How is being the owner of an indie beauty company and what is the power of makeup? This Q&A with Charlotte Miller from Charlie Betty Beauty opens the doors to her very human experience.
1) How was your first encounter with makeup?
"I do have a couple of strong memories that I love to look back on when I think about how I discovered Makeup, the first one I know I was very young, but I remember watching my mum get ready for a night out, she had this walk-in makeup station, huge mirror and a big toiletry bag filled with makeup, she didn't wear makeup on a day to day basis, so when she went out, it was special, I used to sit on the end of her bed just watching her swipe on her eyeshadow from a collection 2000 black/silver compact, and the one thing that really sticks in my mind, was this beautiful silk oriental design lipstick case she would take out, which held her signature Olay Satin Lipstick, she was just the epitome of class and wonder for me, she would give me some of her less used items to keep for my own and I would start to mimic everything she did, it was just a beautiful momentous thing for me.
As I got older, I started getting really interested in the artistry of makeup, both my mum and dad absolutely loved 80's music, so I grew up listening to and looking into these artists, specifically the likes of Adam Ant and Boy George, the array of colour and abstract ways they used makeup to express themselves really interested me, the one image that has stayed with me ever since I saw it when I was an early teen, was the cover of Brave New World by Toyah, I just thought it was absolutely phenomenal, and I honestly think that was the start of me wanting to really delve into what makeup can do."
2) How does makeup help you in your bluest days?
"It's so very strange how just a face of makeup can drastically change my mood, but creativity has always been an escape for me, it has been ever since I was young. I could sit for hours painting my face and just get so lost in a creative process that everything else just melts away, and then when I'm finished, I get a rush of endorphins looking at the final piece that I've just created! It's such a relaxing process for me being able to vent my feelings through colour and creativity, in those moments, I can be anyone or anything, I can be a thousand different styles, it's just me, my music and my makeup."
3) Is there a beauty trend that you do not feel like your cup of tea?
"I think every trend that comes around, most people will absolutely boss it! I know so many people are loving these, and honestly, they look great if you can get it right, but faux freckles, I just can't!!"
4) The Earth Palette was an important step in your life. How would you describe the process of picking colours and ideas for its creation? What is the role of emotions in it?
"I'm a perfectionist, I knew the concept I wanted to go with, right away with the palette, and it meant so much to me to get it right, and convey the message well. So during my bout of depression during lockdown, I started to look into spirituality and wellness, I started to learn to ground myself and really pay attention to the world around me through meditation, so that's the reason I wanted to work on The Earth Palette, I wanted to focus on everything associated with the Earth Element, rather than just looking at Earth as 'leaves and grass', I wanted to focus on the Ruling Planets, the charging crystals, all of the deeper meanings relating to the actual element, there are so many colours in nature that compliment and really resonate with each other and I just wanted to really embody that and the element as a whole. It took me about 4 months to get the colour story to a point where each shade in the palette could be used with each other, to blend or compliment, and for each shade (yep! all 18 of them) I studied their namesake, the tones in the Jasper Crystal, for example, the deep greens in the Cedar tree...I really wanted whoever used the Palette to feel the earth, I wanted it to move them as much as it moved me and for them to be able to discover more about the earth."
5) What is the hardest part of being an independent beauty brand? And on the other hand, what is the biggest joy?
"I would say the hardest part is the workload, I do so many hats as it's just me in this business, product development, market research, quality control, logistics, marketing, web design, stock control, packing, shipping, the lot! And although I have very supportive friends and a very patient husband, it is a lot of hard work, but that takes me to the biggest joy, seeing the reaction of customers when their product arrives, the feedback and reviews that come from them just warm my heart, it truly makes it all worth it and I am eternally for all of the support I have received, we are currently laying the groundwork for a lot of projects that will allow us to really give back to the community, to hopefully make a difference in people's lives, for all the people that have helped me make my dream a reality."
6) If you could wear just one colour, what would it be?
"Green, hands down! Makeup, clothes, homeware, hair colour, I'm just drawn to it! I would happily be the green lady!"
7) Beauty, skincare and fashion are three feel-good topics in your Facebook community. What is your top suggestion for those who are particularly struggling at the moment?
"Talk! I know it's easier said than done, but please, talk, whether it be therapy, your friends, your family, a random lady at a bus stop, get. it. out. I've been the person who held it all in, and since I decided to open up to therapy, I've honestly felt a weight has been lifted, I'm more aware of my feelings and how to cope with them, please, don't bottle things up!"
8) On a rushed morning, what you cannot leave the house without?
"Lip balm! I don't know what it is, or why I have this obsession, I have lip balms everywhere! Just in case! One in each room of the house, one in the pocket of all my coats, two in my car. I will not go anywhere without my lip balm! The thought of not having one with me makes my palms sweaty just thinking about it!!"
9) What is a technique or a trend worth to be tried and maybe twisted with a unique touch?
"I wish coloured lashes were a huge thing, I know we have crazy coloured false lashes, but an eyelash tint with streaks of colour, I would just love, I have white eyelashes because of my Vitiligo and they take to dyes very well, I would absolutely love for them to match my purple hair without having to wear falsies!"
10) How do you see yourself and your brand in 5-years time?
"Obviously expanding the business product-wise would be amazing, I have so many ideas I'm just itching to start working on! We currently donate 5% of annual sales to Mind Charity so to be able to increase this and be able to really make a difference would just be the icing on the cake. My whole 'why' for this business is to be able to help people if I can really make a difference in 5 years in people's lives through creativity of makeup. That would just be mind-blowing to me."
And before leaving Charlotte... do you have any sneak peeks on your future activities? What can we expect next from Charlie Betty Beauty?
"I have a lot of things up my sleeve when it comes to future activities for Charlie Betty Beauty, we have a lot of events booked, making our way around the country showcasing our products which I just can't wait for! As well as looking at permanent premises where we can hold workshops and tea talk groups where we can help our local community with their mental health struggles. We also have a lot of new products being worked on behind the scenes, I'm so very excited for what we can achieve with this business, so, watch this space!"
For some of us, this virtual coffee comes at the right time. When the world is grey and the new day starts with the deepest shade of blue, Charlotte's thoughts and example will be a good reminder.