My Week: Amanda Connock of Connock London

The cosmetics entrepreneur on jetting off to foreign climes in the name of research, one-on-ones with customers and why her father was her inspiration.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
I’m a morning person, so I usually try to get up early and do some sort of exercise – although I’m usually better at that in the summer than I am in the winter. I’ve got into the habit of switching my bread-maker on before I go to bed, so the smell of freshly-baked bread wafts up the stairs in the morning and wakes me up. I run my cosmetics business, Connock London, from my home in the New Forest – so there’s no long journey into the office.

Tomorrow, I’ve got to get up early to go to Cosmoprof, the big cosmetics trade show in Bologne. I’m going out there for a couple of days to look at new packaging ideas – you just tour the halls and look at new things, and there are always the usual people there. My mum’s coming with me – she always comes to these things with me, we talk about everything. Obviously, we’ll also get the chance to have a look around the city, and top it off with a nice Italian meal, too…

We’ve also got the Country Living fair in Islington coming up. We do a lot of fairs – those kinds of things are great for a small brand like ours, because they give us the chance to explain the products and the oils we use. We are at big retailers like Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, but you can’t just rely on them: when a niche brand like ours is on the shelf next to all the products everyone knows, it can be quite confusing if you haven’t heard of it. The eye tends to be drawn to products you already know.

I got into cosmetics because of my father. He started the family business 35 years ago, importing ingredients to use in cosmetics. He travelled around the world, seeing how oils were used in their native countries, and then brought them back to Europe and sold them to big cosmetics brands.

I worked for the family business for a while, but it was always my dream to launch my own range. I always knew it was going to be based on Kukui oil: when I was 11, we went on a family holiday where we saw how the nuts were harvested and how the oil was made. Dad was the first person to bring it over to Europe for cosmetics purposes, and the business still uses the same factory today. So it seemed obvious to focus my own range on that.

I got married last year – my husband’s a pilot, both our lives are rather unpredictable. Neither of us have much of a routine – he’s always off somewhere different, while I could spend the whole day doing admin – or I could have a week where I’m doing shows. I think it’s very important for me to be there and hear what customers are saying. As a young business, it’s good to get involved in every part.

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