Revitalising the Beauty Wholesale Industry

Sam Freedman, co-founder of Curate Beauty, tells us a bit about building her business, what's hot in the beauty category and how she winds down after a long day.

Hi Sam, thank you for chatting with us. Tell us a little bit about Curate Beauty. Curate Beauty launched in February 2020 and is designed to cater to independents - both on the retail and brand side. We work with over 180 retailers to provide them with the very best indie beauty, grooming and wellness brands, for them to stock in their retail stores, fitness studios, beauty salons and/or boutiques! 

What sorts of brands are on the platform? We have over 160 brands on the platform covering all categories from skincare and haircare, supplements and candles, makeup and accessories. Simply any business that wants to add an element of beauty or wellness can do so with the help of our platform! 

Tell us how you and your partner came to start Curate Beauty. I previously worked as a beauty editor, writing for magazines like Grazia, Stylist and Tatler, before I started Curate Beauty. 

I saw the explosion of all these indie beauty brands come to market, but when i spoke to their founders i quickly discovered that they all needed to boost their distribution in order to grow, so i wanted to start a company providing them with more retail opportunities.

To do that, I first became a consultant and buyer for retailers looking to add an element of beauty. I would recommend brands that complemented theirs and do the buying for them. But I quickly discovered that the wholesale model hadn’t had a makeover in a really long time, and in order to grow the company I needed to digitise the process. 

So my partner and I launched Curate Beauty, a wholesale marketplace platform specialising in independent beauty brands. One platform for retailers to simply browse and buy the very best niche brands. We are the first in Europe to specialise in this category and that all stems from my experience and background! 

Tell us about a trend you’ve seen gain a lot of traction.

We work really hard to curate the brands on our site and we have seen an amazing uplift in conscious and give back brands. In order for retailers to find what they’re looking for faster we’ve created Curated Collections -w hich are trending and topical categories in beauty. We created a Philanthropic Collection to highlight all of the amazing brands with give-back initiatives, and it has been one of our most popular collections to date, with over 100% more clicks in the last two months. We also work mainly with eco-conscious, carbon neutral brands that are conscious of their waste, materials and ingredients. Highlighting these in their own collections has been amazing to really grab retailers’ attention. 

Who supports or inspires you?

My dad acted as an amazing mentor to both Margot (my partner) and I at the start of the business, but he sadly passed away just before the website officially launched very tragically in an unexpected accident, in October 2019. Although I know I will never have him there to ask questions to, I know I need to make it a huge success to make him proud, so he is definitely my inspiration.

In terms of support we joined an accelerator program during the first lockdown with Huckletree for Beauty Tech entrepreneurs and we met and discovered some great founders. They are a fantastic group of females who we both often turn to for advice or to share exciting business news, they’ve been a brilliant backbone for us! 

What’s next for Curate Beauty?

Our aim is to accelerate our site in so many ways! We have big plans for a new site rebuild that will make the whole buying process even more seamless, for both retailers and brands. We have used our current MVP to create a buzz and to see the demand and now we want to deck it out with all the features that we know will be so useful in making our marketplace a success. 

We also hope to expand beyond the UK into Europe, Asia and maybe even the US over the next five years! 

And lastly, tell us a bit about you.

If I would describe myself in three words they’d be: positive, hard-working and passionate.

I think to have your own business you need to love what you do , and I really do love what I do. I love being the matchmaker, pairing brands with retailers and I think that in order to succeed and wake up everyday to do one thing, you really need to love it! 

Apart from having a huge love of business and beauty I also love family time, we’re getting a puppy very soon (a maltipoo!) which will be so exciting and make our family bond even stronger. I also love to travel (although that’s sort of been on the back burner since Covid!) and I find a great release in working out to R&B and dance playlists. I am currently signed up to @bodybyciara a workout group on Instagram that is just £15 and provides SERIOUSLY great pilates, hiit, amrap workouts - the best after a long day!

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