About Us, Our Story
Lovely to meet you, if this is the first time you've landed on this page we wanted to use it as a space to tell you a bit more about us and our business. Oh and also share some cute pics :)
Who are we?
We're two sisters from Barry, South Wales who started our business nearly 6 years ago and the time has really flown by, the main reason being we are having lots of fun.
Spectrum came into existence because of lots of different reasons, so to help you understand more about the brand we though it would be best to share bit of real info 'about us' as people to give our brand some context, our story if you like.
We have both always been very passionate about beauty and fashion, we would spend hours as young girls scouring magazines and dreaming of emulating the fashion and makeup looks we saw, often we'd do each others makeup and beauty was always a source of fun, inspiration and escapism for us growing up.
We always used to watch our mum get ready at her dressing table, and would ask her what she was using and why she liked it. There were a few favourite things mum had as part of her beauty routine that she would treasure and they would bring such joy when she applied them. We didn't have much disposable money as Dad was made redundant from his dream job and struggled to find another one for quite a few years, while mum was full time looking after us and our younger brother, so growing up we learned to appreciate what we had.
From those early memories watching mum we learned that makeup wasn't just something that was practical, only serving a purpose to make you 'look better'. A beauty routine is a ritual that when shared can bring so much happiness and really become a bonding experience. Makeup isn't just functional, it's very emotional.
Also, it became apparent that beauty products aren't just randomly selected, they are carefully curated and chosen for how they make you feel and that has stuck with us ever since.
From a young age, maybe 12, we always worked to earn pocket money so we could go shopping - unsurprisingly beauty products were our favourite, mainly because you could get something like a Barry M dazzle dust or a lip gloss for just a few pounds, and they were instant mood boosters. We were always, always drawn to colour. Even now if we want an instant pick me up a bright lipstick is our go to.
Second to beauty, our favourite things to buy were accessories, usually cute bags to store all our beauty products in. Like we've said we didn't have much so we used to take great care of our cosmetics and collect them like treasures, keeping them stashed in makeup bags and boxes in our room and proudly displaying our growing assortment. Looking back now, that's when I realise we were collectors. We collected all kinds of things, but beauty is the one that stuck.
Now you probably have a good mental picture of us as 12 year olds, here's a pic just for extra context!
We've been consuming fashion and beauty since we were old enough to appreciate and afford it. Because we had to save to be able to buy anything, we've always been mindful of price point. As a beauty brand one of our beliefs is that we should remain accessible for a wide range of customers and offer a selection of products at an entry price point. As a company we work hard to ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy on our website. If you're a fellow beauty lover on a budget we want to be able to share that feeling of joy purchasing a new product brings, without compromising on quality.
So how did you start the business?
We certainly weren't born into the beauty industry and no-one in our family happened to a business background that we could tap into. Instead we went about starting a business a little bit by accident.
Both of us took a similar career path and ended up freelancing in photography, video, branding and content, working for years with various businesses, helping build them into recognisable brands.
We saw a lot of the companies we were working for gain great success, that's when we started to think about founding our own brand. Creativity comes naturally to us and we can usually spot an opportunity to improve on a product, whether that's visually or practically. This combined with our natural love for working - that strong desire from a young age to be able to afford something always drove us to work hard to get what we wanted - made us determined to succeed on our own terms, and that meant starting our own brand instead of working for others.
When dad was made redundant from his dream job, we saw how depressed he became and we realised that no one should ever feel like they can't achieve their dreams. That always drove us to achieve ours and although no one in our family was able to give us financial or business support, we always had an abundance of energy and encouragement to 'go for it', so that's what we did.
From our early 20's we started saving, not really knowing what for at the time, we just knew we were going to make something happen and that's when we started thinking about our product.
Why makeup brushes?
That's the big question! There simply weren't any good enough.
As conscious consumers from a young age, we always wanted to know what we were buying was the best we could find for our (hard earned) money. Now we're running our own business we look at every aspect through the eyes of the customer, we expect our customers to feel exactly the way we did when we were researching products we wanted to purchase, carefully selecting and curating them for the right balance of quality, affordability and fun.
