It’s been a long time coming…..making this website thing happen. Who’d have ever thought that this would be the most difficult part of our journey? But it’s done and now ready to be viewed by all of you. Thank you for taking the time to click our way.
Mortar & Milk is always about feeling at home and special, so we hope you feel the same way here on our little neck of the internet. First things first, if you see something that’s not working, let us know. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will sort it out asap.
Secondly, I want to tell you a little bit about the brands we’ve chosen, and why we chose them. I have a terrible habit of writing novels, so I am going to try to keep this relatively simple. So much easier said than done! In alphabetical order…..
When we wrote our business plan, I created a list of brands that I really wanted to see in our store. They were brands that I loved, and that I knew worked. During the time it’s taken us to get our store open (2 years from the time I started writing the business plan) these were the brands that I wanted….and they said “yes”, which completely blew my mind.
These were our firsts:
Sam Farmer was the first person that said “I believe in you”, and Nick and I are forever grateful to him for getting what we were trying to do, and for saying yes of course you can do this. Always known in the industry as the “nicest man ever”.
de Mamiel was just always there in my head. I have the wonderful luxury to call Annee a dear friend of mine. There was never a question that I wasn’t going to completely call in the friendship favour and say please please please stock with us—even if it took home baked brownies. It was just going to happen in my eyes. We met well before all of this Mortar & Milk business happened and we were sort of love at first sight friends. She is pure magic. If you’ve met her, you know what I mean. She and Chris have been a support system that has been immeasurable. They are amazing and I love them dearly.
There’s not enough room on the page to talk about how I chose Exuviance. It’s our one and only cosmeceutical line and the scientists behind the brand were the same scientists that formulated my favourite brand I used in the my treatment room in California. So, I knew their formulations were spot on…and I wasn’t wrong. The results in the treatment room have been unbelievable. We are able to tackle even the most difficult of skins. But the early story is that I found the distributor, Lorna Bowes with Aesthetic Source, at a trade show and babbled on about what I wanted to do and she just said “go for it”. She and Caroline are literally amazing. Some of our biggest supporters.
One day I sent an email to Claire Vero at Aurelia Probiotics Skincare and gave her my stream of consciousness idea…..thinking oh man she’s going to think I’m nuts. We’d met via email before, and I’d met Hannah Marsh in person, so the knowledge of me existed in her head, but I was taking a serious leap. A new brand with big things ahead, so I was really taking a risk of asking the ask. We met for coffee and she said yes. But it was not just an ok Pam sure we will stock in your store, it was a really genuine and lovely yes and the entire staff has been totally onboard with our concept. Claire’s emails kept me going through all the difficult times. She’s been there, she knows and that meant everything to us.
Tony Sosnik is the founder of Anthony for Men skincare. He was sort of my boss at one time. I managed Anthony in the UK for several years and I absolutely love the brand. I love the idea that there’s a whole new wave of grooming for men. It’s about time. Tony is the pioneer of this and his products have stood the test of time. They work, and I love that. He lives and works in New York but will occasionally visit the UK and on one of those occasions Nick, Tony and I went out to dinner at Andrew Edmunds in Soho (my favourite restaurant) and discussed my ideas for M&M. He listened. He didn’t laugh. He said yes. We had our first mens line. To be honest, I wasn’t really going to give him a choice. I mean….I do make some pretty mean brownies.
I met Rupert and Juliet of Delilah Cosmetics through a dear friend of mine, and we decided that it was really important that we have our first meeting over ice cream and coffee….so, Fortnum and Mason it was. We all bonded over creating a brand and shared stories of our highs and lows. We didn’t know before we walked into the meeting that we would love Rupert and Juliet so much, but it only took moments to realise we were so completely going to work together. They’ve made such a beautiful make up brand, and it is all that I wear.
I met Georgie at Oskia London through my friend Vaishali, and I remember my daughter Jackie and I went for green juice with Georgie and Vaishali and I was a nervous wreck. To be honest, most of those meetings scared me mightily. But we bonded over greens and discussions of being therapists. When Nick and I were in our most frustrated moments, I would-out of the blue-receive and email from Georgie. She reminded me that I could do it and that 2016 was going to be my year. I read her emails over and over, whenever I was feeling like this business would never get off the ground.
