WARNING - this is a bit of rant!
I've recently been on a bit of a quest to get my hands on Across the Universe, the beautiful nail polish by Deborah Lippmann. These were 'apparently' available in House of Fraser Apothecary departments throughout the country. However, I have been to House of Frasers in Bath, Bristol, Cardiff (hello - Cardiff is a Capital City) and finally Victoria Street in London before I managed to get my hands on it today. It wasn't available online, so this has been a bit of a mission.
I'm lucky that I work all over the country, so I haven't made a special trip to any of these stores other than the one in Bristol. However, it has made me think about the London-centric attitude of the beauty industry. Admittedly, the availability of products around the country has improved vastly over recent years, and with internet shopping, ladies all over the country can get products delivered to their door. However, so many products are still launched exclusively at London stores before the rest of the nation is allowed to buy them. I mean, can I buy Illamasqua in Bristol? I can't - they don't sell it anywhere, despite having Debenhams, Harvey Nicks, HoF and John Lewis. And how many products are exclusive to Selfridges (especially Chanel)? A lot, and there is no Selfridges near me. Bristol was terrible for shopping before Cabot Circus opened, but it's certainly a lot better now. Before I moved to Bristol, I lived in Brighton which is great for shopping and easy to go for a shopping trip to London as well, and I grew up in London, so I was spoilt for choice then.
As I've said before, I do frequently visit central London for work - it sometimes feel like I commute to London daily - so this doesn't necessarily apply to me. However, I realise that I am very lucky that my work pays for my jaunts to browse high end beauty products. And I should add that I don't take the p**s with work time either - I pop in to Selfridges or Illamasqua or HoF on what would be my lunch break. However, despite Bristol being relatively close to London and quick to get to, it's still extremely expensive to go for a quick shopping trip. You wouldn't pay upwards of £70 in travel/parking to go shopping in your local town centre - you're likely to draw the line at £10 I reckon.
Quite frankly, why should we have to go to London to buy certain products? They should be available everywhere. There are probably plently of beauty addicts living in the Scottish highlands and other remote parts of the nation who are prepared to part with the cash to buy high end cosmetics. It's not an easy thing to hop on a train and travel several hundred miles just to buy a particular lipstick.
I suppose that this is the beauty of blogs and in particular, swatches. Many websites are notoriously unreliable for swatches, so at least seeing other bloggers' experiences and photographs of products allows you to purchase online without being totally blind. Whilst this is great, nothing beats swatching a product in person, particularly when it's very expensive, and I don't want to go to London to do that!
Anyway, if you do live in London, I'm jealous of you having lots of beauty delights on your doorstep - I just think they should be available elsewhere as well. Being a 'proper' Londoner myself, although now in exile, the London-centric nature of things has taken a bit of time to dawn on me, despite working in the retail property industry (hence my frequent visits to London!). Anyway, sorry for my rant! Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Is it because all the beauty companies are based in the big smoke?