Lucy McPhail, founder and CEO of Fetch Beauty, wasn't always involved in the beauty industry. She started out as a fashion buyer in Dublin before making the big switch. She spent six years working in Dublin before moving to London in 2012 to become an international womenswear buyer at Harrods. After two years in their fashion department, Lucy moved to beauty. Here her remit stretched from some of the largest beauty brands in the world to incubating niche doctor-led brands from concept stage to global launches. It was the integrity and innovation in these niche beauty brands which gave Lucy the idea to launch Fetch Beauty.
Fetch is a content and retail platform for all things luxury beauty. It ships globally and is already home to some of the most innovative niche beauty brands in the world. It's fast becoming a globally recognized platform for leading the way in what’s relevant in skin and beauty innovation.
How did you initially get into fashion buying and was it always a career you wanted to pursue?
Growing up I wanted to be Rachel Green from Friends and she was a buyer – so a career in buying was always in the back of my mind. I didn’t study fashion buying but I worked in retail since I was 18. When I finished my masters I was working in the Arnott’s menswear department where I managed to move into a junior buying role (which I loved).
What is the thing you love most about your job?
The people. To be the best in any industry you need to have buckets of passion, and I’m very lucky to work with some of the best beauty brands and innovators in the world. It’s great to be able to comfortably chat for an hour about the benefits of a gel versus a cream eye product, or the 2018 comeback of the physical exfoliation. I always assume that’s what it’s like to be a man talking about sports.
Did you find it a challenge transitioning from retail shops to e-commerce?
I think the future of retail is online, but I also think the connection of physical retail is still very important. Those who invest in their customers' experience will survive and I think there are exciting ways of doing that without having a permanent bricks-and-mortar store.
Who do you think has the biggest influence on beauty trends nowadays?
Niche beauty brands are the most important influence on the industry from a product innovation and content perspective. Independent brands could never compete with the advertising budgets of the legacy beauty brands, but now they can get worldwide exposure through smart social media and credible local influence.
Have you seen a big increase in Irish women's interest in beauty over the past number of years?
There’s always been a strong interest in beauty in Ireland. Irish women go to great lengths to get their hands on products that are otherwise unavailable, and that shows a thirst for interesting products.
How do you pick products/brands for Fetch Beauty?
Product integrity and exceeding expectations is a must with every product that makes the Fetch Edit. I’m very lucky to have worked with some incredible doctors and industry experts; it’s those people I turn to when seeking out newness and innovation. It’s important that Fetch Beauty remains edited so as not to confuse our customer. It’s about selecting the best and trying not to have duplication with similar product. We also only work with brands who want long-term partnerships and want to see us succeed. We could have 100 brands but that’s not what we’re about. There are countless beauty brands available but we work with the ones that share our core values.
Where do you see Fetch in five years?
Leading the way in niche beauty globally. I hope we have a really cool office too. The dream is to create a brand that people want to work for. Once you have a great team in place, the rest takes care of itself.
Five top beauty picks for summer?
- Patchology Mud Masks – helps to clear out pores.
Supergreens from Perricone MD. Never forget your supplements just because it's summer. These are packed with vitamins to help balance the summer overindulgence.
Hyaloplasma from Perricone MD. This is an incredible gel texture serum and the mother of hyaluronic acid serums. It leaves your skin hydrated and plump and also works wonders if you’ve been exposed to the sun.
Lancer Fluid Sheer Sun Protection SPF30. It's great under make-up and acts like a primer, and it’s got great anti-ageing skincare benefits too.
Alex Carro Exfoliating Powder – helps to unclog blocked pores exacerbated by sweat and makeup. Gives a gorgeous glow.
What products are always in Lucy McPhail's make-up bag?
No Bronzer Bronzer by Perricone MD. Apply it with a brush for a dewy bronzed glow. I’ve only recently started using liquid bronze versus powder and I’ll never go back now.
Lancer Studio Light Concealer in the light shade. This is the best concealer I’ve ever used and it’s got skincare benefits so over time it reduces dark circles.
- Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen in Deeper Shade. Crazy expensive but lasts a weirdly long time.
- Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara. No longer available in the UK so I’ll be stocking up Stateside.
- Glossier Boy Brow. Great product.