Last Thursday I found myself in Ryde on the the Isle of Wight (yes, really), having been invited to a special event to mark the 15th Anniversary of Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish.The last time I was on the Isle of Wight was when I was 10 years old but the seaside town was just as I (vaguely) remembered - both picturesque and peaceful.
What got me to the island!
Prior to the main event in the evening, I was treated to a grand tour of the Liz Earle head office, where I saw the various departments hard at work. I was able to speak to staff members in departments such as marketing and customer service who broke down their job roles and how they contributed to the daily functioning of the company. We even spoke to Liz Earle's resident Botanist, Jennifer Hirsch whose global jaunts to find the best natural ingredients for Liz Earle products left me rather impressed.
I observed the Fulfilment Team hard at work, who are responsible for the beautiful tissue wrapped packaging you receive your Liz Earle products arrive in, when you place an order over the phone or online.
*The team of over 130 staff wrap 1.2 million pieces each Christmas
* An experienced wrapper will easily wrap over 300 pieces a day
*99% of orders are dispatched on the same day
Where the magic happens!
Each row of staff are responsible for wrapping different products
A quick peek at the warehouse
After the first whistle stop tour, we took off in the 'Liz-Mobile' to the Island store on Union Street - a boutique style store (and the first) where customers can relax and receive complimentary hand massages as well as receive helpful advice from staff who are on hand to advise you on products as needed.
Every Friday at 2pm, they serve tea and cake to customers too!
In 1995 Liz and her partner Kim Buckland decided to develop a product range that was pampering yet affordable and could be used by all - no matter what their age or skin type. Determined to use the best possible naturally active ingredients, which inspired the name Naturally Active Skincare they also laid down clear principles which delivered a commitment to quality and service for customers. These principles are put into practise daily in the customer care centre, where hundreds of calls are taken every day from customers both in the UK, elsewhere in Europe and the U.S - many of whom have been supporters from the very beginning.
The product packaging has undergone a few changes over the past 15 years
Two mock shop layouts are also on site to help visualise how products look in stockists such as department store John Lewis.
The weather was gorgeous and provided the perfect setting for the special event that took place in the evening at the beautiful Biskra Beach House and 100 faithful Liz Earle customers were also in attendance to share the happy occasion. From the outset it was obvious just how much Liz Earle and her Naturally Active Skincare is loved by the local.
Liz Earle herself was present and I have to say she's a great advert for her skincare range. She was the picture of health and was positively glowing - making it increasingly hard to believe she recently gave birth and suffers sleepless nights from tending to a newborn. Liz gave a short speech thanking everybody for their support as well as sharing the story behind her best selling product Cleanse & Polish and then mingled with customers and signed copies of her latest book, Skin Secrets.
Just before the evening event began, I was given the chance to meet Liz Earle personally who was more than happy to answer questions (some a little controversial) about the company and its recent partnership with Avon. She came across as genuine, charismatic and stressed she had no intention of relocating Liz Earle away from its home on the Isle of Wight and that Avon would not be changing the brand as its customers know it. It was interesting hearing how the brand began - thanks to a trusty hook up from a friend, with home shopping channel QVC.
View from the steps of the beach house
View of the beach over the wall of the beach house
I had a fun-filled afternoon and evening at Liz Earle HQ and I'm grateful for the access I was given behind the scenes. I love the 'one big happy family' vibe that bounces off the staff and the PR team were the perfect tour guides, who had me in stitches all afternoon. I have a new found respect for the brand having seen how hard the staff work behind the scenes making sure that the service and quality of products that they deliver to customers, is their absolute priority.
Time to go home