CEO and Founder of Trinny Woodall and all-round fashion and beauty trailblazer talked to The Carousel about the global success of her burgeoning beauty empire, Trinny London.
From the inspiration behind her company, the latest beauty trends, her career path from her days as a TV presenter alongside Susannah Constantine in five series of the BBC’s What Not To Wear, to her new cult make-up brand, Trinny has forged an incredible path.
She is to say the very least prolific. Trinny and Susannah co-wrote 11 fashion advice books, which have now sold over 3 million copies worldwide. In 2003 they launched their shapewear range Trinny & Susannah’s Original Magic Knickers, which are sold in 30 countries around the world.
After co-hosting What Not to Wear for five series and appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show as style and makeover advisors, the pair moved to ITV to host Trinny & Susannah Undress… in 2006, and Undress the Nation.
The roll call of achievements don’t stop there. After becoming the faces of Littlewoods Direct, they released their own Littlewoods clothing range along with their 5th fashion advice book, The Body Shape Bible, in 2007. In 2009, they launched their International Makeover Mission series. They have filmed over 20 series in nine countries. They have been viewed by over 30 million women in over 31 countries.
Then, Trinny realised there was a gap in the cosmetics market, and her dream to launch her own beauty products was born. Here, the presenter turned entrepreneur shares the inspiration behind her stackable beauty pots and tech savvy and innovative skin matching service called match2me.
What gave you the inspiration to launch Trinny London?
I think it came from my personal need to have something I could take with me everywhere, and I had started mushing together a lot of products to get colours I wanted and I put them in these little kinds of stackable pots and it was so utterly convenient to my life. And it took me so many years to work out what makeup I suited that, you know, like many ideas, it just derived from a personal need to have all the makeup that I wanted in a very easy to move around containers that I could take everywhere and so id never have to compromise my skin, my makeup routine. Yeah, so borne out of my personal need.
What did you want to do that was different in the market?
I wanted women to understand what makeup they suit because I think we’re told by so many different people as we grow up “You should wear the this or you would suit this”, You know, we see many people behind a makeup counter giving us advice, our sisters, everyone may have a different viewpoint and where we get our advice, the lighting might be wrong to see our skin properly – and so as a result, we might be led down the path of wearing something for years that doesn’t actually suit us and I think I’ve made over so many women in my life, I’ve seen those mistakes on women’s faces. And once we get very used to something, it’s quite difficult to realise it’s not right because it’s all we can see. So I wanted women to have a chance to re-address at any age in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s, am I wearing the right makeup and have a tool that can help them choose the colours that suit them and have a quality of makeup that would give them amazing looking skin and not be really something that would camouflage them to an extent where they just lost their identity. I just feel that, you know, we want to show off the best of ourselves, but it doesn’t mean we have to hide everything to do that.
We love the range and match2me. Tells us about the feedback you’ve had
The feedback is what I thought it would be times 1 million. You know, it’s like you have hopes and dreams when you launch a brand and you really hope people are going to get your idea and that they’re going to want more of it. So for me, seeing that translate into a brand that grows is amazing – we have a tremendous amount of loyal customers and we have a tremendous amount of new customers and we do a little bit of Facebook advertising but, you know, there’s a little score which is called your net promoter score NPS and it’s this sort of percentage of people who would say they would recommend you to a friend. And we have a very high NP and that’s the thing I’m most proud of, is the likelihood that you would recommend this to a friend, that you try it and you want everyone to know why it’s so good.
That’s what has grown our business is a community of women who’ve spoken to other women and said, this has changed my life and you should try it.Trinny Woodall, CEO and Founder of Trinny London
How difficult has it been to make the transition from TV stylist to beauty entrepreneur? What are the lessons you’ve learned?
When I was working in TV, I still was slightly doing the business side of things because I would, in the end, negotiate quite a lot of our contracts and work on sponsorship deals. So I’ve always had a bit of enjoyment of business and when you have a TV career, we were doing TV, we had columns, we did eleven books, you know, there’s quite a lot of work that goes into planning that and getting things delivered on time and doing things to budget so I think I used all those skills and I had many years before worked in finance a little bit so I was prepared to an extent in understanding how hard you have to work to get something done and I think when you start a business it’s luck, it’s many things, but it’s hard work and perseverance that will make a brand successful as well – And so that was in me. I think what was new for me was growing a team and being able to delegate because I’ve always felt if unless I did it, it wouldn’t get done how I wanted it to be done and that’s my steepest learning curve is realised. There are other people out there who could do things – they might do slightly differently but it’s okay. I still will want to control the outcome endlessly but if I want to grow successfully as an entrepreneur, I have to learn that. And I am in the process of that journey now.
How do you define beauty and the way makeup makes you feel?
I think it’s more about that inner confidence and that can shine through. If someone feels good about themselves, they give off that aura of confidence. So I think that beauty is about your inner confidence shining through and illuminating your face.