10 top beauty entrepreneurs share their secrets for success: 'Go for it, be brave and listen to your gut'

To celebrate International Women's Day, we've brought together some of best female beauty entrepreneurs – and you'll find them all inside this limited-edition OK! Beauty Box

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With International Women's Day and Mother's Day coming up, to celebrate inspirational women – on these days and on every day – we've spoken to 10 top female beauty brand founders to hear the secrets behind their successes.

From Trinny London's Trinny Woodall to Nails.INC's Thea Green, these 10 women share their best beauty and business tips, and the stories behind their bestselling brands.

And you can find all 10 of these brands inside the limited-edition Female Founders OK! Beauty Box, worth a whopping £270 but costing just £60 to buy.

Here's what these brilliant beauty entrepreneurs have to say…

  1. Trinny Woodall, founder of make-up and skincare brand Trinny London

    Trinny woodall wearing a blue sequin top

    What made you want to start creating beauty products?

    I spent 20 years travelling all over the world making women up and the question I was most asked was, “What colours suit me?” I realised the impact that switching up your make-up could have and the idea for Trinny London was born. I wanted to create portable, personalised make-up that is joyful, effortless and inspiring.

    You’ve chosen to include Trinny London’s Lip2Cheek [a multi-tasking lip and cheek colour] in our Female Founders Beauty Box. Why this product?

    When creating it I wanted something really easy to apply that you could do anywhere, and I wanted it to be in shades that were foolproof yet brought a pop of colour to your lips and cheeks. It’s got great colour intensity, it lasts all day and the shades are very flattering.

    And why did you choose this particular shade (Veebee, a warm coral)?

    It’s our most popular colour with customers and a universally flattering shade for every skin tone. At Trinny London, we love to match people’s make-up to their eye, hair and skin colour, and Veebee suits everyone.

    Why is it important to you to be included in an all-female beauty box?

    I think it’s incredibly important to celebrate female entrepreneurship and help address the statistic that only 2% of funding last year went into female-founded businesses.

    What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?

    To think of your brand globally from day one.

    International Women’s Day is on 8 March. How will you celebrate?

    I will hopefully be in Ireland where we’re expanding Trinny London into Brown Thomas, and I’ll be celebrating the day with a dinner for 300 entrepreneurial women.

    Who are your female role models?

    Amelia Earhart, who flew around the world fearlessly, and all the entrepreneurs who have helped me through my journey, like Chrissie Rucker who founded The White Company and turned it into the multi-million pound brand it is today.

    What top tips would you give your younger self?

    Always wear SPF50, and 99% of whatever you worry about never happens.

    What’s your number one
    youth-boosting skincare tip?

    Stimulate your skin with facial massage before you begin your skincare routine.

    Which one make-up item instantly makes you feel more confident?


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  2. Julia Yule and Christina Moss, co-founders of skincare and wellness brand Bloom & Blossom

    Bloom & blossom founders julia and christina holding armfuls of products

    How did Bloom & Blossom come about?

    We set it up as a true family business. Being sisters-in-law and living our wonderfully chaotic lives with five children between us, we wanted to channel that energy into a hard-working range of results-driven body care and wellness products for all life stages and ages. It’s amazing how great products can lift your mood, improve your self-esteem and help you sleep better.

    As mums to young children, how do you make time for self-care?

    There’s no denying that spare time is scarce, but we always remind ourselves that whatever we are doing we need to be present, particularly for the small things like enjoying that cup of tea, that dog walk.

    What is one easy wellness tip people can introduce?

    Buy an alarm clock and leave your phone downstairs at night – then the urge to doom scroll before bed is removed, giving you extra time to sleep.

    Why was it important to you to be in the Female Founders Edit?

    We are so proud to be a female-founded British brand and it should be celebrated. We also showcase the Buy Women Built kitemark on our products. It says, “Look! A woman made this” and tells the next generation that it can be done.

    Tell us about the Bloom & Blossom product in the box…

    Get Drenched Hydrating Face & Body Mist works hard, gives instant results and can be used as pre-make-up prep, as a setting spray, after the gym, to cool down when travelling and as a daily pick-me-up.

    Who is your female role model?

    Iris Apfel. She’s 102 and was one of the first women to wear jeans at a time when only men were, which we love.

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  3. Theresa Edward, founder of plant-powered skincare brand Skin Alchemists

    Skin Alchemists founder Theresa Edward

    What made you want to create a plant-powered skincare range?

    I drew inspiration from traditional herbalist practices in my home country, Saint Lucia. Believing in the efficacy of plant-based skincare, I founded Skin Alchemists from a need to nourish my skin with products made from quality natural ingredients.

    You’ve included Skin Alchemists’ Aromatherapy Pulse Point Oil in the box. Tell us about this product…

    I wanted to share something that people can use to balance their senses when they’re feeling stressed. It contains West Indian bay (the first point of call in Caribbean culture for soothing headaches), blue tansy to ease anxiety, vetiver to soothe nerves and patchouli to ground the senses.

