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The Library

Kathleen Baird–Murray

Editor’s Letter

Natalie Massenet, Diane von Furstenberg, Sylvie Chantecaille, Bobbi Brown, Anita Roddick, Emily Weiss, Donna Karan, Charlotte Tilbury, Huda Kattan, Pat McGrath… these are just a few of the inspiring women in the worlds of fashion and beauty who in my lifetime have paved the way for many others to start up new business ventures. And yet, despite the growing number of women at the helm of successful international brands, it’s still far from being an even playing field. I was shocked to read in the Financial Times recently that female-founded companies get less than 1 per cent of total UK venture capital when starting up, compared with the 89 per cent going to male-founded companies.

All of which led us to devote this issue of The Wildsmith Papers to patting those gutsy women who did on the back. Our female founders issue has a particular focus on green issues, because that’s where our heart lies. As someone who grew up seeing “green” makeup brands tucked away with the brown rice and lentils at the back of the wholefoods store, it’s exciting to see an increasing number of cosmetics brands adopting the new technology that enables vegan ingredients and cruelty-free ethics competing with more established, better-funded, non-vegan brands – as Danielle Fox found out.

Looking at sustainability from a 360-degree point of view was the premise for Cassie Steer’s interviews with three green “girl” bosses (I’m loath to use this term which strikes me as mildly pejorative – after all, where are the “boy” bosses? – but am yet to find anything quite as alliteratively satisfying) from very different fields. While it fell to (lucky) me to select our interviewee for the Wildsmith questionnaire, an old friend and the founder of Soaper Duper (among several other beauty brands), the incredible Marcia Kilgore.

What do all these clever, gutsy, fearless women have in common? (Besides being “clever, gutsy and fearless”?) They’re full of surprises – as Julie Hoegh’s excellent selection of books written by or about female founders reveals. They’re also not perfect. But from Peggy Guggenheim’s admission to having had a thousand lovers to Tamara Mellon’s struggles with addiction, their determination, imagination and sheer bloody-mindedness is what shines through. And if you read their stories and want to set the world alight with your own great idea for a new startup, we say, why not? Hope to be writing about you soon.

With love,

Kathleen Baird-Murray

Sustainable Beauty has Come of Age

Paper I Beauty Matters

As a baby, Josephine Fairley loved to create her own natural, home-made skincare; as an adult, she would go on to have a stellar career as a beauty editor in a world of high-tech beauty. But what if these polar opposites could meet?

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Wild Swimming in the UK

Paper I The Wild Side

Ice cold shivers, furry rocks underfoot, nipping minnows… for fans of wild swimming, nothing beats the thrill of leaping into a natural pool. Charlotte Sinclair says it’s time to dip a toe in the water

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Wild at Heart Foundation

Paper I Good Deeds

When society florist Nikki Tibbles embarked on her third dog rescue mission to Puerto Rico, she thought she knew what to expect. But as Fiona Golfar discovers, you’re never quite prepared for the heartbreak and inspiration

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Wild Grass: A Poem

Paper I Wise Words

My love, the red bricks are still here and so is the sense of loneliness. It is strange to think my roots grew here but I ripped them from their beginnings and tried to plant them elsewhere

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Be More… Skye Gyngell

Paper I The Wild One

Real dilemmas; real solutions. From our real-life super-heroes. This issue: Skye Gyngell, head chef at Spring, votes to take her brother-in-law Jeremy on a life raft and safeguards the fish in the ocean

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The Bitterest Pill

Paper II Beauty Matters

Taking a daily dose of supplements to boost your health and wellbeing is good for you, right? Not, it turns out, necessarily. Sharon Walker investigates what we’re really swallowing

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How To Go Off Grid in the City

Paper II How to Live Wild

Going off grid in the city is a really wild way of reducing your carbon footprint, your bills and probably your circle of friends, as all your time will be spent either trying to grow your food or praying for the sun to shine in order to dry your hair. It’s also a brilliant way to ease anxiety because if that rather dicey situation in North Korea or Russia, or indeed anything to do with Donald Trump, ever escalates, you will be apocalypse-ready. Clemmie Hambro tells us how it’s done. Artwork by Michalis Christodoulou.

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Be More... Eric

Paper II The Wild One

Real dilemmas; real solutions. From our real-life super-heroes. This issue: former Royal Ballet Soloist Eric Underwood has a crush on Oprah Winfrey and is thankful for not fitting in

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Back to nature

Paper III Beauty Matters

As the annual beach-body-ready season kicks off in earnest, Christa D’Souza celebrates her decision to have her breast implants removed and finds that for her anyway, natural is best

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Could a Shaman change your life?

