Happy Birthday BeautyMART!

Crowd at BeautyMART BoxparkLet the cry ring round the houses: BeautyMART is one year old today!

Without doubt, BeautyMART is my very favourite Thing That Happened in the world of beauty this year.

BeautyMART opened at Harvey Nichols on September 6th 2012. This makes BeautyMART a Virgo, born in the year of the Water Dragon:  meticulous attention to detail and an endless capacity for hard work underpinning seemingly effortless glamour  and a strong point of view.

Lee Pycroft at BeautyMART Boxpark

Here’s what I said about BeautyMART when I first wrote about them:

‘Why is BeautyMART so exciting?
It’s tiny.
It’s shiny.
And it’s absolutely packed to the gills with a diverse range of perfect product.’

One year on, and BeautyMART is still every bit as exciting, and now there are two London BeautyMARTs: the high-gloss Harvey Nichols space, and the Boxpark unit, kitted out with wood and butcher’s hooks.

Millie Kendall applying CharmsiesI predicted that BeautyMART, although a Prince Naseem feather-weight in terms of floorspace, would prove to have Mohammed Ali-like impact on the heavyweight department store beauty halls. Subsequently, Liberty have had a drastic revamp, adding those informal glass balls filled with niche product to their ground floor. Selfridges too, seem livelier these days, and keen to stress their Bourjois exclusives … pre-BeautyMART, I don’t remember any department store making such a fuss of their affordable brands. I have no proof whatsoever that these changes stemmed from BeautyMART making every other London beauty retailer look slightly old hat, but I can prove that they have changed the way that I buy beauty.

Prior to BeautyMART opening, at this point in the year my Boots Advantage card would be holding at least £40 worth of points – possible £60 or so, depending on how assiduous I’d been about attending triple point shopping evenings. But today, my advantage card points stand at a measly £18.47. Not only am I shopping in Boots less frequently, I have also stopped being lured by 3-for-2 offers, Buy One Get One Free, and other discounting. For me, this is a huge change. For years I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book called Bargain Your Way To Bankruptcy: which would detail my techniques for accumulating the maximum amount of product for the minimum amount of spend. I longed to have the iron will-power, and consequently fantastic wardrobe of the Siren of Stepney (who only buys very, very good stuff that she really, really likes, and is not swayed by the cheap thrills of discounts and sample sales), but no. I was an impulse shopper and a frequent flier: see something; find a way to tell yourself it’s a bargain; then SPEND, SPEND SPEND. Not any more. I still LOVE a bargain, but BeautyMART’s mix of luxe and affordable with an added element of surprise, has turned out to be the magic spell required to tame and reign in my spending. Since BeautyMART opened, I’ve spent less and I’ve loved what I’ve bought far more.the Youngest MUA applies Bourjois at BeautyMART Boxpark

I’ve written before about what geniuses BeautyMART are when it comes to events. BeautyMART Meet The Expert evenings are always packed, but never stressfully so, and every expert I’ve ever met through them has been absolutely lovely. It’s as though they run a Diva filter on their address book when bringing in make-up artists and brand representatives, and let through only the people whose sense of fun, informality and charm matches the excellence of their products.

I need to thank BeautyMART for introducing me to Bioderma, and micellar water, come to that. You’d think that we were all swimming the channel to get our Bioderma fix prior to BeautyMART stocking it – but we weren’t. I can’t be the only person that had never heard of it prior to BeautyMART putting it on their shelves, surely? I love France for beauty shopping – I even have a tag called French superiority – but that huge French Pharmacy Trend of the past year? I believe BeautyMART started it off, and deserve the credit for it.

James Read and the Youngest Great Beauty at BeautyMART Boxpark

And one thing I especially love and admire about BeautyMART, is that they don’t sell through fear, only through desire. The products they have and the way they show and celebrate them make my pupils dilate and my heart beat faster. But never, ever do I feel that I have to buy something because I’ll fall apart without it. BeautyMART use the term Beauty Junkies for themselves and their customers – and it’s not a term I object to at all: I am one, I need my beauty fix, and BeautyMART (along with the Garden pharmacy, John Bell & Croyden and Boots) are the trusted suppliers I turn to when I need a re-up. But I hope they won’t be offended if I say that I consider them – and me – to be more like Beauty Nymphomaniacs: chasing the thrill of the new, nostalgic for those we’ve loved and lost, faithful to many brands, but always ready to have our heads turned by another!

It’s traditional to make a wish on your birthday and I hope everything that Great Beauties Millie Kendall and Anna-Marie Solowij wish for comes true. It is not traditional to make a wish on someone else’s birthday, but I’m going to any way: I’m wishing that BeautyMART will offer their products through a physical catalogue. I’ll still visit their shops whenever I get the chance, I will still hit the website to read their blogs and browse the products, but I’m greedy: I also want something to flick through, a physical thing I can hold in my hand, annotate, read in the bath, and leave lying around the house for my family to see, products helpfully ringed in marker pen.

Happy Birthday BeautyMART, thanks so much for a fabulous first year – I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the coming twelve months!