    What are your top beauty tips?

    Don’t sacrifice your sleep, always wash your face and use moisturiser every night.

    What does it mean to you to be included in this Female Founders Edit?

    Skin Alchemists is a small brand, so being selected is an honour.

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  4. Thea Green MBE, founder of nail polish brand Nails.INC

    What’s your number one tip for healthy nails?

    They start from within. Ensure you’re eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water.

    What nail trends will we be seeing more of this year?

    For spring and summer we’ll see a lot of apricot and warm tones of pink, inspired by the desert luxe trend from the catwalks. Silver is still a popular choice in our wardrobes and this is also extending to our nails.

    Shoppers receive one of two Nails.INC polishes in the Female Founders Edit. What was the inspiration for these shades?

    We created Life Is Art as a neutral base shade to turn your nails into the perfect blank canvas. You’re A Glazing is inspired by the glazed effect nail trend that has become very popular. Both shades suit all skin tones which is important for me, as being inclusive is core to what we do as a brand.

    How did Nails.INC start?

    The idea came when I spotted a gap in the market for speedy, efficient manicures with fashionable high-quality nail polish. The brand has been going from strength to strength for 20 years.

    What’s next for Nails.INC?

    We’ve got some incredible collaborations with worldwide brands, we’re bringing some new innovations and we’re releasing new shades in our core collections.

    How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day?

    I’ll be at the Nails.INC HQ surrounded by my amazing team, which is made up of 99% women.

    Who is your female role model?

    Madonna. Her music is fearless and she’s always pushing boundaries to redefine what it means to be a pop star. She’s an icon in every sense of the word.

    What top beauty tip would you give to your younger self?

    Less is more. You can always build up layers – whether that be with make-up or nail polish – but it’s really hard to take it away.

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  1. Clare Price, founder of body and haircare brand Guava & Gold

    Starting Guava & Gold was a big career change for you. Tell us about it…

    After being a barrister for 28 years, I decided to do something very different with my life. I wanted to create an elegant capsule collection of products with ethical credentials inspired by a desire to capture exotic holiday memories in a bottle. We used the expertise of a fine fragrance house to create unique scents for the products to transport you from your bathroom to a moment of sheer bliss.

    What three words would you use to describe the brand?

    Kind, affordable luxury.

    You’ve chosen Guava & Gold’s Coral Beach Body Lotion for the beauty box…

    It’s a rich, hydrating body lotion with a fragrance of guava, mango, pineapple, ylang-ylang and peaches and cream. All our body lotions have a fast-absorbing, non-greasy formula and are packed with shea butter that has been harvested by a local women’s co-operative in Ghana, plus SPF15 for light daily sun protection.

    What is your number one skincare tip?

    Nourish and hydrate your hair and skin well. As well as drinking lots of water, choose products with ingredients like shea butter and natural oils.

    How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day this year?

    I’ll be getting some sun. I do some of my best thinking about the brand when I’m on holiday.

    Who is your female role model?

    I admire a lot of women who have reached the top in their chosen fields while also supporting other women to achieve in their professions, such as Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, make-up artist Pat McGrath and Spanx founder Sara Blakely.

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  2. Sara Berg, founder of skincare brand dr. Eve_Ryouth

    Tell us about your brand and the dr. Eve_Ryouth product inside this beauty box…

    Our brand was founded with the mission of helping individuals achieve healthy and youthful-looking skin. We believe in the power of natural ingredients and cutting-edge science to create high-quality skincare products that are effective for all skin types. The Hydration + Protection SPF15 Day Cream in the box helps to prevent the appearance of hyperpigmentation and protect skin against UV damage, pollution and premature ageing. It has a light texture that absorbs quickly to leave a soft feel and radiant glow.

    What anti-ageing ingredient does everyone need in their skincare routine?

    Retinol. It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin texture
    and promotes collagen production.

    What beauty advice would you give your younger self?

    Don’t compare yourself to others or strive for an unrealistic standard of beauty. Focus on your own unique qualities and celebrate them.

    How will you celebrate International Women’s Day?

    At dr. Eve_Ryouth we’re committed to celebrating and empowering women every day, not just on International Women’s Day. This year we’ve planned a series of events to honour the achievements of women in our organisation and the wider community.

    Who is your female role model?

    Taylor Swift. She embraces her femininity with confidence, doesn’t hesitate to call out gender discrimination and is a genuine supporter of other female artists.

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  3. Clare and Rebecca Hopkins, co-founders of natural skincare brand Balance Me

    Will you be celebrating International Women’s Day this year?

    Absolutely – we’ll be celebrating with a whole host of amazing women in our community by plunging into an ice bath! We’ll go into a sauna afterwards and we’ll also do an uplifting session of breathing.

    What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?

    Go for it, be brave and listen to your gut. Don’t be afraid to take chances and listen to advice from fellow business owners.

