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Home / News and Insights / Insights / Lauren Murrell – By Sarah London

In the third article of this new monthly series, Mireille Dagger, beauty lead at BDB Pitmans, speaks with Lauren Murrell, the co-founder of By Sarah London.

If ever there was an inspirational personal story behind a successful business, it is Lauren’s. Months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for leukaemia left Lauren’s skin fragile, sensitive and vulnerable to traditional skincare products. This is where Lauren’s sister, Sarah stepped in to formulate natural skincare to restore Lauren’s skin, as well as being her life-saving stem cell donor. Fast forward to today, the sisters have created a multi award-winning B Corp certified brand that has been featured in Vogue, The Times and is stocked with Sephora. Lauren shared with us her moving story about establishing By Sarah London with her sister, the brand’s mission, and how she has driven the success of the business with her single-minded dedication.

How did you get into what you do?

My journey started 11 years ago whilst recovering from an aggressive form of leukaemia. During that time my sister, Sarah, from her kitchen table and with her existing knowledge in the beauty industry, developed a formulation to help my skin that had been ravaged by months of treatment (that same formulation is now our best-selling Hero Facial Oil).

Having made a full recovery following a lifesaving stem cell transplant from Sarah, I returned to law school and qualified as a lawyer working in London, New York and finally the British Virgin Islands until I was rescued and evacuated following the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

On arriving back in London, I was stoked for a new adventure. I decided to put my legal life behind me and to support Sarah in the creation of her formulations. Since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength – we’re now retailing in Sephora, we’re a certified B-Corporation and have an army of superfans to whom we are very grateful!

What advice would you give to founders at the beginning of their career?

You have to know why you are doing what you’re doing. Sarah and I from the outset were clear on who we wanted to serve; we wanted to help consumers who were looking for natural skincare solutions for stressed, sensitive skin.

My advice would also be to have a trusted support network around you at all times. Circumstances will change, as will your appetite for risk, and with a solid support network, you’re in a much stronger position.

What do you wish you had known whilst growing your business?

Just how long things take – it takes relentless unseen hard work to build momentum and a brand. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you have to push yourself and you have to constantly be willing to learn and to be curious.

As so much is out of your control whilst growing a business, you have to keep faith and keep your spirits high. I strongly believe in the power of manifestation and actually visualising the next step. That is exactly what I did whilst recovering in hospital – I had two posters, one of New York and the other of a place in the Caribbean, I ended up working in both places. It’s of course not enough to just dream, you have to set your intention to get the results you want. A book that really resonates with me is ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington – a line that jumped out for me was “live life as though everything is rigged in your favour” and this idea of thinking: how can you bend reality to make it work for you?

Finally, you don’t know what you don’t know. Things will go wrong and you should ask for help – don’t feel any shame.

What made the biggest impact in scaling your business?

A combination of factors: our unwavering faith in our brand, visualising exactly what we want to achieve, showing up everyday, having each other’s back and last but not least, our superfans who believe in our products!

The key takeaway from the interview with Lauren was, of course, that we could all do with a sister like Sarah. But if a further takeaway, for you, is that you may benefit from legal advice concerning some of the business issues raised in Lauren’s story, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mireille , who will be pleased to have an initial conversation to see where we can help.

You can find out more about Mireille’s legal expertise here and by following her on Instagram at @The_Beauty_Lawyer

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