Didn’t I have a lovely time the day I went to The Beauty Exchange?! It was great for a number of reasons, but mainly because I got to see some lovely people who I don’t usually get to see (other than a small square on my screen!) including – Zaga founder of FOM London, Tracey Robinson of Vert PR, Dija from Dija’s World, Nicola from Fresh Therapies and Michelle from NatOrigin (as well as George and Alys from the Diversified Team!)

Emma Jones, who although doesn’t know me is well known to my other half and one of my besties, was a fabulous hostess with great warmth and humour which in many ways made the day for me. Keeping me entertained and holding my attention on a Friday afternoon is quite a challenge, especially when my mind is racing with all those things I have to do “back in the office”. It’s rare that I take a whole day off for events like this but I chose the right one to do so for!

Having pitched to the likes of Marks & Spencer and Selfridges before it was refreshing and encouraging to listen to their accounts of the business, and realise that we are doing everything right in terms of presenting. It was also a real eye opener to watch several young brands do a live pitch to Lily Child, the Buying Manager at Boots. It was fabulous to see that 2 out of 4 of these brands had the natural vibe down – Hannah and Hugh –  a select range of three products that work for babies and all the family, and Tia & Anda all representing the natural products industry, and doing so well! Naturally inspired Bee Good also use a great selection of natural ingredients in their formulas.

I recently met Jane Cunningham (British Beauty Blogger) at a networking dinner where her and Hayley (aka London Beauty Queen) were our charming and witty guest speakers, it was great to see her talk again, this time joined by Sali Hughes of The Guardian and author of Pretty Honest. It’s entertaining hearing what pushes all their wrong buttons; I suggest you don’t call Jane hon or babes, don’t send her anything on festival beauty and never ever check to see if she received that last email!

As if this wasn’t enough, we were treated to two most charming gentlemen – Lopo Champalimaud, CEO & Co-Founder of wahanda.com, and David Randall, Founder of Magnitone. Both these chaps were real inspirations of how to grow and scale businesses on a shoestring, and gave me hope that all this slaving away I am doing on various start up projects will all pay off in the end!

After this beauty-packed day it was fab to unwind with a glass of wine with Zaga (FOM London) and discuss one of these startups I am working on, of which we’ll be sharing news with you after the summer!