For a dose of inspiration to welcome in 2017, we spoke to Charlotte Knight, the founder of the beauty brand Ciaté. Charlotte shares with us how she maintains a healthy work-life balance, her beauty routine which keeps her looking her best while overseeing all 35 territories that Ciaté are based, and we also learnt about product development in the beauty business and the power and art of branding:
Firstly, as you’re the founder of one of the leading beauty brands we would love to know what your daily beauty regime is?
In the AM I cleanse using Fresh rose cleanse and use an SPF moisturiser and a slick of lash serum to keep my lashes super long and healthy. Every night, I cleanse with my Clarisonic and use Ciaté makeup melter to remove my eye makeup which melts it all off in seconds and is so relaxing as you massage across your tired eyes. I treat my skin to a nightly dose of Fresh black tea overnight cream, eye cream and then sleep which is the best beauty product of all!
And we are also very intrigued to know what a typical day in the life of you is like?
No day is ever the same which is what I love as spontaneity is my fuel for life! If I am not travelling to NY or LA, my days in London are generally a mix of product development meetings, creative sessions with my art studio, board, finance, sales meetings, appointments with press or shooting content on shoots…I am so blessed to love what I do.
How do you create a healthy work/life balance?
Working out helps me maintain balance and keeps my stress levels at bay! And eating clean has changed my life and really helped me to ensure my body can deal with my hectic schedule.
What was your first job?
I worked in my parent’s furniture shop when I was 14! It was when pine furniture was all the rage, and I remember helping couples design their kitchen table and chairs as we offered funky wood staining in green and blue for the legs! Clearly, my creativity needed to be released even then! I think back to myself at 14 and do giggle at how I was taken seriously!
When did you first have the idea for Ciaté and what were your next steps?
Working backstage at Fashion Week for years gave me the desire to create my own brand…mixing pigments and textures for designers planted butterflies in my belly that had to be released. I went on a creative, research and development trip to Cosmoprof Italy, met with suppliers who were willing to help me make the impossible, possible and the rest, as they say, is history!
Have you always been entrepreneurial?
I think I must have been! At 13, my friend and I used to sell vintage items at flea markets every Sunday! We would set out at 5 am to get a good place in the queue for a good spot for a great day’s trade.
Has the beauty industry always been a key interest of yours?
I am a total beauty junkie so working in this industry is a dream come true!
If you weren’t running Ciaté what do you think you would be doing?
I think I would be designing something, be it interiors or shoes…I would have loved to be a Sophia Webster Esq shoe designer!
From experience, what are the biggest challenges people face when running a company?
Growth always brings challenges as your infrastructure must change and build to support the increase in business.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when developing products?
Inspiration is everywhere; I always make sure when I travel I spend as much time as possible to soak up all the sights as inspiration could be right in front of you. Be it street art in Amsterdam, tropical fish in the Indian Ocean or the stunning postcard-worthy sights of the Portofino coast.
Ciaté’s branding and packaging are beautiful.
1. What was the creative process?
I set out to make a product that you would proudly keep on your dressing table or one that would be the product that is left on display in your bathroom. We make products that are pretty on the inside and out without compromising on formula and therefore performance.
2. Can you tell us a little of how important branding/packaging is to a brand? And do you have any tips on how companies can be successful at this?
Branding and packaging are everything. It is the window to your brand, so the most minute of details count for so much, with Ciaté we added a black satin bow to each of our nail polish bottles. I find the more personable you can be with your branding and packaging the more relatable you are to your target market.
Ciaté has gone from strength to strength. What key strategies have you employed to ensure this?
Due to the rapid growth of Ciaté we have had to build our infrastructure to support all our 35 territories across the globe. We tend not to outsource so have in-house legal, design, product development, marketing and technical and regulatory departments to allow us to move very quickly and react to our customers’ needs without the dependency on external agencies.
What do you think it is that makes Ciaté so innovative?
CIATE is an acronym for Colour, Innovation, Artistry, Trend and Extraordinary and these are the five key values we stay true to in all that we do. We are a young brand, still in its infancy and privately owned so we can react to trends quickly and have remained super nimble in our processes to allow us to be reactive to innovation.
Can you reveal any exciting future plans or developments for Ciaté?
We have some very exciting collaborations in the works! And we are currently developing our first complexion products which I cannot wait to share.
What are your key pieces of advice that you can offer to people setting up/running a company today?
The best piece of advice that I was ever given was turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash flow is reality!