or foundation, we will re-create your must-have product to match (and send it express if you need it urgently.) We even matched a highlighter colour for a famous UK actress recently! Of course not everyone needs bespoke colours, but all skin is different. We always have the “in” colours like everyone else, we are well known for having a very wide range in stock and we can blend the exact shade you require for a timeless look, and also provide variations to suit the same skin in different seasons or different climates. The products are made by women for women, so we really understand what it means to have the right foundation!
With such a wide range of services, how do you stay “on brand?”
The wide and individual approach is part of our brand ethos. It is important that we can help everyone find the look that mirrors their expectations. Of course this is also important for the professional makeup artists who are a key part of our market.
In today’s economic climate, what is the market like for bespoke cosmetics?
70% of our business is repeat business. When women find what works for them, they stick with it. Many of our customers are experts in their own field; ranging from makeup artists to high flying lawyers, doctors, professors, and so on, and we find that they respond to our discreet, practical approach to luxury.
What is your makeup bag makeover philosophy?
Our make-up bag makeover philosophy is “find your look and be fabulous!”
Are you a mom?
Yes, and so are several of the other women in our business. Courtesy of small people there have been quite a few sleepless nights in the history of Cosmetics a la Carte!
What’s your favourite bag?
Favourite bag??? What a question; of course I have hundreds and couldn’t possibly pick one! (I hope my husband is not reading this.)