•Where does your love for beauty come from?
I was always interested in beauty from a young age. I’d sneak into my mums bathroom to try out her lipsticks and douse myself with her perfume when she went out. When I started to wear makeup I really fell in love with the application- I soon realised it allowed me to express my creativity in a new way. I used to have my friends line up on a Saturday night for me to give them my signature smokey eye. Well, some still do...
•What inspired you to create Just Add Beauty?
Having worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years as a beauty editor, I noticed that the beauty retailing space had become stagnant. Department stores seemed old fashioned and beauty websites were great if you knew what you wanted. But with more and more brands launching and even more products coming to market it has now become an extremely confusing category to shop. I wanted to simplify things and give customers a new edited retail avenue using my expertise. We now create bespoke edits of beauty and wellness products, that are perfect for each fashion retailer we work with. So if you love a particular boutique or brand, you’ll inevitably fall head-over-heals for their selection of beauty. Well that’s the aim!
•When did you decide to start your new venture?
I came up with the idea with my Dad in March 2017, but it wasn’t until the end of the year I decided to leave my job at Grazia Magazine to concentrate on it full time. I didn’t feel as though I was learning, and the publishing world was extremely tough given it’s decline. So I asked my close contacts what they thought of Just Add Beauty and the reaction was extremely positive. Their advice was to start as soon as possible. So I did...
•What do you hope to achieve in the future for the business?
My aim is to change the retail space completely, not just online but in stores too. I want to sign at least 10 fashion retailers before the end of the year, and I hope to grow the number of beauty brands on board too. For the consumer our plan is to make shopping feel exciting, innovative and inspiring again!
•What makes a fashion and a beauty brand compatible?
We look at various factors: the age of the brands customers, their spending habits, price points and basket sizes. We look for brands that share a similar ethos and have compatible values. The aesthetic is also very much considered, and we only bring brands on board we know are truly great!
•Why do you think the fashion and beauty industries should merge?
I personally like to shop for fashion and beauty together, but it’s always been considered two separate categories within department stores selling them on different floors. But why should it be like that? We plan what lipstick to wear based on our outfits, and prep for bed with skincare that encourages a goodnights sleep, much like our pjs- I can’t understand why we haven’t began pairing these two categories together sooner.
•What is it like being your own boss?
It has its positives and negatives. I’m extremely motivated so for me I was never challenged by being at my desk and ready to work. The struggle comes when you’ve got to tackle a challenge and you’re the final decision maker. It’s helped me become a lot more decisive and realise that if I want something I need to go get it myself. If you sit around and wait for things to come to you, you’ll be waiting a really long time...
•What will feature on the Just Add Beauty blog?
This will be a space for me to tell my story of starting a business, sharing my struggles and my milestones and also offering advice to anyone else considering taking on a new career path. It’s tough to give yourself that push to do something new, especially when you’ve been doing the same job for over 10 years, but if you don’t try you’ll never regret.
•Do you have any beauty secrets?
Oh goodness, too many! A few of my favourites are:
If you don’t have time to do your hair in the morning, spray it with dry shampoo the night before, twirl the ends into a low bun at the nape of my neck. Then when you take it out in the morning you’ll be left with a beautiful wave and great volume!
A great highlighter can change your face- but application is key. Make sure it sits on the flattest part of your cheekbone, not the highest!
•What is the one beauty product you couldn’t live without?
That’s like asking a mother which child is her favourite! Can I give three?!
Hyaluronic acid is a must to give skin the perfect healthy glow.
A great brow liner can completely change the shape of your face.
Lip balm- I own more lip balms than anything else. They also double up as brilliant brow tamers, highlighters and cuticle oils too!
•Would you ever create your own beauty line?
I get asked this a lot, and the answer is no. There are so many great brands that already exist and it’s so competitive out there, so having a USP is imperative. I don’t know what gap in the market I could fill.
Quickfire: Get to know Samantha Freedman
•Favourite place on the planet?
My family house in Portugal- nothing beats it!
Seafood pasta 🍝
•What would we find you doing on a weekend?
I have dinner with my family on a Friday night, it’s a great way for us to discuss our weeks and bond together after a hectic week. Then on a Saturday morning I go to this great all-girls workout with my best friend and sister in Mill Hill, North London called Sculpt at Boxr. The trainers are so inspiring and the class is great- the music blasts so loud that you don’t even take into account the time. The rest of the weekend is usually spent eating, with friends and my boyfriend and hanging around Primrose Hill.
•Cats or dogs?
Dogs- I grew up with King Charles Spaniels. Cats definitely know I’m a dog person and for that, have never liked me.
•Patterned or plain?
Plain- they don’t date as quickly as patterned.
•Early bird or night owl?
Night owl- I’m a bit of a box set binge watcher, so usually don’t go to sleep until 12am. But I do love it when I wake up early, I must do that more.
•Heels or flats?
Flats- my feet were made to be comfortable.
Makeup tide lines around the jaw- ladies, please always blend!
Picking the skin around my nails, I dont even realise I do it, until I look down and then 🙈
•Advice to your younger self?
Be confident! I was always so shy when I was younger.
Card holder- I’m so over having a big heavy wallet.
Smythson notebook and pen
Ouli’s Ointment Multi Purpose Balm
Sniph pocket size perfume
Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze
It Cosmetics Brow Pencil
Laura Mercier Concealer
My phone of course!