Kimberley Cattin

Cosmetic Company CEO, North East

Sector: Cosmetics

While working as a professional makeup artist, Kimberley Cattin wanted to create a new eyebrow trend – the fluffy brow. Together with the help of her mum they created Soap Brows and now they run West Barn Co with a whole range of brow and skin prep products.

Where do you call home? 

The North East

Tell us about your role?  

I am the CEO of West Barn Co a company that focuses on creating high quality brow and skin prep products for professional makeup artists. Based in the heart of Durham’s industrial landscape

How did you get to where you are today? 

In August 2016, I was working as a professional make-up artist on an editorial photoshoot for a magazine and wanted to create something completely different to the Instagram brow trend at the time; to create a brushed up, fluffy, natural brow. I was frustrated that none of the brow products I had in my kit would hold the look, and I was inspired by the old Hollywood trick of using soap to keep the brows in place. However, I was extremely reluctant to put hand soap on my client’s faces.

At the same time my mam, Donna had taken an interest in organic skincare and formulation, producing samples for friends and family members delivered in a brown paper bag. I asked her if it was possible to create a product similar to soap but that was suitable to wear on the face, particularly around the eyes. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she set to work formulating a little tin of brow soap that would completely change the game.

Soap Brows® was born and with it came opportunities we didn’t think were possible. While spending all of our money on small aluminium tins and painstakingly hand pouring each product, news of Soap Brows exploded on social media. As it gathered momentum, we knew we needed more hands-on deck. We took on our first member of staff in June 2018, working from a tiny office in my mams house. Orders were being sent out to an ever-growing customer base which included professional make-up artists working on tv and film, red carpet, editorial and fashion shoots. Amazed and inspired by the increasing success of the original Soap Brows, we turned our attention to skin prep. My mam formulated more skincare products that would prove to be just as popular among the pro make-up industry elite.

Today the company ships internationally to 60 countries and our mission has evolved into creating a complete range of exceptional brow and skin prep products that professional make-up artists will choose for their kit every time.

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

I got pregnant with my first child and the company needs meant I was back in work with her in my arms holding meetings after only 5-weeks! The world sees a lot of benefits to being a CEO, but the struggles are also very real! Especially for mothers.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

Moving into our new HQ and seeing how incredible the environment was for the staff. You step back for a second and look around and see how much you are changing people’s lives every day. It was a lightbulb moment seeing how many countries we ship to, as well as being stocked in places like Liberty London, Harrods, Selfridges, Urban outfitters. Seeing it all at the new HQ alongside happy staff with such a unique working environment was a moment which made me very proud.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Don’t get disappointed if it doesn’t work out first time. Each time something doesn’t work out it is a lesson for your future self. Use it as fuel to keep building on your dreams. And don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm. Put in place things that matter to you, that is what will shape your future.

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Wear SPF, double cleanse and don’t fall asleep wearing make up! Don’t be afraid to try different things and if they don’t work out, try something else. Failures are only failures if you don’t learn anything.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Winners’ mentality always!

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