A young Kirkby woman has set up her own cosmetics company with her debut beauty product being used by some of the UK’s top make-up artists.
Not only that, Charley Cox has customers ordering her coveted Brow Soap from all over the world, with one salon in Germany regularly stocking the product after it was first launched two years ago.
But the 20-year-old had no idea how much her business, Charlotte Grant Cosmetics, would ‘blow up’ and had planned to study at university as a veterinary surgeon.
Charley told the ECHO : “I just can’t believe how much it’s blown up, I’m getting orders from all over the world, America, Australia, Germany, Norway, it’s just mad.
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“I first launched the product in August 2019 after about a year of going over ideas and experimenting with different ingredients. I approached The Princes Trust and they helped me to set up the business which I named after my mother’s maiden name.
“I was due to apply to Liverpool University that year, and I just didn’t want to commit to seven years studying a veterinary degree. I really wanted to see if I could make my idea a reality. So I decided that I was going to take a year out to see how my small business and sales would go.”
The Brow Soap is designed to enhance your natural eyebrows by fluffing them up and holding them in place.
Charley, who turns 21 next month, explained how she came up with the idea on one of her modelling shoots.
She said: “At the time, I was at Runshaw College, I was also working in a chippy and at a vets. But I was always doing extra and modelling work.
“I found that eyebrow gels would flake off during a shoot and no other products worked to keep my brows in place. Then I thought, why not try soap and I was surprised how well it worked. I used to apply it through my brows and it would harden.
“But people were like you can’t bring a bar of soap to every shoot and that’s when I thought of sticking it in a tin with some cute packaging and actually inventing a beauty product you could use every day.”
Charley found that a translucent soap worked really well and set about inventing and testing different formulas to make the Brow Soap, which is vegan and cruelty-free, and all handmade from her home office in Kirkby.
“I hand pour the soap into the tins and usually do a big batch once a week, but usually have to make more as more orders come in.
“You use the product by wetting the soap with water or a setting spray, applying it to the eyebrows with a spoolie, pressing your finger down over your brow to set the hairs and then leaving it to dry.”
Her invention has caught the attention of some influential make-up artists including Gary Thompson, also known as The Plastic Boy, Danny Defreitas, Lexi May and Megan Marsh, who have a combined Instagram following of more than 600,000 people.
Last year, Charley even donated her brow soaps to frontline workers across the wards in Aintree, Ormskirk and Southport hospital to say thank you for all the work they are doing.
In the last couple of years, she has also released other products including lip masks and castor oil.
However her latest product, natural-coloured false lashes – which come in brown, blond and ginger – are going down a storm, so much so, they have already sold out.
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She added: “The translucent and brown brow soap is our bestseller, but I only launched the natural-coloured brows a few days ago and I’ve already sold out the stock I had in for the launch.
“As a redhead, I always struggle to find make-up that caters for ginger-haired people with fair skin. When I wear false lashes they always look dramatic because they are black, so I thought why not do them in different colours.”
All Charley’s products are also created with the environment in mind and she offers biodegradable lash trays with lash boxes free from plastic and fully recyclable. You can browse all Charlotte Grant Cosmetics products here.
Charley, who was a pupil at St Bede’s High School in Ormskirk, is now working on an exciting new product range.
She said: “I’m now focusing on bringing out a new skincare range, CG Skin, so that’s in the pipeline at the moment.
“With going into lockdown and no one going out, I thought sales would take a hit, but I couldn’t predict this. Right at the beginning, sales just went through the roof. It’s just crazy to think how your life can just change. This is more than I could have imagined.”