Orders for War Paint make-up bag designed by Cheltenham woman soar thanks to beauty vlogger Zoella


If YouTube sensation Zoella gives her seal of approval for a new product, its success is pretty well guaranteed.

When accessories designer Sarah Curtis sent her War Paint make-up bag to the vlogger, she had no idea whether it would appeal to her.

But when the 25-year-old media star - real name Zoe Sugg - featured the bag as part of one of her videos, the item became the latest beauty must-have.

One of the latest additions to the covetable range of products on Sarah's Lush Stuff online shop, orders started coming in thick and fast from across the world from Zoella fans and fashion followers.

"As soon as I realised Zoella had featured it in her video and people were hunting for it, I was inundated with orders and it hasn't stopped since," said Sarah, who works from her home in Bishop's Cleeve.

Sarah started Lush Stuff three years ago as a bit of a hobby and now it has become a full-time business, with pop-up shops and sales.

Among her most popular products are printed frames, wedding favours and slogan t-shirts, but she also does interior accessories like cushions and storage boxes, as well as scarves, jewellery, stationary, baby clothes and bags.

"About six months ago I designed and printed the War Paint make-up bag and they were a successful product at the pop-up shop," said Sarah, 42.

"A few months ago my sister-in-law Debbie gave me Zoella's address, telling me she was a make-up blogger and that I should send her one.

"I sent one as part of my marketing campaign to push the business and then I forgot about it, but then my web sales for the bag suddenly started going up and emails started coming in from overseas, asking whether I shipped abroad.

"I asked them where they'd heard of it and that's how I found out that it was featured by Zoella in a recent YouTube video.

"Orders have come thick and fast ever since. I'm getting orders from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. One woman even ordered two because she didn't want to miss out."

As well as the video, Zoella has also included a picture of the bag on the home page of her website zoella.co.uk

As a mother of four children aged from four to 18, Sarah has had her work cut out for her building up the business and running it day to day.

"I have been working into the early hours after the children have gone to bed to fulfil orders but now my youngest, Jess, is at school I can do more work during the day," said Sarah, who also has Lily, six, Luke, 16, and Emily, 18.

"Thankfully my very supportive husband, Kev, is very hands on with the girls and the teenagers run themselves."

A former visual merchandiser and shop window designer, Sarah hit upon the idea of creating framed prints of memorable words, picked out in different fonts and colours.

"It started as something I would make as wedding presents for my friends and family but then someone suggested I start producing them as a business and that's how Lush Stuff was born.

"So it's true to say that it started just as a hobby that has grown into a proper business and has gone from being very basic to a much wider range and it is now very busy."

Sarah admits using social media as a showcase for her products has really pushed it and she now has thousands of customers.

"We are doing things at a nice price, not charging too much, so people keep coming back. And the gifts are so personal, much more so than a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates."

But Sarah admits she has to constantly evolve to stay in the game. "Other people start doing the same thing as you, so you have to keep bringing in new things."

Sarah her creative streak from art college and is naturally inspired when it comes to inventing slogans to print on t-shirts, cushions and bags.

"I also have a blog showing people what I'm doing and I get a lot of feedback about that - what paint did you use, how did you make that look like that, and so on.

"When I hold parties for my children I blog it, picturing all my products, so people can see what I have. I think that's just what makes me happy."

At the moment Sarah is still getting used to having so much more time during the day to run the business but she already has more plans in the pipeline.rties for my children I blog it, picturing all my products, so people can see what I have. I think that's just what makes me happy."

"I'm planning another pop-up shop later this month and another before Christmas, as they have been really successful for me," she said.

"We also talked about opening a shop front somewhere locally once the children were all in school as our next step.

"Having four children, running a home and a business means that sometimes it's complete chaos here, but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way."

[By Helen Blow] [Read More] [First image from intwobeauty.com]

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