COSMETICS TO GO 1987 - 1994
The founders of Constantine and Weir set up Cosmetics to go (CTG) as a mail order business. This was their baby, they lavished all their money and attention on it and it was very successful. Rowena remembers it to be such a pleasure, but also very complicated.
They launched a sale catalogue and had enough products to last for the month of the sale, but it was so popular it sold out in 2 days. The calls were coming into the order line all day long and although the staff normally had time to open the post orders too, they couldn't cope with the five big sacks of mail that were arriving every day. Liz had to employ agency staff to work through the night to deal with the post. Then the switchboard for the telephone orders crashed because there were too many calls to deal with. The final disaster struck when the computer system crashed. Many people had to wait for their products for a few weeks.
The next catalogue came out at Christmas, but there weren't enough orders because customers were worried they may not get their gifts in time for Christmas. The company was put into administration, as it was considered to be a company worth saving. The team tried to get funds together to do a management buy-out but were unsuccessful. The company was sold to Jeff Brown who had been creating fragrances for the CTG products. He took the product formulas, as well as the 'Cosmetics to Go' name.
The team had to find other jobs because Liz, Mark and Mo had mortgages to pay on 29 High Street and the factory. Mark was offered a Body Shop directorship, but declined as he felt this was going backwards. Liz did some management consultancy work; Ro took up her hobbies like hot air ballooning and photography (she had interviews with Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson, but on Mark's suggestion, would not work for someone for less then 1500 pounds). Paul Greaves got a good job in the Health Service, and Helen was offered a job by Marks and Spencer's but turned it down as she did not want to move her children to a new school.
They all ended up back at 29 High Street to see what they could do. What they were good at was making cosmetics, so they looked around to see what they could find. Some soap flakes, some essential oils. Ro also cleared the place of anything they did not need and sold it so they could have teas and coffees together. She also maxed all her credit cards so she could buy paints and varnishes to revamp the shop floor and furniture.