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Pippa 
        Harman

Pippa Harman

Profession
Co-Founder of Renude
College
London College of Fashion
Person Type
Alumni
Pippa  Harman

Biography

Originally from New Forest, England, Pippa graduated from LCF in 2012 after finishing her BSc Cosmetic Science. After a few years gaining experience in the industry working for many different brands, she is now the co-founder of a new skincare platform: Renude.

Interview

Why did you decide you to pursue a career in cosmetic science?

I’ve been a skincare junkie since I first read The Beauty Bible when I was 14. As soon as I realised that Cosmetic Science was an actual career path — after finding an LCF prospectus at The Clothes Show — I was sold! It perfectly married my naturally scientific brain with my dream to be more creative, alongside my love of all things skincare.

What made you choose the BSc Cosmetic Science at LCF?

I chose to study at LCF as I really only wanted to do the Cosmetic Science course. The fact that it was located near Oxford Street was a huge bonus!

What key skills did you acquire thanks to this course?

"I got invaluable insight into the cosmetics sector through the course and its lecturers. I also learnt about many areas of the industry, including niche disciplines..."

I got invaluable insight into the cosmetics sector through the course and its lecturers. I also learnt about many areas of the industry, including niche disciplines such as claims substantiation and artwork regulations, in addition to all the in-depth modules on formulation, marketing and operations. The course is perfect for getting you prepared for the industry – I have so many friends that did broader courses and really struggled to find a job they were interested in afterwards.

And what did you enjoy the most?

The lecturers and the content. I enjoyed every module and have used it all in some capacity since graduating. I loved the variation of lecturers from the industry too. They’re true experts in their area.

Did you have the opportunity to do any work placements or have industry experience during the course?

Yes! I did my placement year at a company called Reckitt Benckiser, where worked on reformulations for brands like E45 and Bonjela. It was a great experience and it really helped me to grow my confidence.

What’s the best piece of advice you received from your lecturers during your time at LCF?

"Our course leader Ann Emblem was a consistent source of great advice through the years, as were Danka and Gabriela."

Our course leader Ann Emblem was a consistent source of great advice through the years, as were Danka and Gabriela. The best bit of advice was from Ann during my placement year, where I was given a lot of tasks in the analytical chemistry lab, which wasn’t really my area, so she told me I needed to speak to the head of department to see if I could alter my role there. It was intimidating, but she was incredibly supportive and moved me over to a more formulation-based role, where I got to liaise with some of the commercial and regulatory teams, which gave me amazing exposure.

Would you say this was a positive learning experience for you?

It certainly taught me that you should always voice your goals in the work place and confirmed the old saying ‘If you don’t ask you don’t get’. That’s not to say you’ll always get what you’re asking, but you’ve got a far better chance if the right person knows what it is that you’re aiming for.

You graduated in 2012. How did you find the first years after leaving uni?

Right after graduating, I moved to Nottingham to work as a formulator in the labs at Boots. I was working on the No.7 brand mostly, across all types of products – washes, creams, serums, body products. I then moved back to London and started working on the commercial side of product development, bringing some technical know-how with me: first with makeup brand Illamasqua, and then with Beauty Pie, where I was part of the original team to first launch the brand in 2016 alongside Marcia Kilgore – my all-time industry hero.

You’ve recently launched your own business. Can you tell us a bit more about Renude?

Renude is a deep tech platform enabling personalised skin support. We are combining machine learning and clinical expertise to provide the most accurate skincare recommendations on the market. We offer online consultations with licensed skincare experts, who create a tailored step by step routine depending on your unique skin profile. Our mission is to provide a trusted source for personalised advice within an industry which can otherwise be very overwhelming for consumers.

What are the motivations behind this platform?

I had been providing ad hoc skincare recommendations to friends and family for years and had a kind of lightbulb moment when a friend said to me ‘I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you to ask these things’.

I had been providing ad hoc skincare recommendations to friends and family for years and had a kind of lightbulb moment when a friend said to me ‘I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you to ask these things’. This of course got me thinking about what people were doing, and I realised that the options weren’t great. There was nowhere to go for totally unbiased advice from a professional. I started offering skincare plans to validate the market need, which proved popular. When a chance meeting led me to my co-founder Catherine (a data scientist and all-round genius), we started working together to build Renude.

What's the best thing about working in the cosmetic industry?

Trying all the new products! I am a total skincare fiend and love discovering new brands, trying new textures and seeing cool innovations on the market. My new obsession is devices. There is so much cool technology out there, particularly in Korea and the US.

What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in the cosmetics industry?

For someone looking to get into the industry, I would say do this course. I have friends working in regulatory, formulation, product development, marketing and sales. Most of those I know from the course stayed in the industry and there is such a breath of jobs within it, which the course really does prepare you for.

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