Spotlight on entrepreneurs: The Spectrum Sisters

We love an inspiring story about how hard work can pay off and that’s why we have chosen to tell you all about entrepreneurs, Sophie and Hannah Pycroft. The owners of Spectrum Brushes.

If you are into makeup then you will know or have heard of Spectrum Brushes – they make cruelty and vegan free, colourful makeup brushes that not only look good but are practical for those in the makeup industry. Sisters Sophie and Hannah Pycroft started the business in 2005 from Sophie’s garage in Barry Island, Wales.

What started as a small start-up company, founded by two sisters, has rapidly grown to a global brand worth £12 million! The question is: How did they get there?

Dreams to reality

Hannah has spoken to many media channels about Spectrum’s success and explained that pre-2005 there weren’t many job opportunities in Wales, with it being such a small area of the UK. She and her sister wanted to start a business and knew it had to be beauty or fashion related because that’s what they knew. Initially, they wanted to start a clothing line but quickly released this wouldn’t be a good idea with a lack of investment funds, so they looked into makeup brushes after noticing there weren’t any on the market that they liked.

Makeup brushes were traditionally bland, black brushes that were for practical use only. Sophie and Hannah’s market research confirmed this and so they created created Spectrum Brushes.

Sophie and Hannah worked tirelessly out of Sophie’s small garage for a couple of years, doing everything they could as a small business with zero employees. They took all the product photos themselves, set up the website and continued to print and fulfill orders daily. The girls didn’t pay themselves a salary as they were focused on the business and putting every bit of their savings into it because not only did they believe in themselves but their product too.

Their big break came when they released a ‘Brush Kit’ named the ‘Glam Clam’ – this featured a clam shell shaped cross-body bag in which you can store your makeup brushes that also came with it. This was perfect for women on the go as well as makeup artists – it wasn’t just a plain bag, it had character and more importantly, colour. The bag was loosely based on ‘The Little Mermaid’ and it saw sales reach an all time high. From the launch of this collection, the ladies have gone on to become social media stars, promoting their latest collections and even collaborating with global brands such as Mean Girls, Hello Kitty, Frida Khalo, Netflix and of course, Disney!!

Social media has played a huge part in their success with collections going viral! Their brushes sell on Amazon, ASOS and Look Fantastic as well as in stores such as Boots. The business is going from strength to strength and is projected to grow more in 2022.

The Pycroft Sisters are adamant about spreading a good message when selling their products, for example the brushes are vegan and cruelty free. The packaging in Boot’s stores is biodegradable, showing that not all brushes and packaging needs to be made from bamboo to show it is vegan!

Spectrum are hoping to continue growing and have set a goal for the next three years to have their own stand alone stores as well as expanding their international client base.

Hannah in particular has been very vocal about offering advice to those who want to start their own business and has said; “There is nothing that beats the freedom of creating your own business and product.”

If these girl bosses don’t inspire you, then I don’t know what will!

Have a gander at Spectrum’s newest collection and remember, to stay inspired!

Posted by Abbie Holcroft, Community & Services Assistant, Headspace Manchester 

Image courtesy of Spectrum Collections