2021: A Year in Review

by | Dec 31, 2021

Since the creation of the British Beauty Council, the personal care sector has taken huge strides in coming into the nation’s consciousness as the driven, entrepreneurial, world-leading, and dynamic sector it is.

This can be somewhat attributed to the three years of work by the British Beauty Council (founded in 2018) to engage politicians and business leaders about the value of British beauty to the national economy, and its key role in the UK’s creative and cultural character. The British Beauty Council has proven itself as the champion of the beauty industry, providing financial guidance and support to hundreds of thousands of workers. Starting with the creation of a dedicated personal care team in Government back in January, to the acknowledgement of the impact our sector has by the Chancellor, Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, during British Beauty Week, 2021 has been a year that has cemented our much-loved sector into the viewpoint of many influential people and organisations.


Throughout 2021 we’ve worked on campaigns and initiatives both alone, and collaboratively. Our media presence has grown with commentary and features on national news, in national print newspapers, magazines, and digital circulations. This year has seen the British Beauty Council solidified as being the high-quality, trustworthy, innovative industry & thought leaders, praised by many from within, and external to, the sector.


2021 saw the launch of our first podcast series, ‘Career Insights’, hosted by Education Pillar President, Elizabeth Barnett-Lawton, who interviewed figures from across the industry. Speaking with Elizabeth, industry icons including Sam McKnight, Jo Malone CBE, and Marian Newman BEM, divulged their secrets to success, their journeys within the industry and much more. Furthermore, this year we pledged to tell the Beauty Science Story; acknowledging that there is a lack of awareness around the crucial role of science and scientists in the beauty industry, and launched the #BeautyInScience film, alongside the No7 Beauty Company, at our Smashing Stereotypes in Science and Beauty webinar during British Science Week.


Underpinning our work is our belief that the beauty industry can, and should, be truly inclusive. We know that there is still work to be done, however the sector is well positioned to do so. Our aim is to amplify and celebrate the voices of all communities that the industry serves, to ensure each and every one of us feels seen, heard, valued and excited to engage with the beauty industry.  We are doing this by: championing more inclusive and holistic education at grassroots and up; creating mentorship opportunities; championing social mobility; and celebrating brands that are leading in this space.


Following the co-creation of a taskforce by the British Beauty Council to support the Hair & Beauty Authority (HABIA) in 2019, 2021 saw the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Hairdressing being updated so, for the first time, cutting and styling of afro and textured hair is now a compulsory requirement within the NOS Hairdressing qualification. This development is the first stage in this long overdue change, the next step is for Awarding Organisations to review their qualifications and align their curriculum content with the new, more inclusive NOS.


Elevating the impact our sector can have on one’s wellbeing, in May British Beauty Council Chief Operating Officer Helena Grzesk co-authored a report exploring the effects of personal care services on mental health and wellbeing. The Report will be used as part of our policy work to further the case for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to support touch and massage as therapies for mental health, and address the growing burden the treatment of mental health conditions is having on the NHS.


In July of this year, we launched the Sustainable Beauty Coalition (SBC), chaired by Weleda UK’s Managing Director, Jayn Sterland. The SBC exists to create a consistent industry wide framework for British beauty brands to utilise and promote their environmental credentials; this year the SBC worked towards launching the consumer-focused Planet Positive Beauty Guide, and inspirational film, which launched at COP26. The leadership team of the British Beauty Council were present as official observers and the only NGO in the sector to attend the sessions of global leaders and policy makers.


Throughout the year, we’ve had some amazing event highlights, with discussions around technology and intelligence, diversity and inclusion, as well as careers and sustainability. Collaborating with organisations including Patrons Meta, WGSN, and JCDecaux UK, at events such as Graduate Fashion Week, Condé Nast College’s Big Beauty Weekend, Spa Fest, Professional Beauty, Salonology Gold Club Members Summit, and British Beauty Week, we have provided industry leading events and insights to thousands within our much-loved sector.


2021 was a pivotal year in our efforts to influence and change the perception of the personal care sector as a whole, and use the relationships we’ve developed with Government to monetise specific support for our sector as the effect of the pandemic on the industry became increasingly apparent. This year has seen a number of key achievements for the British Beauty Council, and we would like to thank you for your continued support as we enter 2022.


“The next phase of growth is critical to the industry’s success and we look forward to continuing to support our fast growing sector and ensuring it is operating at the highest levels, future proofing the industry’s ability to do good and to support the wellbeing of the nation.”

– Millie Kendall MBE, CEO of British Beauty Council


Click to access the full 2021 Annual Report.

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