As part of our mission to raise the reputation of the British beauty industry, and give it the voice it deserves among changemakers and political heavyweights, we’ve interviewed some key personalities in our business who are also Council Patrons and Advisors. Here, Louise Scott, Chief Scientific Officer at Avon, and Josh Wood, colourist and founder of hair salon (and product line of the same name) Josh Wood Colour talk about their journeys into the business and why they love it.
JOSH WOOD, CREATIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER OF JOSH WOOD COLOUR
Why did you choose to work in hair/beauty and what was your way into this side of the business?
I didn’t choose the industry it chose me, I was working a salon on Saturday sweeping hair and cleaning while studying at college and I really felt the salon environment was made for me and was somewhere that I could really grow and prosper
Any best of times/worst of times within your career you can share?
With the creative process it’s almost like the last job I worked on was the best job I have worked on. But opening my Atelier in 2011 and launching the Josh Wood Colour brand in February 2018 feel like two massive personal achievements. With success there is always challenges, after owning my own business for 20 years I have learnt that without the challenges and difficult times businesses don’t grow, they stagnate. But there have probably been to many low points to mention here but I choose to only focus on the positives and the amazing opportunities that the industry has presented to me.
“There is such a history to British beauty, especially hairdressing. There is a legacy that has been left behind that creates a platform for the talent of today. I for one do not think I would have been able to reach the top of any other profession without the breakthrough in UK hairdressing that had gone before me”.
Advice you would give to your younger self-starting out in this side of the business?
Trust myself more, work on feeling confident and happy with where I am at in the moment, stop and enjoy life on a day to day basis as quite often there is not a lot of work life balance.
Who do you see doing particularly inspirational work in hair -either on the creative or product side -at the moment?
I am very proud to say Mads Sun Lund Christensen was awarded an industry award for the under 30 category for working in fashion, he’s my first assistant and the first assistant I have worked with who has worked with been recognized for dedication and hard work.I also love what Sam McKnight’s doing, simple products that delivers what it says on the can. Sam is a class act and a total pro.
What is your favourite hairstyle and staple?
I couldn’t do what I do without bleach, Redken flash lift which has maximum lift with no damage.
LOUISE SCOTT, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER AT AVON
Why did you choose to work in beauty and what was your way into this business?
My father was a chemist. I remember him talking about chemistry over the dinner table – it was fascinating. I decided then that I wanted to get into science and while I was studying at Cambridge and looking for my first job, someone from the beauty industry said they could use my scientific skills to develop hair care products. I hadn’t considered the link between science and working in beauty so I’m grateful that happened and started my journey in this amazing industry.
What is your view on contemporary beauty and how the way we approach it has changed over the past decade?
Speed! Modern beauty is fast-beauty. A saturated market and the vast amount of information at the consumer’s fingertips is challenging how we innovate. You have to speed up your innovation, without ever sacrificing product quality. Making a beauty ‘must-have’ today is about more than just creating an effective product – we must connect with the customer on an emotional level and understand how that product makes her feel.
Which part of the beauty business excites you most?
The power of science to solve real trade-offs and provide consumers with solutions which make them feel more beautiful. I’m passionate about connecting an insight from the consumer with a scientific innovation that uniquely addresses that consumer need. As an example, our award-winning ANEW Infinite Effects Night Treatment Cream gives consumers amazing anti-aging skincare benefits through ‘interval training’ the skin. That was born from a simple insight that women believe their skincare stops working.
“Beauty is exciting, fast-paced and challenging and it’s such an emotive topic for women. It makes a difference to people’s lives and consumers always want more –the job’s never done. There are always opportunities to challenge the status quo and develop new solutions to give consumers a better beauty experience.
Are there any particular people who inspire you in the beauty business, and if so why?
This is an easy one for me: our Avon Representatives. Every single one of our millions-strong global network of beauty entrepreneurs is using the power of beauty to achieve success in her own way. Whether they’re creating a digital beauty business and becoming a micro-influencer in their own right or connecting face to face with their local community they’ve taken a brave step to run their own business. For many of them, the income from their business is critical for them to put their children through school or put food on the table. I find that really inspiring.
Future touchpoints: what do you think is going to become more important to our business in coming years, ie environmental awareness, purity of formula etc?
Consumers are demanding more than just the right ingredients in the jar. They’re more discerning about what’s in their beauty products and how they’re produced. The challenge for the beauty industry is creating the purest – yet effective – formulas in the most environmentally sustainable way. For a brand like Avon where we passionately believe in opening up world-class innovation to everyone we also need to offer those benefits at accessible prices. We’re excited about meeting the challenge, but it’s certainly a long-term journey for the whole industry.