Paper III The Wild Side

It’s not just in California that people are starting to regard a visit to a shaman as essential as medical check-ins with a doctor. But beyond taking the pulse of your aura and giving you a supercharged dose of TLC, are there any deeper effects? David Annand goes in search of the modern-day urban shaman to find out

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Be More... Paloma

Paper III The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This issue, just back from her world tour, Paloma Faith uses Tinder in entirely the wrong way and no longer chases idiots.

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@MeditationBob

Paper III Good Deeds

Bob Roth is the world’s most in-demand Transcendental Meditation coach with some 25.7k followers on Instagram, many of them celebrity devotees. He sat at the feet of guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1970s and today he dispenses wisdom to stressed-out, 21st-century souls, including war veterans, British school children and Katy Perry. By Kathleen Baird-Murray

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Be More... Bill

Paper IV The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This issue, leather designer Bill Amberg is murder on the dance floor and a murderer on a life raft.

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Every breath you take

Paper V Beauty Matters

Fancy cutting six months off your life? Breathe our deeply polluted air and you will, according to statistics predicting British city dwellers live six months less than in other parts of the world. Natalie Evans-Harding argues the time has come to take note of air pollution and its effects on our health. So why aren’t we?

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Into the Woods

Paper V Good Deeds

With as many as one in ten children and young people suffering from mental health problems*, it feels like the idyll of childhood has been lost. But, discovers Fiona Golfar, a charity supported by Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex is using nature to help troubled teens heal their fears and anxieties

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Be More... Nancy

Paper V The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. One half of the band Babeheaven (“we’re the best band ever, so cool and so nice”), Nancy Andersen drinks from the Love Island cup and admits to being a bit of a Drake fan from time to time.

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Back-to-school books for grown-ups

Paper V The Wild Side

September always feels like a fresh start. Blank pages, sharp pencils, new shoes – they all point to renewed ambitions, boundless energy, the chance to do better. In the energising spirit of grasping summer’s close as a moment of opportunity, Ellie Pithers suggests eight books to set you on a wild, open-minded course – and all from the safety of a fireside armchair

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Why sleep deprivation is as bad as smoking

Paper VI Beauty Matters

Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity – it seems not getting enough sleep has a lot to answer for. David Annand, who is pretty sure his nightly, six (interrupted) hours isn’t healthy, finds out how much we actually need and, more importantly, how to make sure we get it

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Be More... Jan

Paper VI The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. A model now, a model back then, a model citizen always – American-born Anglophile Jan de Villeneuve believes wishes can come true and just might be related to Spike Lee.

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One step at a time

Paper VI The Wild Side

From a daily constitution to an epic trek, a meander through city streets to a bracing, headland hike, stepping out on foot has a way of bringing you back to yourself. Charlotte Sinclair explores the healing power of the humble walk

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These books will change the way you think about beauty

Paper VII Beauty Matters

Images of beauty bombard us. From the moment we wake up and put on our make-up (as Aretha Franklin so eloquently put it) until we go to bed at night, pictures of painted faces, glossy hair, bodies of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages pop up on Instagram, fill the pages of magazines, beam through our screens, and dress blank spaces in museums and galleries. But how often do we consider beauty from an intellectual point of view? Pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable, and read these excellent books which in different ways, challenge our obsession with physical perfection and pose guilt-free, sometimes complex questions to make us re-evaluate the way we think about beauty.

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Lights, camera, action

Paper VII Good Deeds

#BeMoreMark. Last year cinematographer Mark Milsome was tragically killed while filming in Ghana which threw his wife, daughter and much of the British film industry into mourning. The man who was behind the camera for countless classics, including Game of Thrones and The Theory of Everything, inspired love, laughter and respect, and today a charitable foundation in his name hopes to spread some of his enormous goodwill. Fiona Golfar finds out more.

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Be More... Val

Paper VII The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. World-class make-up artist Val Garland, author of Validated, saves the planet one fleck of glitter at a time and talks to angels. By Kathleen Baird-Murray

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Banking on kindness

Paper VIII Beauty Matters

For many of the 13 million people in the UK living below the poverty line, grooming essentials such as toothpaste, tampons and deodorant have become unreachable luxuries – a fact that catapulted PR Jo Jones and writer Sali Hughes into launching Beauty Banks, a charitable foundation committed to providing hygiene products to the most needy. Here, Jo’s husband, author Dan Jones, describes life at home amidst a sea of donations

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Shaping the landscape

Paper VIII The Wild Side

When the eternal beauty of the natural world embraces the artistry of sculpture, something extraordinary happens. From Bronze Age man’s carved figures on the canvas of the countryside to modern day masters’ sculptural creations in parks around the country, Jo Craven explores the awe-inspiring alchemy of art in nature

