INSIDER Q&A: CORINNE THOMAS, FOUNDER OF RARE BEAUTY

Welcome to the next instalment of the #beautyinsider Q&As, where you can find out who is behind some of your favourite beauty brands, what they are working on and how they got there. This month’s guest is Corinne Thomas, Founder of Rare Beauty, a new beauty online destination championing women-led and British-made natural skincare brands. I came across Rare Beauty on social media before it launched and got in touch with Corinne to see how I could be involved. You can find out in Thursday’s new post how I got on as a Rare Beauty mystery shopper, but in the meantime read on to discover a little more about Corinne, from her natural beauty journey to her beauty recommendations.

Corinne Thomas founder of Rare Beauty

1. Hi Corinne, thank you for being my Insider Q&A guest this month. So you’ve recently launched Rare Beauty – how did you come up with the concept?

About seven years ago I was given a book about how to make natural beauty products and from then on I vowed never to put a product on my skin without knowing what was in it – I felt duped by the beauty industry! Fast forward a few years and the natural beauty scene in the UK is gathering pace and I noticed how many amazing skincare brands were being established by talented women entrepreneurs. But they were hard to find online and not always being noticed so I decided to set up an online store dedicated to them and their fabulous products. I then went out to brands to see if they were interested – they were so excited by the concept and couldn’t wait to be involved. So Rare Beauty was born!

2. The beauty market is constantly growing thanks to new emerging brands, but it can create a confusing environment for overwhelmed beauty shoppers. How did you choose which brands to feature on Rare Beauty?

Yes I would agree with that. Especially as the mainstream beauty industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to greenwashing and the use of misleading words like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ when they are not the genuine article! There are so many lovely female founded brands out there it can be very hard to choose…but we have strict ethical standards to adhere to, all products must be cruelty-free, made in the UK, ideally handmade in small batches, use the highest quality natural ingredients, be eco-friendly and have very strong branding in order to stand out online. Our brands must also reflect our ethical values and be great to work with – the human touch is so important I feel. We also love innovative beauty products and our team of Residents help us to honestly review every product that makes the cut. We’ve launched with a capsule range but will be launching new brands from next month.

Corinne Thomas at the Rare Beauty launch event

3. You are just at the start of the Rare Beauty journey, but what so far has been your proudest moment?

Oooh can I choose two?! One was the first sale we made on the store, I was soooo happy I think I cried! It had been a pretty sleepless night as well… The second one was at our official launch party when I stood in front of a group of our Residents and Brand partners to talk about my vision for Rare Beauty and why I set it up. It was hugely gratifying to be validated in that way and the feedback I received on the night was amazing. I was buzzing for weeks afterwards!

4. What does a typical day look like for you at the moment?

Errrrr very busy! As a start-up I have to be lady boss of everything so it is a bit of a juggling act. I can be doing anything from checking stock in the warehouse, to contacting new brands we want to partner with, sending sales statements to current brands and writing newsletters or social media content for our tribe of Rare Beauties and collaborating with influencers like yourself! As the business grows I’ll be able to grow the team which will be fantastic and help with my work/life balance which is suffering a bit a the moment. And like many other female founders out there I am doing this around a young family so I often work evenings or weekends so that I can be there for my little girls who are 4 and 1. But I am loving it as well, I feel like I am just at the beginning of an amazing journey as an entrepreneur and champion of women-led beauty.

Brand partners and Residents at the Rare Beauty launch event

5. Insider tips! What are the key ingredients to look out for at the moment in natural beauty?

One thing I have learnt about beauty is that it changes fast, a lot like fashion really. I find it reassuring when I see products that contain similar ingredients as it shows they are tried and tested rather than faddish. One is jojoba oil – it mimics the skin’s sebum so is fantastic for cleansing and re-balancing all skin types. Many of our oil-based cleansers, serums and moisturisers contain this lovely natural ingredient. Another one is hyaluronic acid which is naturally produced by our bodies and often used in anti-ageing formulations thanks to its super moisturising and skin plumping properties. We have one brand who features this and will probably have more in the future.

Natural and organic skincare products featured on Rare Beauty

6. And finally – what are your current favourite products featured on Rare Beauty?

What I love about Rare Beauty is that we have a really eclectic range of products – from the very simple, pure oil/butter bends to the more advanced active-ingredient formulations. So there should be something for everyone. I’ve tried many products but not all of them as our Residents have had the lovely job of testing them all. So rather than identify my favourites I’ll give you four bestselling products which have also been highly recommended by our Residents:

If you have any burning questions you’d like to ask Corinne why not leave a comment below? Or you can get in touch with her directly on Instagram and Twitter.

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