Charlotte Davis is the Co-Founder of the luxury haircare and cosmectics line, BARDOU. All of the products are made in Britain, are SLS free, cruelty free and has been featured in Grazia, Look and Vogue magazine.
Tell us about your background before you became a businesswoman?
I was previously working in events, with international brands such as FashionTV, MTV and Moet et Chadon. From there I moved into e-commerce and digital marketing. This was a catalyst for my online tech enthusiasm and I became really interested in the online consumer market. I was introduced to Adee Phelan and together we co-founded BARDOU.
We initially launched as a chain of blow-dry bars but we saw a gap in the marketing from my own personal experience of needing beauty services that cater to my hair type and that can function out of work hours. It made sense to create an on-demand, instant beauty brand that caters to all women of all hair types and shades; that are in need of having hair and beauty service that is not only trustworthy and credible but keeps up with their ever-demanding lives and busy schedules.
We created our “hero” products to reflect this, fast-acting products that give instant gratification.
What makes BARDOU different from your competitors?
BARDOU for me was about getting that luxury salon experience at home using products that are born and bred in the UK. Affordable, easy to use luxury hair and beauty products. I wanted to make products that did what they said, long lasting and high quality products that look as good as they feel to use! I worked hard to create a range of products that tackle different concerns for all women.
If you asked me two years before now what I would be doing today, although I have always set my ambitions high, I wouldn’t have said that I would be running my own international beauty brand, with a flagship in Marbella, pop ups in London and a cosmetics product that was being branded a ‘brow revolution’ by UK Press and about to launch on a high-profile shopping channel!
How important is it to you that your products are cruelty-free?
I am a lover of animals, having three dogs myself that I love dearly. I can not imagine any harm coming to any of them or the thought of them having to endure the experiments that animals in labs experience.
There is no real justification for animal testing, especially for cosmetics, when we have so many already classified safe ingredients that we can use in our products.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?
Persevere! Owning your own business means you have to go through so many trials and tribulations but stay committed. The end result is worth it. Also ensure you have the right support around you, it was difficult in the beginning but I am fortunate to have found the perfect team – Our new Director, Sofia Foster has brought on board a wealth of experience.
I also have Shannon who has been in the team since conception and looks after our social media. Lily Fortescue our brand consultant, just to name a few! We have a great ‘behind the scenes’ team and our front of house stylists are just the best and incredibly talented at offering females of London THE perfect hair and beauty services.
Have you experienced any gender bias or discrimination as a businesswoman?
I have been fortunate enough to have not experience any bias directly, however I am very aware it is prevalent and an issue we must work towards daily to eliminate from the business world.
How does the world of business need to progress- what conversations need to be had in the boardroom?
Equality. There is such a stigma around women and how they aren’t equal to men, but I just couldn’t agree less. Women are equal in so many more ways than what is recognised. I have always felt really strongly about allowing younger women in underprivileged backgrounds to have the same opportunities as everyone else. Hence, setting up the BARDOU Foundation aiming to change a woman’s prospects by giving her the tools to work her way towards self-employment and confidence. Debunk the idea that there is a disconnection between strength in a woman and femininity. BARDOU is a very feminine brand, but it is about finding strength in that.
What is your day-to –day life like now?
There is no such thing as an average day. One day I may be at QVC being prepped on their “over the garden fence technique” of being a presenter and the next day I am doing invoice reconciliation and accounts. Running your own business means being prepared to do everything and anything.
What can we look out for in the future from Bardou?
Growth. We are in the process of launching on QVC, we’re working on to expand our international distribution, we have a huge following in the USA. We’re working on adding new products to the beauty line; currently our Booster Brow comes in four different colours to closely match a wide range of hair shades. With a dry shampoo that is a hero product to thousands of women and velcro rollers you can sleep in, the aim is to continue to think about the necessities of a woman’s beauty needs, not the peripherals.
Beauty has always been a personal passion of mine and now I am excited to be able to help women find their own versions of beauty. Also expanding the charitable element to the brand with the BARDOU Foundation, We will be holding an gala dinner, hosted by 10 of the most inspirational women in the UK for “International day of the girl” on October 11.