Two powerful women are changing the face of British cosmetics. Marian Buckley meets Ruby and Millie.
Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall are responsible for the first major UK cosmetics brand to launch in 30 years. They met 10 years ago while Ruby was working as a make-up artist and Millie was behind the Shu Uemura counter in London's Harvey Nichols department store. "I just saw the back of Millie polishing these shelves and I thought there's a woman after my own heart," remembers Ruby.
Fast-forward six years and Millie is running her own beauty PR company. The friends are approached by Boots to work on a beauty project. From these discussions, plans for their own signature make-up brand emerges. After two years of research, development and hard slog, Ruby and Millie launches nationwide in branches of Boots.
"There was no way with our experience we were going to launch a piddly little range sold in a few stores," says Millie. Every one of the 300 Ruby and Millie products available has been personally approved by both women. "We evaluate things in completely different ways, but we draw the same conclusions," Ruby enthuses. Friendship, mutual respect and trust have helped turn the business duo into a "formidable force" according to Ruby.