Bulletin Feature: Charlotte Save ’01 made her home in London and built an impressive career in the beauty industry, which she promotes as a source of confidence for consumers.
Charlotte Save ’01 arrived at Brooks as an international student. Her family is Swedish and she grew up in Antwerp, Belgium, before her father’s work moved the family to the United States and Andover, Massachusetts. Save enjoyed Brooks, especially as a boarding student. “I had a great time,” she says. “I loved my time at Brooks. I loved the independence that boarding allowed. It was a very welcoming community in that way.”
She also speaks highly of the opportunities that Brooks opened up for her after she graduated. She says that, from an academic standpoint, she felt incredibly prepared for her university experience in the United Kingdom.
“I had just lived away from home,” she says. “I was familiar with the style of the classes and the kind of work, since that’s what we had at Brooks, and I was very appreciative of that.”
Save was also able to engage in advanced work in French even beyond the official curriculum at Brooks, a move that she says served her well at university, where she majored in both French and management.
Save is appreciative of many of her teachers at Brooks, including faculty emeriti Skip Perkins ’56, P’81, P’83, GP’14, GP’18 and Michael McCahill.
Except for a year spent in Paris, Save has lived in London since she left Brooks. She received her undergraduate degree at Royal Holloway, University of London and her master’s degree from the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Since then, she has worked her way up the ladder and now heads up marketing for Mugler Fragrances in the U.K. and Ireland, one of L’Oreal’s fastest growing fragrance brands. L’Oreal, meanwhile, is the world’s largest cosmetics company.
Save began her career in a vastly different sphere than where she is now. She worked in financial services, handling public relations for a small company that fell victim to the 2008 economic crash. Then, she landed with a large public relations agency, which represented Proctor and Gamble Beauty. Save credits that tenure with starting her in the beauty industry and with pointing her on her current path.
She eventually landed at Estée Lauder Companies, where she made the move to marketing. She then focused her work on driving the Boots own-brand expansion in Walgreens and developing them as a strong destination beauty retailer in the United States following Walgreens’s acquisition of Boots, the U.K’s largest beauty pharmacy chain.
Save had a global role for Boots, where she relaunched one of its most iconic brands in the United Kingdom (Botanics) in order to prepare it to launch in the United States and other global markets.
Save found career success, she says, but she spent between five and six hours a day on her commute between Nottingham and London. So, she made one final push to land at L’Oreal, where she’s been for six years.
She described her role heading up L’Oreal’s marketing for the Mugler fragrances as a local market role. “Our number one mission is brand awareness and ultimately driving strong brand growth,” she says. Save’s followed her natural interest in beauty to this point.
“I’ve always been passionate about fashion and beauty,” she says. “And I love being part of the industry.”
Save notes that the beauty industry is not as glamorous as it may seem, but she calls it “interesting” and says it’s opened up a lot of opportunities. She speaks excitedly about the forward-thinking aspect of her role: of anticipating what consumers will want to purchase in five, six or seven years.
“I love the side of anticipating, creating and delivering products to market that consumers don’t quite yet know that they’re going to depend on,” Save says. “I’m passionate about the consumer and find this side of the business thrilling.”
The Lipstick Phenomenon
Save notes that, as is usually the case in economic recession, the beauty industry is currently doing very well. The cosmetics market in the U.K. is growing at a double-digit pace despite the recent economic challenges. Save says, “Women sit a little bit taller in the meeting; they enjoy things a little bit more when they feel good about themselves. If you’ve got the right skincare, you’ve bought a new shade of lipstick, you’ve got the right hair products — you exude confidence. And so to work in an industry that allows women to feel better about themselves is really rewarding.” Save likes working in an industry that helps instill confidence in consumers.
“I think what powers me to keep going is the ability to deliver products to market in which I can see the true effect that it might have for women to feel better about themselves, whether it’s in their workplace or at home.”
Finally, Save points to the Look Good, Feel Better program, which L’Oreal is involved in. Look Good, Feel Better is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving the appearance and confidence of people undergoing cancer treatment by providing free beauty treatments and resources. “It’s all about giving back to women and men who have been affected by cancer, who see hair loss, for example,” Save says.
“Again, we drive back confidence through beauty. So that might be helping them find the right shade of lipstick now, or teaching them how to apply false eyelashes or drawing on eyebrows if they’ve lost theirs. The strength that comes from beauty is incredible. It can be perceived as a fickle industry, but as you scratch the surface, we are so much more than that.”