Jade Elliott is the founder of Iconic London, a brand leading the charge in trendy, cruelty-free products for beauty lovers. Caroline Neville MBE, President of CEW, discovers how the brand accelerated from a bedroom start-up to one of the most coveted on the market. This article was originally published in Luxury Briefing 215.
This article was originally published in Luxury Briefing 215.
What are the most significant changes you’ve noticed in the beauty industry since launching Iconic London?
The biggest change I’ve seen in the beauty industry is the move to influencer marketing. Now, nearly every brand is using influencers in some way! When I first started Iconic London, not many brands saw how special influencers were. The beauty industry was very judgemental, which I could never understand. I love every single influencer at all levels and as a brand, we will always support them.
Could you briefly explain the thinking behind Iconic London and what prompted you to start your own business?
I wanted to create a brand that my friends and I would love. It just didn’t exist. There wasn’t anything that excelled at being both current and problem-solving. That’s when Iconic London was born. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and almost all my family run their own businesses – selling to consumers is in my DNA!
How do you want your customers to feel when they use Iconic London products?
I strive for my customer to have a beauty experience similar to how a child feels about Disney. I want them to be wowed and feel magic when they open our product. As a social-born brand, I feel it’s especially important for our customers to feel amazed when they hold the product in their hand, as often it is the first time they have seen it in real life. I am selling a dream that comes to life and I want it to be as special as possible.
Which platforms do you use to communicate with your clients?
Our biggest platform is Instagram [the brand has more than 1.2 million followers]. I saw four years ago how it was so accessible and easy to use. Throughout my four years of running Iconic London, I have just watched it grow and grow. We are looking to invest elsewhere, too, but at the moment, Instagram is still our biggest platform.
What are the key elements you look for when creating a product?
For me, I look for something that our girl wants and needs. I don’t follow the trends that are meant to be ‘BIG’. I give our girl the trend she wants.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the beauty industry?
My advice would be to stay true to yourself. I had such a hard time to get people to take me seriously when I first started and I really had to beg factories to work with me. I am not your typical businesswoman and I now see that is an amazing thing. My biggest tip is not to change to fit in! Be you and be proud of that. Being different is a huge advantage, as it means you’ll probably look at things in a new way.
Who or what most inspires you in the beauty industry?
My biggest inspiration comes from influencers and makeup artists – they are my beauty icons. They are all my muses. The social media community has inspired so many of our products, it is just magical. They are the new trend-makers.
What do you consider as the biggest challenge facing the beauty industry today?
I believe the biggest challenge is to keep fresh and innovative in such a talented industry. Social media is allowing new brands to compete with industry giants and that is a real strength for the sector – but it’s also its biggest weakness, as gone are the days where you could have one cult product. You need to reinvent to stay ahead.
What plans do you have in the pipeline for Iconic London?
In so many ways, Iconic hasn’t even started properly. For the first time, we have a really strong team and investment behind us. The future is exciting. Iconic has done really well for a bedroom start-up, it’s got to an amazing place with a tiny team and tight budget but I am so excited to show what we can do with proper backing. The pipeline is endless!
Which three items/products can you not leave home without?
I can’t leave my home without my foundation, hairbrush and Prep Set Glow – it is an instant pick-me-up throughout the day and leaves even the most tired skin look so gorgeous and glowy.
How do you start your day?
I’m an early riser, so at 5:00 am I’m up scrolling through Instagram. I look at influencers, brands, celebs to get my creative juices flowing. I will then check emails and get back to urgent ones, go through my daily list. Then at 6:00 am, my daughter wakes up and I’m in mum mode till 9:00 am when my working day starts.
What was the title of the last book you read?
The last book I read was Many lives, many masters by Brian Weiss.
How do you switch off?
A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer this at all. There was no switching off…ever! But my daughter (she’s now 10 months old) has made me have some balance, so I switch off when I’m with her. Spending time with my family is the thing I enjoy the most.