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Be more... Sinéad

Paper VIII The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month the Irish writer, academic and advocate Sinéad Burke champions climate justice and dances to the Spice Girls. By Kathleen Baird-Murray

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The Kitchen Prescription

Paper IX Beauty Matters

The research is compelling – from the common cold and depression to life-threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease, what we eat can help us heal. Writer and nutritionist Danielle Fox talks to the experts about what food we should all keep in our 21st-century medicine cabinets

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Be more... Solange

Paper IX The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month jeweller Solange Azagury-Partridge tries her best while setting the dance floor on fire to Grace Jones

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Cut to the chase

Paper IX Good Deeds

How hairdresser Joshua Coombes’ desire to reach out and connect with people living on the streets launched a humanitarian movement with a pair of scissors and a hashtag. David Annand hears the story behind #DoSomethingForNothing

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Why we all need bath time

Paper X Beauty Matters

Ritualised in many countries – the Japanese onsen, Turkish hammam, Russian banya – the benefits of bathing go far beyond getting clean. Charlotte Sinclair explores the body, mind and soul-healing powers of immersing yourself in water

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Be more... Sam McKnight

Paper X The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month, fashion’s favourite hairstylist Sam McKnight is careful what he wishes for, but makes time for Good Times.

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That loving feeling

Paper X The Wild Side

Unfortunately, more often than not Valentine’s Day induces that sinking feeling, not the idealised love bubble presented to us at every turn. But don’t fear, the antidote is nearer than you think – Julie Hoegh goes on a literary quest for self-love

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Skincare 2.0

Paper XI Beauty Matters

Meet the high-tech (and one ancient low-tech) facial tools that promise to boost collagen, reduce puffiness, make wrinkles fade, and even prevent acne and soothe rosacea – all in the comfort of your own home. By Danielle Fox

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As nature intended

Paper XI The Wild Side

Writer and gardening enthusiast Tom Loxley on why we need to embrace biodiversity and start cultivating a healthier planet for all of us to live in – including the pests…

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Be more... Don

Paper XI The Wild One

Real dilemmas; real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month, Don Letts, filmmaker, DJ and former member of Big Audio Dynamite, credits his education to the school of punk rock and wishes he’d said something a bit smarter to Lauren Hutton

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The magic breakfast club

Paper XI Good Deeds

It’s a shocking fact that some half a million children in the UK turn up to school too hungry to learn. When author and campaigner Carmel McConnell came face to face with this in her own London neighbourhood, she knew she had to do something about it. Here, she tells David Annand how, by the end of the year, she will have gone from feeding five schools to over a thousand

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Be more... Bobbi Brown

Paper XII The Wild One

Real dilemmas; real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month, mother-of-three Bobbi Brown, who left her eponymous cosmetics brand after 25 years at the helm and now heads up a wellness brand, a hotel and a website, Justbobbi.com, loves drinking tequila in her spare time and wishes she could eat French fries without calorific consequences…

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The literary cure

Paper XII Wise Words

Need a tonic for a broken heart? Medicine for a numbed mind? Treatment for a soul looking to be renewed? It’s all in the written word. Bookworm Julie Hoegh curates a pharmacy of poems, essays and short stories to remedy your every ill

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Born to be wild

Paper XII The Wild Side

Mass rewilding programmes across the globe are seeing vast tracts of land being returned to their natural state, with indigenous “big five” beasts – from jaguars in Patagonia to red deer in Sussex – spearheading Mother Nature’s rebirth. David Annand explores a brave new world of booming biodiversity

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Mind over moisturiser

Paper XIII Beauty Matters

Is the old adage “beauty is only skin deep” about to be turned on its head? Nicola Moulton examines the intertwined relationship between our mental wellbeing and how we look – and discovers new schools of thought linking a positive frame of mind to healthy, beautiful skin

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When the past is a foreign country

Paper XIII Good Deeds

For people with dementia, the confusion of memory loss can be isolating, painful and deeply dehumanising. Which is why the work of the UK charity My Life Films is proving to be so life-affirming. David Annand looks at how the bespoke celluloid life stories it makes are bringing hope, comfort and solace to those with dementia and their loved ones

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Moving on Up (and Out of Depression)

Paper XIII How to Live Wild

From feeling mildly out of sorts to being consistently laid low, there’s always something you can do to shift your mood and your energy. Kevin Braddock, author of Everything Begins with Asking for Help, shares a few of his favourite tricks to make every day a happier day

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Be more... Kate

Paper XIII The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month, Kate Spicer, journalist and author of Lost Dog, does wonderful things with carrot tops and thanks her dog for the gift of routine and unconditional love

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