For the last 20 years, Trinny Woodall has worked with women all over the world, helping them to find the most flattering styles for them.
She rose to fame alongside her fashion-stylist counterpart and co-writer Suzanna Constantine as part the noughties TV hit, What Not To Wear. The pair went on to become world famous for their practical fashion advice for ‘real women’, selling millions of books and filming in various countries along the way.
It was travelling the globe as a stylist that inspired Trinny’s next career move. During long trips abroad, she found herself improvising her own personalised make-up kit; attempting to find the perfect tone and consistency; mixing lotions and potions (a stick foundation with a liquid); blending a lip tint with a gloss, and mushing and decanting them into little pots en route.
Back in her home town of London, mum-of-two Trinny set about experimenting, planning and developing formulas using state-of-the-art technology, to pinpoint which make-up truly suited every type of woman; and so TRINNY London was born. Available exclusively online, she went on to develop the unique five-click Match2Me technology: an online survey where each skin tone is matched with eye and hair colour to develop a ‘Tribe’ persona perfect for you. The stackable, interchangeable pots are made up of a foundation, concealer, cheek and lip colours, as well as highlighters, matting balms and beyond, for the ultimate, easy, do-it-everywhere premium make-up kit, right from your fingertips (special wet wipes included).
Using her huge social following, the TV presenter-turned-beauty entrepreneur is beating off the stiff web-based influencer competition from the likes of Zoella and Tanya Burr, and is really making a stir. Armed with her tribe of 65,000 YouTube subscribers and over 370,000 Instagram followers, this 54-year-old has reinvented herself and is striding forward at a pace, into this new make-up realm for the style-conscious yet time-poor woman of today.
This month she is travelling back to where her style journey started: to Manchester for her first ever TRINNY London pop-up at Selfridges, Trafford Centre. The go-to style leader will be on hand to offer up her advice on the best TRINNY London stack for you. Here the ‘say-it-how-it-is’ style master tells The Cheshire Magazine’s Laura Garner more about her journey into the cosmetics industry and what really makes it beautiful.
How did you find the transition from stylist to beauty entrepreneur?
I’ve always had a business background, so even though in my early career I was a television presenter, author and columnist, I still negotiated my contracts, and was business-minded. I have built small businesses in the past and it’s always been something I’ve loved, so becoming a full-time entrepreneur is even more exciting because I can balance my creative juices with my business knowledge, and grow both simultaneously.
Tell us more about the products, the testing and the final cut?
When you develop products the first thing you must do is know, for that price point, that you are using the best ingredients in their class. Deciding the price I was going to sell these products for allowed me to work out the level of sophistication I’d choose in ingredients. The less expensive the products, the more the pigment mixes can look uneven on tones, have no staying power and, generally, just don’t behave well on the skin. By working with excellent manufacturers in Italy, we were able to develop products that are first and foremost, cream-based, a really good mixture of pigment and oil, have staying power and would be incredibly easy for a consumer to use without brushes.
Lots of brands mix science with nature. What is the recipe for the success of TRINNY London products?
We want to use the best ingredients. We might not be organic but we’re very aware of the fundamental things important to our brand and that means being paraben- and cruelty-free. We’re an inclusive brand, so everyone should be able to buy. We’re also part of something called Positive Luxury, which is an association that monitors the excellent efficacy of a brand. Our manufacturers are screened to ensure that they’re using the best practices and ingredients.
The Match2Me seems so brilliantly simple – is that all there is to it when it comes to choosing the right colours for you?
For the consumer, we want to make it as simple as possible. When you click on Match2Me on the website, you answer just a few questions about skin, hair and eye colour and, in a matter of seconds, are prescribed a selection of colours from the brand that best suits you. Most make-up brands are driven by trends, whereas we’re far more led by our consumer and what suits her best. If she wants to be in fashion, she can apply make-up in the most fashionable way, whether that’s a statement lip or a smoky eye, but fundamentally, TRINNY London suits her. That make-up will look like she owns it and not the other way round – you’ll see her face before you see her make-up, instead of her face being masked by colours that don’t sit comfortably on her skin.
Being such a hands-on person, how did you find launching a brand solely online, where people were just IP numbers (and no bulges to jiggle!)?
The initial customer of TRINNY London came from my social media following and, having built that audience over the last four years, I really know these women. This is by building my own community on Instagram and Facebook, where my followers are so engaged, I am able to engage back and build a trust like no other. I may not be able to touch her, but she’s able to open up in a two-way dialogue that takes place on social media. We have 18 Trinny Tribe groups on Facebook globally, and we’re building them up on Instagram – these are women who love what we stand for and feel confident within themselves. It’s a community of women who share their concerns and insights with us and with other women.
Apart from the Match2Me, we also have our site’s own Trinny Tribe, which is a collective of 64 women aged 16+ with an entire array of skin, hair and eye combinations. You can browse their images and, if you see similarities in your own complexion, click on them to find out what they’re wearing.
We've watched your channel and love it; as do we love all of your tutorials that we watch online. Things have changed quite a bit since What Not To Wear. What do you see the future of cosmetics and beauty advice being like?
Shops always have a place as women always want to touch and feel things. Even though we can get things online so quickly, it won’t stop people going into stores, which is why we realised we also wanted to have an in-store presence, and why we’re launching our first ever concept store in Selfridges from 14th-20th October in Manchester Trafford Centre.
Women will always seek the advice of others. In the past it would be friends, then the media became integral, but now I see the evolution of shopping on social media and seeking advice there.
Why Manchester and Selfridges for the first pop-up?
I love Manchester. I filmed many What Not To Wear shows in Manchester and, weirdly, it was where I started my TV career because I filmed a show called Girls Who Shop for Granada. I also love the fact that the further north you go, the more a woman takes care. She really wants to make the best of herself, and that’s something we believe in so much as a brand.
Any advice for someone wanting to launch their own cosmetics brand?
The most important thing if you have an idea is to feel that you’re going to fill a gap in the market. Really think about what your USP is and research the market you are going to sell it to, well. Most importantly, you need to know what consumer you’re talking to. I’ve made over thousands of women, so when developing the product, I always knew what specific woman I was creating for. As I travelled for work, I’d always improvise my own personalised make-up kit in a quest for the perfect tone and consistency. I’d mix a stick foundation with a liquid, blend a lip tint with a gloss... creating mixes of colours and decanting them into pots; and I knew that one day I had to turn this into a business.
Finally, can we be a part of the tribe?
You so can be part of the tribe! On TRINNY London Facebook or Instagram – we’ll be giving you insight into products before anyone else, sharing exclusive videos and you’ll be making new friends with other women who are celebrating the joy and energy of making the best of yourself.
Laura Garner, Fashion Editor
Where can I buy…?
TRINNY London will be popping up in Selfridges Manchester Trafford Centre from 14th-20th October.
Prices start from £18 (Eye2Eye [12 Shades])