My Week: Tracy Whittaker of 2 Love My Lips

The cosmetics entrepreneur on the benefits of getting her hands dirty, drink-spiking and being based in Liverpool.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy for us. Last Friday we finished the rest of our first Australian order. We had to pack and send out 12,000 lip glosses, which are then going to be distributed throughout the country. It was all hands on deck – we had some agency staff, and our social media guru Jen, me and even two of the directors all got our hands dirty. With it being such a massive order, and also our first in Australia, we had to know that it was right. You can’t be precious about what job you’re doing when you work in a small business – until we’re a multi-million pound organisation, we all have to muck in.

2010 has been a big year for us. We’ve probably sold around 100,000 in the last 12 months. The big differentiator between our lip glosses and the competition’s is that ours comes with a drink spike detector kit. I had the idea when I was on a night out in Belfast. Someone sent a drink over for me and the barmaid came over and said: ‘Watch who you accept a drink from, because drink-spiking is rife around here at the moment.’

I’d never really thought about spiking before that day. But I went away and started thinking about how you could test if someone had slipped something in your drink. After doing some research, I discovered there was a drink spike detector on the market but it just seemed a bit too big and clunky to take on a night out. So I asked a company to do a bespoke design for me. I then thought about how I’d persuade women to take it to a club with them, and it occurred to me that lots of women don’t leave the house without their lip gloss. So we packaged them together. I think it’s really clever actually. It’s still such a problem, drink-spiking. When I was 26, I never thought about who was buying my drinks, or how I was getting home. I’d only think about how I was going to get where I was going – and what I was going to wear.

After the Australian shipment went, I spent most of last weekend chilling out. We’d been working so hard to get it out on time. It’s been like this a lot recently; you begin to forget what home looks like. A few weeks ago we did an overnight stint, from 9am in the morning until 4.30 the next afternoon. We were on our knees by the end of it.
This Monday we had a meeting with our web design company. We’re currently rebranding and relaunching our website so it’s easier to use and we can incorporate social media better. The rest of the week has been mainly been spent working on our new product range, which can all be used either on or around the mouth. We’ve tried to be quite clever about the packaging, so we’ve put quotes from influential women through history on the boxes – including the likes of Marie Curie, Princess Di and Elizabeth I.

I want the new range to be fun, but with a bit of a clever twist to it as well. It’s going to be aimed at slightly older women – probably 25 all the way up to 60 or 65. The lip glosses were aimed at youngsters – 18 to about 25. But that said, my mum’s got them all, and she’s 65...

Tracy Whittaker is the founder of 2 Love My Lips, which sells lip glosses packaged with drink-spike detector kits.


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