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In Conversation With: Nicky Kinnaird

When Nicky Kinnaird opened Space NK in 1993 she pioneered a beauty movement with her immense dedication to finding the world’s most effective holistic ingredients—whether they’re in the Amazonian rainforest or the vineyards of Napa.

We’re extremely excited that Nicky has selected an assortment of products for Beauty STORY! Keep an eye out here for more about those products (or stop by STORY to try them out in person!), but for now, get to know the amazing woman who put the NK in Space NK!

Tell us about your background. Were you always interested in beauty products?
I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland with a fine fragrance- and skincare-obsessed mother who infused the family home with fabulous aromas, lotions and potions while my father was my tennis sparring partner and instilled a healthy competitive spirit right out of the cradle.

We were very fortunate to have a fabulous holiday home in the Valencian region of Spain where I first really became aware of different cultural approaches to beauty and personal grooming. During our annual sojourns there I learnt the importance of sun protection and developed a healthy interest in the spoils of the local perfumerias and farmacias. From those heady days I became obsessed, pounding the streets the world over for the latest and greatest fountains of youth.

Any daily rituals?
Gym, meditation, product testing and whenever possible a therapeutic soak in my bathtub with essential oils and mood appropriate music—the more senses you can stimulate the better.

Favorite subjects in school?
Spanish and geography—far-flung cultures and landscapes inspire and reshape our thinking.

What’s a fun fact we can’t learn about you from Google?
I will never receive a standing ovation for my cooking.

Favorite London restaurant?
Olivomare on Lower Belgrave Street—Sardinian seafood in a bijoux setting.

If you weren’t a beauty expert you would be?
An architect, I am design obsessive.

Who inspires you?
Original thinkers, people who are at the top of their game and expert at what they do.

Any hidden talents?
A mean tennis serve.

What are you most proud of with Space NK?
Providing a platform for true beauty innovators and being able to introduce them to their target audience.

Tell us about your latest venture, Ancora.
Ancora is a private equity investor that doesn’t feel like a private equity investor. We are seekers. Nurturers. Disruptors. Looking to connect with visionary creators of authentic ideas and brands in the health, beauty and wellness realms. We are on a constant search for authentic health, beauty and wellness brands with a unique voice and a mindful raison d’être.

We work with ambitious entrepreneurs who have tapped into something powerful—an unmet need, an exciting new idea, a different way of thinking. We help grow brands that connect to the consumer in a way that is both timely and timeless.

We bring far more than capital to our companies. We are supportive, collaborative partners. We bring a long-term commitment along with expertise and resources—sales and omni-channel relationships, product innovation, operations and regulatory, training and education, finance, marketing, digital, and so much more. We do not invest in the obvious. We’re in the business of discovering the undiscovered. The brand that that will break new ground, the one that will change the game.

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve been given?
Create the optimum environment for your skin to do what it does best—repair and renew itself.

One item always found in your makeup drawer?
NYDG sunscreen—essential environmental protection no matter where I am on the planet.

You get pitched all the time. What advice would you give a young entrepreneur who wants to pitch a product to a tastemaker like yourself?
Articulate the benefits upfront, demonstrate your expertise and authority. Above all pique my interest with original thinking…

Beauty in six words?
Too often waiting to be discovered.