Most of the beauty products we shopped for had multiple choices available and it was always a case of deciding which one to go for out of a vast array of options. We realised when trying to buy a new foundation brush that this wasn't the case for beauty tools.
After shopping around researching makeup brushes for quite a long time we found the biggest limitation to us was price. The majority of tools were designed for professional application and with a price point that matched, making the vast majority of makeup brush brands inaccessible to us as consumers. Once we'd saved and decided to invest in a couple of brushes out of necessity, sadly they just left us disappointed, anyone else have memories of those dreaded black hairs in your foundation that left streaks and blended really badly? Yes us too.
We really couldn't find anything at a price we were happy to pay for the quality that we knew we deserved as paying customers. We were tired of highly priced bad tools, and very few alternative options.
On top of that we really didn't want to use makeup brushes made with animal hair, as we are both passionate animal lovers. We knew synthetic hair brushes existed but none of them caught our eye when we were shopping, or gave us that joyful feeling of purchasing something you knew you were going to treasure and collect. The options were purely functional. Thinking back to our mums dressing table and those early memories collecting treasures, we wanted something that was far more exciting.
If we felt that way as makeup consumers then surely a lot of others did too.
There was an element of gut instinct at this point, a feeling that we knew there was something missing from this industry that we'd grown up loving for being inspirational, accessible and fun. So we said, 'let's do makeup brushes.'
Two years ago, we began to feel the same way about makeup, there wasn't anything available that fulfilled every one of our needs as consumers, and guess what, we did makeup too.
Did you know, our mum actually came up with the name 'Spectrum Collections' when we were all sat on our sofa dreaming up ideas.
What's happened since then?
So much has happened since then, we won't detail everything in this one page but here's a summary of the important things we want you to take away, starting with the core values of Spectrum Collections.
- Vegan and Cruelty Free - no animal product
- Premium Quality - offering only the best
- Bold Design - evoking emotion and inspiration, always
- Affordable Luxury - everyone should be able to buy Spectrum
These values have been personal to us for years, and we've developed them to become four pillars of our brand. We still have the same values at the core of everything we do.
We are both very conscious consumers and always have been. We especially covet items that offer value for money, great quality, bold design and are easy to use. Often we will purchase the same item if it has all of these qualities, you'll see us in very similar outfits and makeup looks pretty frequently :)
So Spectrum comes from a desire to always have the best quality products at an affordable price point but with a luxurious feel, all the things we love and knew we could create within our own brand.
A lot of our time is spent on product design, research and development and we consider every single detail to make sure we're working towards minimising packaging, making it re-useable and recyclable wherever possible, and ensuring our products are made with a conscious modern consumer in mind.
We see sustainability as a constantly evolving process and an ongoing project, as a small company we work very hard to do everything we can within our capabilities but of course we can only move as quickly as the industry as a whole. We love innovation so we're pushing our suppliers for better packaging solutions, but not at the cost of the product. Why would we want to offer packaging to our customers that means their order arrives damaged? We can't risk this happening so there has to be a compromise.
At the moment we're making efforts to reduce single use plastic, source FSC certified paper and cardboard and minimise our packaging overall, while retaining our core brand values. 'Attainable Sustainable' is a phrase we like to use when talking about product development, we ask is it easy for our customer to place the packaging into the recycling, can it be re-used or is it actually beautiful enough to keep and collect. We'll keep working on it and keep you posted.
Finally...the best bit
The best part of running our business is that we get to work together every day, quite literally on our dream.
Our HQ in South Wales is where we live and breathe Spectrum with our talented and passionate team, dreaming up new concepts and collections that we absolutely love and hope you do too.
Spectrum Collections is fiercely independent and that's one of the reasons we believe we're very different from other corporate beauty brands. Founded by two sisters and powered by a predominantly female team, we know our way around a makeup brush and what you want in your makeup bag.
So far We've gone from a garage in Barry to a globally recognised beauty brand. Considering neither of us had a clue what we were doing when we started we have done a lot of business since then, proving that if you work hard enough then you can achieve your dreams, we're living, working, real proof of that.
Lots of love,
Sophie and Hannah