We first discovered new make up and lashes brand CODE Beautiful on Instagram. Started by two business women that couldn’t find the perfect mascara, this was something that we just HAD to try. And yes, it really is as amazing as it says on its super chic packaging. This is one to watch when it comes to emerging make up brands, so we spoke to co-founder Sarah Cross to find out a little bit more about her as a role model business woman, the brand and how it got there.
So tell us a bit about you?
I’m welsh, 37, lived In Dubai from 13 to 20, amazing experience, single, I’ve never met anyone I want to settle with and I’m no settler… 40 years with the same person is absolutely enough right? I never bothered with uni was all about getting straight to work from college, where I did business and finance for a couple of years
What was your first job?
I left college in Dubai and met a guy in a coffee shop who wanted to set up a business in the middle east, so I helped him, my arabic was pretty much fluent then and I had lots of local ‘wasta’ ( connections ) it was great fun!
What road did you take to get to where you are today?
My family are pretty close, my sister Emma works with me and my parents been married for 39 years, I play records and we are known to dance round my front room!…. When my dad wanted to come back to the UK we all decided to come back together, so I came down to earth with a bang! I loved communication and travel and understanding behaviours so when I saw an AD from a customer loyalty business that specialised In travel it was the perfect option for me, I made it my mission to become an expert in customer loyalty back in early 2000’s there wasn’t many loyalty specialists and the ones that were, were all male and quite a lot older than me, so I read every book there was and went to every conference and learnt from a few experts in the industry. When I’d achieved my first big loyalty programme for 5.2 million pound I decided it was time to move on…. I went to London for a year and then finally settled in Manchester 10 years ago and I love it. I was sick of making everyone else money so run up to my 30th having spent two years in house at global head of loyalty and strategy at GHD I set up my first business uber ( NO NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CABS!). uber works with fashion, beauty, retail brands on customer loyalty strategy, our clients range from Michael Kors and The Sunglass hut, to Arboretum in Ireland and pharmacy chains and luxury private members club HOME HOUSE one of my skincare clients and I were chatting about mascara one day and both of us had several that we were not happy with. I’d always wanted to create a product but never quite known what, this was then the perfect opportunity. We spent two years developing our first Product and launched in Jan 2014.
What made you start CODE beautiful, and what does CODE Beautiful mean to you?
CODE Beautiful was really born from a constant search for the perfect mascara my friend and client at the time and I had several mascaras one for day one for night, one for thickness, one for length and we thought there must be a way of creating one amazing must have product that is the holy grail of mascara and does it all! We will never be a full cosmetics brand we are a fashion beauty brand creating must have’s for women that are a little bit better and different to anything out there.
We are incredibly proud of what we’ve created our first three products we have launched in the UK market are CODE VLM our do-it-all mascara that gives your lashes thickness, length, volume, separation and curl and lasts all day but is super easy to come off with a water based cleanser, CODE VLM Mini is a perfect handbag / travel size exact mini version of VLM and CODE FFL ( Forget Fake Lashes ) is our pre mascara lash plumper, you apply it before mascara, great for women who’ve damaged their lashes through extensions or inserts or who just want that super fake lash look in a more natural way. We are very focused on overseas development and are in discussions with several countries and will be launching overseas in a big way in 2016.
What does your normal day entail?
I really don’t have a normal day, my days are so different! I speak at conferences all over the world so one day could be in Dubai or Paris doing that and another live on QVC UK, meeting our retailers like Harvey Nichols & BeautyMART or our manufacturers for product development, finance days are the least looked forward to but at least I’m sat at my desk which is a rarity these days!
I go to the gym three times a week with a personal trainer I love lifting weights and never really do any cardio, when I eat well and train I feel amazing. I live in south manchester, Didsbury and have some great friends so am often found with a vino in my hand catching up with friends. Some days are super long but I really do try and find a balance where I can, Mindfulness and Buddhism help me to relax and switch off… I’m trying a new rule at the moment where I switch my phone off at 9pm for some down time, when I manage it it really helps me get an early night.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since starting a business?
To never lose faith or focus in where you’re going, to be fearless and take risks to drive forward. Never stand still and ALWAYS trust your gut.
What is your must have item to have in your handbag?
CODE VLM , our mascara obvs! I also love mac’s prep and prime it comes everywhere with me and my signature fragrance by Jo Malone
What is your top make up tip?
Always take it off at night!! I’m a skin geek I do the full on face regime day and night no matter where I am or what time I get in the make up comes off every night…. Less is more too I’m not a big make up wearer, I just wear concealer where I need it a bit of cc cream, blusher, mascara and my prep and prime I’m all about the natural look.
What four words do you live by?
Music, Meditation, Push boundaries and be resilient sorry that’s more than 4! 🙂
And finally, who is your role model?
I wouldn’t say I have a role model as such but I admire women who manage to juggle it all and keep the balance, who manage to Kick ass and still be kind. I’m all about being who you want to be in the most natural way possible. It takes nothing to join a crowd but everything to stand alone. I believe in doing things that scare you, often and constantly challenging yourself.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Sarah!
Watch this space Panache fans, soon we will be giving you the chance to win the whole CODE BEAUTIFUL collection!