This week we’ve been chatting to Millie, the Founder of Human Beauty, an inclusive beauty brand championing making cosmetics accessible to all.
I came up with the idea of Human Beauty because I have always been passionate about makeup and inclusivity. As a disabled woman, I know firsthand the challenges of finding products and brands that cater to people with disabilities. Additionally, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to create a brand that was inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. I also saw a need for more representation of diverse bodies and skin tones in the beauty industry. I wanted to create a brand that celebrates and uplifts all forms of beauty, not just the traditional standards that have been perpetuated in the media. With all of these factors in mind, I founded Human Beauty with the mission of creating an inclusive and accessible beauty brand for all.
Making the leap to start Human Beauty was a combination of factors. My studies in digital marketing and my placement year in new product development fueled my passion and ambition. However, it was after my kidney transplant and meeting my mentor Danny Gray that I realized I couldn't wait for the 'right time' to start my own business. With his guidance and support, I took the leap and founded Human Beauty, driven by my desire to create an inclusive and accessible cosmetics brand that celebrates diversity and self-expression.
I find motivation in the belief that I can make a difference. I have a deep passion for my work and a strong desire to create positive change, which helps me stay focused and driven. I also have an incredible support system of family and friends, who provide encouragement and lift me up when I need it. And finally, I try to maintain a positive mindset by focusing on the things that I am grateful for and the things I can control by practising self-care, planning trips away or spending time in nature with friends.
I approach inclusivity from a 360 approach, starting with including disabled influencers into the product development stage, getting feedback right at the beginning of the concept stage, to having accessibility widgets and Alt text on our website. When it comes to brand awareness, we actively seek out and collaborate with individuals and organisations that share our values of inclusivity and diversity. We work with a diverse range of models and influencers to showcase our products with a wide range of people from all walks of life. We also use our social media platforms to promote inclusivity and celebrate diversity in all its forms, ensuring alt text on all our images and subtitles on all of our videos.
Many brands are still treating inclusivity as a trend or marketing tactic rather than a core value, and often fall short in their execution.
What they may be missing is the genuine desire to listen to and understand diverse perspectives and needs, and the willingness to make meaningful changes in their products, marketing, and hiring practices. Brands that are doing well in this area are those that are actively seeking out and engaging with diverse communities, collaborating with a range of creators and influencers, and truly reflecting the diversity of their consumers in their products and campaigns.
One of the biggest highs was during our campaign photoshoot seeing my vision for Human Beauty come to life and connecting with our community of passionate and inclusive beauty lovers. It's incredibly rewarding to hear how our products and messaging have positively impacted people's lives. I also can’t forget being a part of London Fashion week, sitting on a panel of experts discussing designing for the disabled community and walking the runway for an adaptive fashion brand for people of short stature was a pinch me moment.
However, being a disabled founder also comes with its challenges. One of the biggest lows has been the constant need to balance my ambition, health and life balance. Also trying to gain funding in a world where a lot of judges are white middle aged men whereby trying to persuade them of the need of ‘another beauty brand’ has been incredibly tough! It can also be difficult to navigate the competitive landscape of the beauty industry and overcome the barriers faced by small, independent brands. But ultimately, the highs make it all worthwhile, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to build a brand that truly reflects my values and passions.
As someone who's passionate about photography, makeup and live music, my favourite way to unwind outside of work is to grab my camera and snap some shots, experiment with new makeup looks and then dress up to go to gigs with my friends. It's the perfect combination of creativity, self-expression, and socialising that helps me relax and recharge after a long week of work.
I am a huge lover of jewellery. I have a large crystal jewellery collection but my favourite piece of jewellery is definitely a gold chain that has my nans wedding band and my grandads signet ring on it. It's become my lucky charm that I have worn to every job interview, pitch, operation etc. Aside from that I have the most beautiful moonstone silver necklace which I love to wear when I get dressed up.
I think it would be the motto my family and I live by which is “keep on punching” something my great grandad said to my dad when they found out I was diagnosed with Cystinosis. It basically means no matter how many times you get knocked down, dust yourself off and get back up fighting. This is applicable in life but also in business, I have received so many no’s or just being ignored but for every no it just takes me closer to the right yes!
We have lots of exciting things planned in the coming months, Pop-up stores at Lush Bath & Brighton. An influencer event in celebration of Mental Health awareness week with a special announcement! And a soon to be announced new partnership with a major UK retailer…..
Thanks for chatting with us Millie! To keep up with everything she is working on you can find out more about Human Beauty here.