Sophie Pycroft and Hannah Pycroft: Spectrum Collections

Spectrum has lit up Instagram with its shimmering make-up brushes which stand out for their sustainability as well as their kaleidoscopic pizzazz

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Sophie Pycroft, 30 and Hannah Pycroft, 28
Company: Spectrum Collections

“Bold, beautiful makeup brushes for total mer-babes.”

This is Spectrum Collections’ elevator pitch and it’s proved remarkably successful since the company launched five years ago, yielding sales of £12m and a collaboration with Disney, as well as a loyal legion of celebrity devotees.

Founded in Wales by sisters Hannah and Sophie Pycroft, the company specialises in makeup brushes which offer shimmering colour-bursts perfect for Instagram. Indeed Spectrum’s designs have lit up the social media site, picked up by the stars and makeup artists of TV shows such as TOWIE, Geordie Shore and Hollyoaks.

Hailing in Barry, the setting for Gavin and Stacey, the Pycrofts got their idea while on holiday with their parents. Seeing a gap in the market for trend-led beauty products, they set up shop in Sophie’s garage and spent a year researching and sampling before going to market in 2013.

The product is specifically designed to stand out from the dull, dark makeup brushes which dominate the high street. Spectrum’s colours explode with zesty pizzazz, perfect for women who want to make an impression (although the founders say plenty of men like their products as well).

Hannah and Sophie are all about care and compassion too : the brushes are made using synthetic hair, more animal-friendly than many market rivals, and the brand is registered with PETA.

The sisters say they keep getting emails from private investors, but add that “we’re not interested, we don’t have an exit plan.” Although they could have scaled more quickly with outside investment, they prefer to keep full control of the business rather than have “an outsider questioning our decisions as businesswomen.”

Nonetheless, the next few months could bring real lift-off. Spectrum is launching in Boots, and the Pycrofts say they’re hoping to establish a couple of stand-alone stores. Plans are also afoot for international expansion, with the founders eyeing a slice of the uber-competitive US market.

As the business grows, the competition will get ever more fierce, and more unforgiving. But, no matter what happens, the Pycrofts are going to enjoy the ride.

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