A week ago I was invited, along with the
slightly nutty lovely Jane from British Beauty Blogger to the Boots HQ, Boots Plant, Boots World – whatever you want to call it – in Nottingham.
Inside the factory:
A few things before we start –
a. It was really cold
b. I didn’t make my first train
c. I sat opposite the toilet on the train I did manage to get on to and spent the whole journey shutting the door for the incompetent morons who just couldn’t close a toilet door. Hello! I thought we all got told off for that as children?!
But I digress…..
Boots HQ in Nottingham is absolutely massive. There are the offices, the labs, the marketing, customer services, the pharmacy – it’s massive!
I arrived slightly late so missed the talk with Mike Bell, scientific advisor but you can read about this here, on British Beauty Bloggers, er, Blog.
I joined the crew in the Boots Lab, where the scientist types create these products – we actually made a little bath of the famous Protect & Perfect!! Amazing! (this was slowly mixed as we had a look around the labs and was ready to take home once it was evenly stirred…if you like).
We also had a look in the cosmetic section which was very cool – lots of tubes of pigments and glitters, foundation bases and a bin full of ‘near misses’. We looked around another section which had machines where the products are tested for longevity (like extreme heat and being left under light).
Then there was another department that looked after the testing of the products. In the modest room was an array of machines used to test and measure the skin condition – testing springyness, measuring pore size, bacteria, looking at moisture levels (I was the most hydrated – which is weird because I never drink water and always forget to moisturise! Must be hereditary!).
They even have a day ‘spa’ kind of area where people go for the day and test sun cream out for effectiveness.
This is the skin springy test machine:
It was interesting having a go on the machines and seeing how much time Boots spend testing their products on people (a lot of luckily local ladies!).
In the Factory
Before we were allowed into the factory, where the products are made in huge batches and put into packaging we had to don blue bootie things, white coats, hair nets, snoods (hehe), and sanitize our hands! All jewellery also had to come off (I don’t wear any but as you can imagine with a group of girls, it can get complicated…)
On the other side of the huge factory (see the photo at the start of this post!) was this interesting glass dome – there used to be a perfumery underneath.
We were shown around the factory by Wayne in his snood – one of the coolest things was the smells as we walked around….hair removal cream….Aussie….Mouthwash! It’s amazing how we instantly recognised the smells and associated them with specific products.
Boots makes a number of product for other major brands too (like Aussie and Soap & Glory) and also perfumes for some big names! It was interesting to see that they made all kinds of products not just Boots own brand ones.
On the other side of the factory was the conveyer belts! Here the products are packaged – products are squirted into containers, lids are screwed on, products are boxed:
I’ve always had this fantasy about working in a factory line! Indeed, these factory lines are highly organised and people were associated to just one job on the production like (like the lady who had to tighten the lids as they passed through!). Quality control, darling!
There was a lot to take in at the factory, overall it seemed vast, clean, effective and full of beepy cars.
Finally, we made our way to the Archives where we could have a look at the No. 7 brand history. The brand has been around since the 1930s!
Here is a picture from one of their own leaflets (which looked amazing, they should bring them back!).
The left pic is a sample of a “BAD” make up and the right is a “GOOD” make up!
This is some of the 1930s make up. This products caught my eye, it looks AMAZING, so beautiful, possibly one of the most beautiful reds I have ever seen. They should so bring this back as a dual use blush and lip product:
The 70s lipsticks are pure Besame, they should so bring this stuff back!
Boots No 7 Make up has been through so many looks and styles:
Remember these palettes from the 80s? Put your hands up if your mum owned one of these!!!
All in all I had a great day, it was really interesting to see how such a huge organisation like Boots works (even though we only saw a small fraction of what goes on). It was nice being able to see some of the science lab where ideas are conceived, the factory where things are made, the they are tested and of course the history of No. 7.
Also thanks to MC and the Boots team for taking such good care of us on the day (it was cold and we had low sugar levels!).