Radical Skincare was also always in my head. I loved the fact that it was high-tech that focussed on sensitive skin, but also worked for everyone else. There’s a little bird (obviously a well-connected good friend) that introduced me to some of our brands, and Radical was no different. He introduced me to Emma and Katie, who were with Radical at the time. I then was able to meet with Liz and Rachel on one of their visits to London. We were three California women sharing a table with a British man….poor Nick. We asked, they said yes, and the rest is history.
I would be horribly remiss not to include Dermalux into this list. While it’s not a “product line” that you can take home, it is definitely a very active and effective treatment. I met Louise at a trade show several years ago and she has cheered me on since day one of starting this journey. LED light therapy is go good for the skin, and while I won’t discuss it’s benefits here, please look for our post on light therapy.
Our second choices…I wanted to add in a few more brands, but felt I needed to make these decisions a bit more slowly. I wanted to find the correct core, with no major overlapping, but giving the client great choices.
My daughter found London Beard Company at a market one weekend and grabbed their business card. I stalked them for months to see how they were doing. I wanted to have a real mens focus, not just an afterthought. When we were preparing to sign papers on our location in Fulham, we went to a beauty trade show, and I saw that they would be there. So I hunted them down and gave my spiel in one very long run-on sentence. I still remember the look on their faces. A little shocked, a little confused, a little “who is this crazy American lady”, but they got it in the end. We are so pleased to be a part of their journey as well. Building a business is hard, and I feel like this was a win win for both of us.
Mens Society and Portland England came as a pair. They are sister/brother companies and were introduced to me by a good friend. I first fell in love with their branding, but as I dug deeper I really began to understand the products and the message. There’s a full complement of old school male grooming products, as well as some cool accessories….just for men….which in this world of beauty isn’t as readily available.
Mrs. White’s was all about love at first site. I never expected to bring in so many products, but then I met Lawrence Roullier-White, the brands founder, and I fell completely in love with the brand and everything it stood for. The products are all natural and safe for in home use. We live in a world where we are inundated by harsh products all day long, it’s nice to know that we can clean our homes and our bodies with products that are gentle and natural. So…..we ended up buying into almost the entire line.
Amly Botanicals was a happy accident. We had a visit in our store literally in the first few days or weeks since we opened, and I’m not sure if I loved the ladies more or the Silver Rich Face Mist. Kerry and Lisa are so lovely and have created such a beautiful face mist. I am not, I repeat I am not a face misty kind of gal, but I love love love this one. I spend an enormous time in the treatment room and when I come out, one of the first things I do is spray my face with the mist. Gorgeousness.
Nubyen Lip Gloss came to us via my friend Katie. She introduced me to her friend Lola, the brands founder. Lola is a bundle of joy and is trying to create big beautiful lips naturally – I love that. She and I hit it off immediately and her personality is infectious. We were lucky to hold their launch party and it was an absolute success. She is such a generous woman with her heart and I want nothing but the biggest success for her.
Lastly, at least for now, is Aromatherapy Associates and The Refinery. I have these lucky little connections all over the beauty industry and these brands come via one of those connections. We are all about the Mind/Body connection and yet we really didn’t have a huge body selection. Our goals is to never massively overdo one thing (ie skincare, mens skincare, make up, etc), so it has to fit and work in order for us to bring it in. It was a no brainer on our part that Aromatherapy Associates would blend into our store so beautifully. Also, I’ve loved The Refinery for mens skincare for a longtime, so it was lucky for us that we could bring them in together.
There are new brands to come, but not as an overlap. We want to complete the picture, so watch out for newness as we approach Christmas and New Years.
I just want to say how lucky we are to have these brands. They’ve helped us grow, and we hope to do the same for them. We also hope you really like our selection. It’s purposeful and selected incredibly carefully. We get a lot of brands submitting products to us to try, and while they are all lovely, only the ones that meet a certain criteria actually make it into the store. We are the little engine that could…trying to make a big difference in the lives of others.