Retail Therapy

THE SUCCESS of the five-year- old mail-order company, Cosmetics To Go, can in part be attributed to the close relationship it has with its customers. Their comments - good and bad - appear next to the goods in the teenage comic-style catalogue that is its trademark.

The managing director of Cosmetics To Go is Mark Constantine, an ex-Body Shop supplier, who has brought much the same ethos to his new business. CTG sells own-label, non-animal-tested toiletries to the Body Shop end of the market. The company is entirely ethically correct, giving full lists of ingredients on every package.

It has established a strong, informal rapport with its customers; 400,000 copies of the new 11th edition are currently winging their way around the country. They include not just customer remarks, but also photographs that reflect the company's young age profile. Many comments were responses to 100,000 questionnaires sent out to gauge the success or failure of the goods. An impressive 10 per cent responded.

Mark Constantine explained that criticism would not necessarily mean an item was withdrawn. If it provoked a reaction the company would continue to sell it. 'One of our customers said a soap was 'deplorable', so we went for that.' Sure enough, Wavy Davy ( pounds 3.60), a surreal blue soap in the shape of a dolphin, appears in the latest catalogue with an apology to its detractor.

A similar relationship has developed around the best-selling chocolate bubble bath Saucery ( pounds 4.20, 200ml), which equal numbers of customers love and hate. This also applies to the Knights in White Chocolate solid massage bar, made of cocoa butter and white chocolate which melts on contact with the skin ( pounds 3.10, 35g).

Some original ideas work well, such as a low-activity shampoo for soft water ( pounds 3.50 for 250ml) and a similar product for hard-water areas. The Speciality Skin Protector stick of oils and waxes for extreme conditions has been tested by explorers at the North Pole ( pounds 4.20, 5g).

The Fridge range is an interesting concept of natural and fresh preparations that you literally keep in the fridge. They do not contain preservatives and so have limited shelf lives, typically three to six weeks.

Some products are instant hits, such as the best-selling Bath Bombs, fruit-shaped bath salts that fizz noisily and scent the room ( pounds 3.50).

Buying CTG cosmetics can be hit and miss. Less than inspiring is the Violet Nights range - indeed, Aunty Vi's Cream talc ( pounds 6.50, 200ml) described as 'the height of indulgence . . . light and fluffy' is a ghastly mixture, best described as crude.

For a Cosmetics To Go catalogue, telephone 0800 373 366. Postage and packaging are included in the price for delivery of goods in the UK. For telephone orders, delivery is generally within seven days.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

    High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

    £70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

    Teaching Assistant

    £50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

    Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits