Lorraine, please share your daily wellbeing routine with us

My day starts about 5.30am with a cup of green tea and some light stretching. I spend about 15 minutes just reflecting and then spend about ½ hour on my social media and emails. I then shower and get ready for work (I still work full time as a Tax Accountant). I’m loving the Almocado Naturals Pear & Guava shower gel at the moment. The scent just transports me to the Caribbean. I then slather my body with Body Butter and the Etieno moisturiser on my face. This is the thing with black women. We LOVE CREAM.

I leave for the office at 7am. The journey takes just under 2 hours. I tend to listen to webinars or read a book to while away the time and alleviate any stress.  Public transport can be really stressful at times. I get to the office about 8.50 to 9am. I have some porridge made with coconut milk and spice it up with cinnamon and nutmeg. I also take a Vitamin D tablet and 2 x Superfood LX Hair Skin & Nails Tablets. At 11am I have a snack (nuts or fruit) and another green tea.

Lunch varies from Sushi to rice or salads. More fruit and a green smoothie. I TRY HARD to drink 2 litres of water. I fill a large glass bottle with water in the mornings and then aim to finish the bottle by the end of the office day at 5.30pm. I leave the office between 5.30 and 5.45pm and usually get home for 7.30pm. We usually eat around 8pm and then unwind by watching my property programmes. I also use this time to cleanse my face and tend to any @Bar London business, telephone calls, emails etc. Bed by 10.30pm latest!

What are the 3 things in your life that you simply cannot live without?
My mother, daughter and my Samsung Tablet!

What is your favourite beauty/makeup product and why?

My three products are Black Eyeliner, Blusher and Avelia Lip Balm.

How do you manage stress/relax?

I read, listen to music or go for a walk. In fact I tend to put the music on in the background and then read. Most of my ideas come to me when I’m in a relaxed mode, so I tend to keep pen and paper handy.

Wow Beauty is on a mission to remind womankind to take a ‘Wholistic’ view of beauty: mind, body and spirit. Inner beauty = outer beauty. How much credence do you give to this concept?

Until 2015, not much. However, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of June 2015 and truly believe cleaning up my act and looking at what I put on my skin and in my mouth has been of great benefit. The best beauty product in life is your health. If you are not healthy, no matter how much money you have you cannot function day to day, much less look or feel beautiful.

What motivated/inspired you to launch your Brand ‘At Bar’?  

A lack of affordable cosmetics on the UK High Street for the Woman of Colour. Women Of Colour (WOC) have been short changed for a long time when trying to locate cosmetics, hair and beauty products that are formulated for our colouring, hair and skin type.   While the position has improved in recent years and the large cosmetic houses are finally waking up to the fact that WOC are BIG spenders in the hair and beauty industry, we still cannot find everything under one roof. Skincare, bath/body and hair products specifically formulated for WOC with natural curly and kinky hair are so rare on the high street that entrepreneurial WOC have taken to their kitchens and made their own.

@Bar London was formed to provide women of colour a one stop shop for all their brown beauty, hair and cosmetics needs and to support and promote entrepreneurs entering this industry. We do this by giving them the opportunity by way of a platform to showcase their products and services in at an affordable price in a boutique style setting.

The long term goal is to see a nice upmarket venue where women of colour can purchase all their hair and beauty needs under one roof, have their hair washed and styled in under 40 minutes and have a chill out space where they can relax have a nice organic coffee and healthy smoothies and snacks. Hence @Bar-  A beauty bar, coffee bar and a blow-dry bar.

We provide an online presence on the company website, where each entrepreneur will have a profile telling their story and why they have set up their business. Their products are listed and available for online retail purchase.

We are a green beauty store, so all products are handmade, artisan natural. Some are vegan friendly and all are paraben free.

What is the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken that has paid off?

Leaving a job without another job to go to. In effect, going backwards to go forward. I felt that I wasn’t progressing and realising my full potential, so made the decision to leave. However, the move reaped dividends.

Who inspires you and why?

My mother. She has faced a lifetime of difficulties and remains steadfast and independent despite this. I mean she raised 3 children single handedly in the 1970’s when my Dad died suddenly at age 35.

Who are your ‘cheerleaders’ and how important do you think it is for every woman in business to have some?

My mother (again), Hazel Chawapiwa of 2Inspire network and Crystal Kassi of Christal Cosmetics. These women have believed in @Bar London from the very beginning and they are of importance to me, as it’s important to have strong women to inspire, push and motivate you to continue.

Lorraine, what have you learnt about yourself in the last year that has surprised you?

That I am really resilient, determined and committed. A lot tougher than I thought!

Do you think that the various advertising and social media campaigns aimed at greater inclusion (re: ethnicity and women’s bodies) are leading to greater acceptance in society generally?

No, not really.  Women of Colour have taken to making hair, skin and beauty products formulated for their hair and skin type and the big guns are only now starting to take notice as the WOC are no longer purchasing chemically laden products and are embracing all thing natural (hair included) and they are not getting the financial love. For example, Superdrug launched the Superdrug Loves campaign to include affordable foundations and cosmetics for the darker skin in their stores, yet I have personally visited the Hammersmith store where Jamelia did the filming for the campaign, and could not find one foundation or cosmetic range that had any makeup for my dark skin.   L’Oreal claim that we are ALL worth it but sadly I can only find our worth in the big department stores are shelling out big bucks.

Lorraine do you have a favourite quote or book… you know, one that you go back to repeatedly?

Be the change you want to see. I always go back to this and try to make it happen. Thoughts become things is another saying that I go back to. These two and epiphanies create magical moments.


Thank you Lorraine.

Visit the @Bar London website here.