    Describe Balance Me for anyone who hasn’t tried the brand before…

    Balance Me is a high-performance, natural skincare brand that solves skin concerns without creating others. We, as sisters, founded the brand as long-term stresses and fast-paced living had taken a toll on our skin. We were experiencing everything from sensitive skin reactions to hormonal breakouts and we were eager to turn to natural skincare to balance our skin. We’re proud that our ingredients are 99.98% naturally occurring, derived from nature or nature identical, and all of our products are made in Britain.

    Which product have you chosen to include in this box and why?

    We chose Super Firming Body Oil as it was our first launch and is still very popular. It smells amazing, like a spa, and is packed with essential oils with amazing properties for balancing, water retention, skin tone and circulation. It’s a real self-care treat.

    What’s your top wellness tip?

    However busy life becomes, always carve some time out each day for yourself. Our absolute favourite things to do are cold water swimming and yoga as they help to balance our minds and control stress levels.

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  1. Emily David, founder of make-up brand Floss Beauty

    Who is your female role model?

    My mother. She taught me the values of hard work, perseverance and kindness. Her strength and grace in facing life’s challenges have always inspired me to be the best version of myself.

    Are you doing anything to celebrate International Women’s Day this year?

    We’re hosting a series of online workshops and panels featuring inspiring women.

    How would you describe Floss Beauty?

    Simple, natural and inclusive. These words reflect our commitment to creating products that empower our customers and are mindful of the environment.

    Tell us about the Floss Beauty Eyeliner that’s in our beauty box…

    We wanted to create something that’s easy to apply and stays flawless all day. It’s not just about the rich colour or smooth application, it’s about how it makes you feel: confident, beautiful and ready to take on the world.

    What would you tell your younger self?

    Embrace your unique beauty, don’t compare yourself with others, and remember a smile
    is the most beautiful thing you can wear.

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  2. Margaret Dabbs, founder of foot and bodycare brand Margaret Dabbs London

    Why footcare?

    I saw a gap in the market for cosmetic podiatry, both treatments and also effective yet luxurious foot products. Beauty products didn’t work and pharmaceutical formulations were unpleasant to use, so I set about sourcing ingredients from around the world and mixed formulas initially to use in my own clinic. We have since extended our range to include legs, hands and nails.

    You’ve included your Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum Pen in the box…

    This was one of my original formulations and is a real problem solver – a powerful serum with a unique formulation to help hydrate, strengthen, treat and protect nails and cuticles. It’s a great handbag essential, with visible results after a few applications.

    What are your top tips for healthy nails?

    Exercise, try to stay fit and healthy, drink plenty of water, reduce the intake of alcohol and get lots of sleep, all of which will promote overall nail health.

    The hands can easily show signs of ageing. How can we make them look more youthful?

    Regular use of hand cream, protect hands from sunlight, and an overnight hand mask or treatment gloves will make a big difference in slowing the visible signs of ageing.

    What top tip would you give to your younger self?

    Slow down and enjoy every day as it comes.

    How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day this year?

    I’ll be celebrating the incredible women who contribute to the heart and soul of Margaret Dabbs London. Our company is a powerhouse of talented, dedicated women, both at our head office and in our clinics. It’s inspiring to witness their commitment and hard work every day. A glass or two of champagne will certainly be in order.

    Who is your female role model?

    Queen Elizabeth II – her lifelong dedication to her country demonstrated resilience, commitment, and a sense of duty unmatched. Her ability to adapt to changing times was also truly admirable.

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  3. Antonia Philp, co-founder of hand and bodycare brand Nursem

    What is the story behind Nursem?

    As a paediatric nurse I would always come home from the hospital with sore, cracked and bleeding hands. Healthcare staff have to wash their hands on average 50-60 times a day, so knowing this was a problem I started work on a hand cream formula. It needed to be effective, natural and something nurses could use repeatedly throughout a busy shift. It took us seven years to perfect and now we have our award-winning Caring Hand Cream, which is included in the Female Founders Edit, and many other brilliant products at Nursem.

    Tell us about The Nursem Promise…

    It means so much to me. For every product you buy, we give a month’s worth of free hand cream to an NHS nurse or midwife. We’ve delivered thousands upon thousands of Nursem Promises and continue to do so – it’s the most rewarding part of the job.

    Why is it important to you to be included in our all-female beauty box?

    I’m so proud to be alongside the incredible women featured in this box. This industry champions women supporting women, and this box is a great example of that.

    What’s been your biggest challenge?

    When my husband and Nursem co-founder Jonny suffered – and thankfully recovered – from a brain tumour. It’s a daily reminder that life is short and health has to come first.

    What top tip would you give to your younger self?

    Be fearless! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d become the founder of a leading beauty brand, but here I am. Seeing our brand in stores such as Space NK remains a real “pinch me” moment.

    Shop the Female Founders OK! Beauty Box (worth over £270) for just £60 now.

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By Editor