Jane Wurwand: 'I wouldn't have started Dermalogica if I'd stayed in the UK'

Jane Wurwand left Britain in her 20s and went on to launch skincare brand Dermalogica, which sells more than 28 million products globally each year. Here's how she did it.

by Kate Bassett

‘I wouldn’t have started Dermalogica if I’d stayed in Britain,’ says the skincare brand’s founder Jane Wurwand, who was born in the UK but emigrated to the US via South Africa in her 20s. ‘I’d have got a great job in a great salon in London – and that would have been enough for me.

‘But I moved to Cape Town with no family, no friends, no money and no plan B. I was hungry – literally and figuratively. I had to make it work. Immigrants tend to spot gaps in the market because they ask, "What can I do that isn’t already here?" They bring a different perspective.’

Wurwand was born in Dorset and credits her mother – who was widowed at the age of 38 and left to bring up four daughters single-handedly – with teaching her an important life lesson. ‘She said: "Girls, learn how to do something." Those words have always stuck with me. My mother had trained as a nurse but gave that up when she married my father in 1944. When he died suddenly from a heart attack, she had that skill to fall back on. She had grit, determination and she could bloody well put food on the table.’

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