Michelle Roques-O’Neill’s beautiful range of aromatherapy skin care, Pure Alchemy, shot to fame in the beauty world when it got one of the most sought after celebrity fans – Madonna. Celebrity endorsements are gold dust to small, independent companies, but sadly, it wasn’t enough to stop this gem of a range failing to reach its potential, and ultimately ceasing to trade altogether. It’s so rare to find a range that hasn’t sold out to the power players, and therefore keeps its integrity and uniqueness, making it an absolute tragedy that British brand Pure Alchemy is no longer trading. Speaking of British Brands being undone, I heard along the grapevine that one of the reasons that Pout came unstuck was thanks to unscrupulous ordering by a US high street store. Traders often come unstuck on the ‘sale or return’ policies; whereby they agree to take back (and refund) any unsold stock. Our unfriendly store ordered Pout in huge quantities and just as the products approached their sell-by dates, sent the whole lot back. It came as no surprise that the store then launched their own bath, body and make up range, having effectively put the competition out of business. I will say that this is purely rumour, but if there is any truth in it, it just goes to show that sharp practice isn’t confined to city trading and fluffy bubbles and pink gloss can’t disguise disgraceful behaviour.

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