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‘Without well-educated professionals, who continue to learn and develop throughout their careers, business does not thrive and economies do not grow’

With more than 1,100 members and a board consisting of an unrivalled, prestigious group of industry leaders, CEW is the most qualified and experienced voice in UK beauty.

In our 25th anniversary year in the UK, we can look back on our achievements with pride. Our business breakfasts programme, our ongoing engagement with the government, now in its fourth year, and our two superb recognition platforms – CEW Achiever Awards for top talent and CEW Beauty Awards, celebrating excellence and creativity in product and innovation – are unrivalled and go from strength to strength.

While celebrating our anniversary this November at The Dorchester in London and to honour this year’s Achiever Award winners, I reflected the challenges the founding mothers of the beauty industry, Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and Mary Kay, must have faced as women building businesses in what was very much a man’s world.

Words spoken by our dynamic chairwoman Vasiliki Petrou, executive vice president of Unilever Prestige, in her opening speech, really resonated with me: “The next two decades will be the decades of the woman.”

How different it is for women working in beauty now. CEW’s programmes and mentoring initiatives enable both young and experienced beauty professionals to learn and share to become more productive.

CEW champions two key drivers of our vibrant economy – small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and education. Without well-educated professionals, who continue to learn and develop throughout their careers, business does not thrive and economies do not grow.

By definition SMEs are businesses with a turnover of less than £25,000 and fewer than 250 employees. They represent 99 per cent of the UK private sector and probably 99 per cent of the CEW membership. Agile and successful SMEs provide the innovation and creativity that drive the industry forward and make the UK a world leader in beauty. SMEs also thrive through entrepreneurial spirit, commercial expertise and enterprise for which the country is known, and which we will need as we approach a post-Brexit world.

To help further understand the scope and size of the beauty industry and its importance to the UK economy, CEW has commissioned an important piece of research with Mintel, a leading global market intelligence agency. We look forward to sharing this in the coming months as I am positive it will work as an invaluable tool for everybody involved in the beauty industry.
In the last 25 years CEW has grown from a small circle of women into a huge multi-faceted organisation operating in New York, Paris and London, and dedicated to helping female (and male) professionals advance. We are well and truly on our way.

By Caroline Neville, president of CEWUK

CEWUK represents Cosmetic Executive Women in the UK