After spending two decades as a sought-after celebrity make-up artist, British-born Charlotte Tilbury launched her beauty brand in 2013 and found immediate success; her Magic Cream sold out at Selfridges in London in hours.  Since then, some of her collections have achieved cult status around the world; a Pillow Talk product is sold every two seconds.

In 2020, Spanish fashion and beauty conglomerate Puig acquired Charlotte Tilbury in a deal worth a reported $1 billion. Tilbury stayed on in a prime leadership position and is as busy as ever. On April 30, Tilbury launched her new fragrance line, Collection of Emotions, six scents housed in elaborate jewel-colored glass bottles and designed to elicit a range of positive human emotions. The fragrances are inspired by the Spanish island of Ibiza where Tilbury grew up. Here, she talks with CEW about her business and getting into the fragrance category.

CEW: What led you to create this collection?

CT: For me, this has always been my vision, but it was just a few years ago that we started on it. Everything in life is about timing. I found the right noses with IFF (International Flavors and Fragrance) and they had the right technology, the Scentcube algorithm. It is the result of more than 40 years of research amounting to five billion data points collected from tens of thousands of people around the world about how various fragrances light up different parts of the brain and elicit different emotions. I didn’t want this fragrance line to just be about marketing. I needed it to be based on science.

CEW: How did you use IFF Scentcube data to create the scents?

CT: In development we kept in mind that our sense of smell is directly connected to the brain. I personally love scents like patchouli, frankincense, and palo santo, which are all a part of my childhood wandering around at the hippie markets in Ibiza.  Each bottle is meant to convey a different human mood – love, happiness, calm, sex, energy, empowerment, happiness. If you look at our scent Magic Energy in the collection, top notes are bergamot and myrtle, and we have frankincense and palo santo in there too, and it’s meant to make you feel energized and positive. I spray it around me before a meeting.

CEW: Is the idea for each scent in the collection to do something different?

CT: There are so many different facets of our personality that need to feel different emotions. Sometimes we want to feel serene and calm. Other times, you want to feel energy. In aromatherapy, rose oil has always been used to help a woman’s hormones, and it is associated with love and warmth, and that’s why it is in our Love Frequency scent. I want everyone to be able to experience them, so even though the full-size fragrances are $150 each, you can get a miniature set of six and try them all for $30. We’re already looking at expanding the line and going into ancillary products.

CEW: Given your track record of creating products that become huge best-sellers, the bar must be set pretty high for this launch?

CT:  I look at products like Magic Cream and it has a huge following. We’ve done amazing things with the company, and broken so many records, not just in the U.S. and Europe but in China. I put the pressure on myself. I just want to give customers what they need, or what they don’t know they need yet. Or they don’t know how amazing something can be. I’m always thinking 10, 20 years ahead. I have crazy ideas and people say, ‘oh, that could never be done.’ Well, maybe it could never be done today. It might take 20 years. It might take two. This perfume was based on 40 years of research. We are here at the right time. Sometimes you get lucky.

CEW: What were some of the biggest hurdles you had to overcome as you built your brand?

CT: When I started, everyone said, ‘why are you bothering? There are five companies that rule this world and it’s an over saturated market.’ But I knew there was a massive white space for products that were easy to use, choose, and buy. I wanted to demystify makeup, to decode it.

CEW: If someone wanted to start a brand today, what would you say to them?

CT: I would share my biggest mantra in life, which is ‘dare to dream it, dare to believe it, and dare to do it’. I’m a big believer in creative visualization. The winning mindset is that life is all about confidence. We live in a world where people like to tell us all the time that we can’t do things. They like to limit us. But we just have to put our best foot forward, work really hard, and those visions we see will come true.

CEW: What next on your list of accomplishments?

CT: There is so much more to do. We have more amazing things coming out in skin care. We just expanded our Pillow Talk line. It’s universally flattering, for people 18 to 80, it’s fresh and pretty. As long as I can keep on innovating, I’m happy.