Retail maven and brand creator. She was awarded an MBE in 2007 for her services to the cosmetic industry. Thanks for taking part Millie, take it away!
Hi I am Millie, CEO of the British Beauty Council. I have been creating and marketing beauty brands for the past 30 years and have been instrumental in the success of cult brands including Shu Uemura, Aveda, Tweezerman, L’Occitane and Ruby & Millie. I’ve also collaborated with beauty journalists and Vogue beauty editors such as Anna-Marie Solowj to launch concepts like BeautyMART. A ground breaking approach to beauty retail that was born from the realisation that retail methods hadn’t changed in decades
In 2018, alongside Anna-Marie Solowij and Kate Shapland, I founded the British Beauty Council, a non-profit organisation that aims to support a successful, innovative, and inclusive British beauty industry.
The British Beauty Council was founded to represent the voices, opinions and needs of the British beauty industry – from hairdressing to cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, therapy and spa; in education and training; and from formulation to manufacture, supply, logistics packaging, design, retail and media.
"We are a not-for-profit, inclusive organisation that works to engage politicians and business leaders about the value of British beauty to the national economy, and its key role in the UK’s creative and cultural character. Our ambition is to ensure that the beauty industry is recognised and valued at all levels of government, throughout the wider economy and by consumers."
It is great to see the British Beauty Council getting behind plastic free beauty day this year. What ongoing role do you foresee the British Beauty Council playing in instigating change in the industry?
We commissioned a report in 2020 called the Courage to Change where we researched the industry and consumer’s standpoint in terms of current practices and goals. The outcome of the open source report is that an industry wide coalition should be created to tackle all areas of sustainable practices. We have appointed our steering and advisory committees and will be embarking on a series of initiatives over the coming years.
What do you believe to be the key drivers of real change in the industry?
Most important is having courage to make changes, we need to be vocal, own our mistakes and make the effort to challenge our sector to better themselves and provide for a more sustainable future.
Most exciting innovations/trends ahead for British Beauty?
We would like to see investment into product and packaging technology, without this we are stagnant and not moving anywhere fast enough.
Tell us a little about where you live, who you live with and why this is important to you.
I live in Highgate, North London with my 14 year old daughter. I was born in central London and grew up nearby in Hampstead so it is home to me, and I love the Heath and the surrounding woodlands. It is just a nice mix of urban life with rural landscape. Although I did live in LA sporadically throughout my teens and 30s/40s.
What are some of your daily rituals that you rely on to make you happy?
Wow my dressing table is the most important place in my home, I take half an hour a day to collect my thoughts and recharge my battery.
What does home mean to you?
Everything, I am a homebody, I love the comfort of home and family.
What is the one thing you would grab if the house was burning?
My daughter, my mum’s artwork.
What made you end up in the career you have?
Accidental entrepreneurship. A rebellious nature that didn’t want to be held back by the trappings of being an employee.
What was the job you thought you’d have when you were younger?
I wanted to be an accountant.
If money, skills, experiences or time weren’t a factor - what job would you do?
Radio personality. I love talking but hate being seen.
What is the best part of your job / What is the thing that keeps you up at night?
I love our industry and the people, the injustice and lack of respect for our sector keeps me up at night
What is the one luxury that money can’t buy?
Talk us through your morning rituals…
I get up quite early and drink a warm lemon water, take symprove and a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. I then would normally get ready to go to work and get my daughter up for school. I do spend half an hour at my dressing table - it's less about make up and more about body moisturizing and massage and a little bit of self care really.
Name one everyday object that you can’t live without?
Face oil, my phone
Name one everyday pleasure..
My family imessage group
What is your favourite scent and why?
So many really, big Jasmine fan, but fave fragrances are Cecile by To The Fairest London, Gigi by jardins d'ecrivains, William by Atelier Bloem and Empreinte by Courreges.
What is the one smell that triggers a memory - what is that memory?
Femme by Rochas, smells of my grandmother and I still have her bottle.
What is the one smell that makes you hungry?
The smell of a fry up
What plastic-free initiatives have you gotten behind?
Obviously the formation of the sustainable beauty coalition is critical to this. The initiative will create a footprint for brands of the future we hope. Personally it took me time to adapt my home and lifestyle, but I make conscious choices, consume less, recycle more.
What’s your 2021 sustainable pledge you’ve made?
To really get the SBC off the ground, it is a big task and I am committed to ensuring our industry is future proofed.
What actions have you done recently to help your carbon footprint?
I didn’t travel for 15 months, which is not much given we were all in the same boat. But I have given up my car, I walk a lot and have decided to keep this up.
What is the first place you recommend to visitors that are coming to town?
Favourite shop/ place in your neighbourhood? And why?
A must go holiday spot..