Makeup guru Charlotte Tilbury's company is sold for a fortune

She is the woman who gave Kate Moss her cat eye trademark, who bottled the golden glow of supermodel Gisele Bündchen and who transformed A-listeners and ordinary people alike.

And now the flame-haired make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury is well on the way to becoming richer than many of her Hollywood clients.

After a year of talks, the 47-year-old make-up artist is about to approach a deal for the sale of her eponymous beauty brand.

With rumors that it could cost up to £ 1bn and prospects, including reports from Unilever and a well-known beauty brand, a deal could result in Charlotte – which is listed as a "person with significant control" over the brand's parent, Islestarr – Investments – on track for a payday of up to £ 500m.

Make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury was the woman who gave Kate Moss her trademark for cat's eye

It would be quite a coup for the woman who calls herself a "hippie in killer heels" and models herself as a British Estee Lauder (a brand that was once said to be interested in buying Charlotte Tilbury).

From Hollywood friends and a penchant for the supernatural to an unconventional upbringing and very strong views on cosmetics, BETH HALE looks behind Charlotte Tilbury's perfectly painted exterior. . .

A most bohemian upbringing

You could say that Charlotte was born into the world of celebrities.

Her parents, Lance and Patsy, were the original distinguished hippies: he an artist, she a producer, who met at a full moon party on the Balearic island of Formentera and later decided to settle on the neighboring island of Ibiza.

Charlotte was born in the UK, but moved to the White Island at the age of only nine months. There was no telephone and electricity at times, but a lot of glamor.

She remembers hanging out with her little sister Leah in the pool of the Ku Club – which was then called the wildest club in the world – while her parents played through the night when Grace Jones or James Brown appeared.

Charlotte Tilbury's parents, Lance and Patsy, were the original distinguished hippies: he is an artist, she was a producer

Charlotte Tilbury's parents, Lance and Patsy, were the original distinguished hippies: he is an artist, she was a producer

When it got too late, the girls simply fell asleep in the car.

“We grew up with a lot of creative people in the film, fashion and music industries. I didn't really know who they were half the time, "she said.

“I remember running around with Freddie Mercury. Laurence Olivier was always in the bar. "

Young Charlotte attended a local school where she was apparently taught astrophysics by a man named Ra, and did homework on telepathy.

The boarding school in the UK waved at the age of 13, but during the holidays the teenagers worldview was shaped by pool parties with the rolling stones and drinks with supermodels, artists and hippies.

No wonder she says about her childhood: "I still miss it – wild with complete freedom."


Mother Patsy taught Charlotte that "lipstick is instant glamor". But it was a mascara wand brush that really got the ball rolling.

Charlotte had never worn makeup before going to boarding school, and mascara was a revelation to a fair-skinned, pale-whipped teenager.

"I suddenly became more popular overnight. Everyone from 17 to 70 on the island reacted to me so differently. I realized that makeup was my secret weapon. "

She says she knows that even then she would have her own brand.

Her first job was to support Princess Diana's make-up artist Mary Greenwell, a friend of the family that Charlotte met at the age of 11 on the beach in Ibiza.

After training at the Glauca Rossi School of Make-Up in London, she joined Greenwell behind the scenes of the fashion shows of the 90s.

It was a jet set launch. "I remember going backstage for the first time on a runway show and every single supermodel was in one room: Claudia, Christy, Naomi, Cindy, Stephanie, Linda and Helena," she said. "It was intimidating, but also breathtaking."

After working hard for a photo agency, Charlotte's rise was stratospheric, working for Vogue, Vanity Fair, poster campaigns, and red carpet events.

In the end, she gave up reporting on Paris Fashion Week because she was in conflict with the Oscars, for which Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman are on her dazzling customer list.

The make-up artist had to reject the Paris fashion week because she contradicted the Oscars, for which Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman are on her customer list

The make-up artist had to reject the Paris fashion week because she contradicted the Oscars, for which Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman are on her customer list

She then became creative director for the beauty brand Helena Rubinstein, created lipstick lines for Armani and Alexander McQueen and the first cosmetic line for Tom Ford.

Finally, in 2013 she founded her own brand, Charlotte Tilbury. Helena Bonham Carter, Jasmine Guinness and Cara Delevingne were among the guests at their opening event in Selfridges, and women lined up around the block to get their hands on their products.

There were similar scenes when it launched in the U.S. and Amsterdam, and the brand is now available in 76 countries.

In 2017, U.S. venture capital firm Sequoia bought a minority stake in the company, while other supporters were photographer Mario Testino and model Stella Tennant.

Sales rose to £ 145m in 2018. This is evident from the recent reports submitted to Companies House, despite a £ 2.1 million pre-tax loss.

However, it was clear from the accounts that the company has since launched in Space NK and Sephora stores in Europe and started trading with Tmall, China's counterpart to Amazon.

Charlotte's career was marked by her complete conviction of her own abilities.

"I've always driven, so I knew I would be successful," she said. "I am the only make-up artist I know was the cover of the September issue of US Vogue, UK Vogue and French Vogue in the same year."


Charlotte has long lived in exclusive Notting Hill in West London and lives with her husband, film producer George Waud (53) and ten-year-old sons Flynn and five-year-old Valentine.

The couple married in 2014, the same year their divorce from actor Charles Forbes was completed after eight years of marriage. Charlotte has since said that they have realized that they are better friends than lovers.

The secret cream that the stars love

If there's a Charlotte Tilbury product that women love, it's their best-selling Magic Cream (£ 75 for 50 ml).

Inspired by her artist father's focus on priming a canvas, she first lashed the moisturizer onto the skin of fashion show models in the nineties. The backstage scream "Get me the secret cream" soon spread.

When it came to building their own brand, Magic Cream – with camellia oil, rose hip oil, bionymph peptides and hyaluronic acid – was the first product to be developed.

It was sold out in six minutes during its launch in North America, and a brand says a glass is sold every two minutes.

Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream costs £ 75 for 50 ml

Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream costs £ 75 for 50 ml

It was something of a whirlwind; In a single year, she divorced, remarried, had her second child, and founded Charlotte Tilbury in America.

In fact, her busy schedule was so busy that her wedding – which ended at 1 a.m. in the trendy London restaurant Chiltern Firehouse – was only four days before her due date.

For a woman who thinks midnight is an early night, it might not come as a surprise that she was back at work a few weeks after birth – baby in tow.

Last year, she injected £ 18.5 million on a five-story property in Notting Hill and an adjacent £ 3.8 million apartment, and submitted plans to join the two properties to create a mega-townhouse with a five-bedroom wine cellar . Three changing rooms, a yoga studio and a separate outbuilding for your employees.

Staff is needed if you work and play as hard as Charlotte, who still spends the summer in Ibiza. They are referred to as the "dream team" and include a management assistant and a personal assistant – one of whom she usually wakes up – a nanny and a housekeeper.

Her sister Leah is Charlotte Tilburys Director of Brand Creative, while her niece Sofia is a brand ambassador, make-up artist and product and content creator.

According to her own statements, Charlotte is not a house goddess, but she is proud of her cocktails.

Her favorites are a raspberry rascal (champagne, crushed raspberries and vodka) or a "thin bitch" (vodka, soda, lemon). "I'm a bit of a 24 hour girl. It's never boring with me."


Charlotte – who calls everyone "darling" – may be more A-List than some of her customers.

She has been one of Kate Moss's best friends since they met at a shoot over 20 years ago, and the model is godmother to both of Charlotte's sons. Kate was a guest at Charlotte's first Ibiza wedding in 2006, which included Jade Jagger. And no awards for guessing who made up Kate for her 2011 wedding with rocker Jamie Hince.

Charlotte also worked with Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Victoria Beckham to name a few, and made Amal Clooney's makeup when she married George in 2014. J.K. Rowling is another customer and seems to have been inspired by Charlotte's own looks in recent years and to dye her hair in a similar shade of red.

J.K. Rowling is another customer and seems to have been inspired by Charlotte's own looks in recent years and to dye her hair in a similar shade of red

J.K. Rowling is another customer and seems to have been inspired by Charlotte's own looks in recent years and to dye her hair in a similar shade of red

Charlotte's Hot Lips lipstick colors are named after the women who inspire them – including Amal (Amazing Amal), Rowling (JK Magic), Kylie Minogue (Dancefloor Princess) and Susan Sarandon (Red Hot Susan). It is not difficult to imagine that there is a discreet struggle between stars that hopes to win such an honor.

However, an actress was less impressed when she found that a product had been given its name. Brooke Shields took legal action against the company last year when it discovered that an eyebrow pencil was named BrookeS. The company denied any wrongdoing, a judge dismissed part of the case, and it was later resolved.


The titian-haired Charlotte always looks very good. She was wearing full makeup and a black negligee to give birth, and her motto is "smoky eyes until you die".

It's no wonder that she receives two cabbage pencils and one and a half wands of mascara every month.

Unlike the beauty convention, she even wears makeup in bed (which must mess up with the satin pillowcases she swears to stop wrinkles).

She claims that, on her mother's advice to keep the secret alive, no man had ever seen her without cosmetics. She locks her bathroom door every night as she removes her makeup, then reapplies her eyeliner and mascara before entering the bedroom.

She once apologized that she didn't want to look at him after the birth of her firstborn ("too squeamish") until she showered, washed her face, and applied her make-up again.

Charlotte is a fan of the little black dress and has 250 in her closet, but occasionally tries on the color. She has more than 300 pairs of heels and says the only apartments she owns are a pair of rubber boots that she can wear to festivals. She claims exercise is "boring" and claims that high heels "give you the best ass".

However, she has other ways to stay healthy.

She once climbed Machu Picchu in Peru – of course in full make-up – to have her crystals blessed, and advises clairvoyants and follows astrology and tarot.

She also takes homeopathic drops and vitamin C and uses acupuncture and a healer in LA – although she says she still loves a full English breakfast.

Blessed with a lot of confidence, she insists that she never feels insecure about the beautiful women she works with.

"I'm crazy about beautiful women and crazy about women who make the best of themselves," she said.

"As Helena Rubinstein said:" There are no ugly women – just lazy ones ".


What is Charlotte's formula for business success? To literally give your customers a formula.

From the beginning, the brand's selling point was to give women a look and give instructions on how to do it.

There is a library with ten looks. Do you want to bring out your inner Kate Moss? Try the rock chick.

Do you prefer something shiny? Try the Golden Goddess or the Vintage Vamp.

For £ 165, you can buy any product to complete the look, with step-by-step instructions.

The cosmetics guru has improved her brand by using the power of social media to tell her fans how they can look like their Hollywood customers.

She has 3.5 million Instagram followers and her "cat movie" tutorial on YouTube has been viewed 5.7 million times.

As you know, 50 percent of women in the UK don't do makeup. "It's crazy – they have that weapon in their arsenal and they don't use it."

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