I hold my hands up and admit that I never realised that the humble tweezer could be sharpened – that is until I recently come across Tweezerfile recently. I have my old faithful tweezer – I have had others but they fell by the wayside. Such a simple idea, and a logical one too – and I caught up with the founder of Tweezerfile, Lucy, to find out more. Welcome Lucy!
Hello! I am Lucy, a mother of two young kids under 5, living in London. I founded the business together with my husband, Wolfgang, over a year ago. We both work full time. I originally trained as a lawyer before moving into finance/business and Wolfgang runs his own design consultancy.
Together, we juggle the competing demands of two full time jobs, two kids and Tweezerfile, which we started over a year ago. I have also recently started a part time course in Climate Transformation at Edinburgh University.
What inspired the founding of Tweezerfile?
Wolfgang and I met over a decade ago. He is a product designer and so design and observing how people use products and how that experience could be improved is very much part of his DNA.
At some point during that time, I found myself before a night out obsessing over a short hair which I couldn’t remove/grip with a pair of fairly old tweezers. It was late at night and there were no chemists open. I would have given up, binned them and bought a new pair the next day but Wolfgang was watching me throughout wondering what I was doing. The idea that I might throw something out which was made of steel was an alien concept to him. His initial thought was… well if you can sharpen knives…. and to be honest, when someone puts it to you like that, there is an obvious light bulb moment.
We googled how to sharpen tweezers and found several million hits and countless magazine articles dedicated to sharpening old/blunt tweezers. We searched and searched for something we could use day-to-day and there was nothing. Every time we spoke to a beautician, they told us the same thing “there used to be this guy who would come and sharpen them… but now, we throw them out and replace them every month”.
This seemed so crazy to us. Such a small thing, but it’s part of a wider narrative of a throw-away culture that is all contributing to the the climate crisis.
The more we researched, the more we realised that any one of the big brands could have come up with this idea and could sell this product but it’s counter-productive to their business models. At one of our first industry events, someone asked us what the point was and how we could make money. The implication being that selling something that people only buy once is a flawed business. Whilst I understand the logic, that is not who we are. We launched Tweezerfile to solve a problem, because no one else had and people were looking for a solution. And as part of that we hoped we could challenge the narrative and help people find better and more sustainable solutions.
To be honest, I never really thought about sharpening my tweezers before – how does it work?
It’s really simple. You hold the Tweezerfile in one hand and then use the other hand to grip the tweezer so that the blades are in contact with either side of the file and then slide up and down slowly. After a couple of strokes, your Tweezer will be good as new. There are lots of “how to” videos on our Instagram page and website if you are stuck.
Probably, a good time to make the point that is also doubles as a pretty amazing nail file. It works incredibly well on gel nails. A close friend swears by it.
I love the colours that the Tweezerfile is available in – the coral and the petrol blue are very “on trend”. Will other colours be introduced in the future?
Absolutely, we plan to launch a whole new colour palette next year as part of next year’s release to coincide with moving all our production to Europe and the launch of new and better materials.
Are your products available to purchase and order worldwide?
Yes, you can buy them on Amazon or on our website www.tweezerfile.com
Have you always wanted a career in the beauty industry or did you have ambitions elsewhere?
Not at all. We came to beauty from law and design and didn’t have any past experience in beauty. We came to it because we saw a problem that hadn’t been solved and thought we could fill that gap and try to challenge the narrative. Looking back, we were pretty naïve. Ultimately, beauty is a multi-billion-pound business dominated by some very large brands. The business model is predicated on rapid and repeat consumption and it is really hard to break through the noise that this generates (and marketing budgets) to support more mindful purchases.
We are one of a number of small independent brands trying to break through, challenging the narrative around what it means to be successful. According to EuroMonitor, every year, the beauty industry produces 120 billion units of packaging.
In 2020, we all know how damaging these materials are for the environment and so reducing waste, helping people make choices which reduce the need to keep buying is the success story.
Eyebrows – over the years different trends have dominated – from being over plucked in the 50s/60s; to being left natural; to being “manicured” and well defined. Mine are natural but my tweezers are in constant use to keep those stray hairs in check. What eyebrow trend do you follow?
I inherited thick natural eyebrows from both sides of my family which is fortunate as I have been pulling them out with my hands since doing my A-levels twenty years ago. At peak stress, I might end up with a Boyzone break on one side and my husband will find me in bed asleep, with one hand gripping an eyebrow. As a result, I spend most of my time working with my beauty therapists to try and grow them out to look more natural and to keep some sort of shape. As a result, I naturally prefer and aspire to a fuller brow, as modelled by Cara Delevigne. https://www.tweezerfile.com/blogs/news/whats-your-brow-personality
Do you have any “tweezers” tips you can share?
Sometimes and not always tweezers come with little plastic nibs to protect the tips. If you get those, keep them, they are like gold dust. Store your tweezers in them between uses, as it protects them from dirt and any other residues they might pick up in your make up bag.
If your tweezers are dirty, just use your Tweezerfile and then blow on the tips, this will remove all the residue and ensures they are as good as new.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Pre-lockdown, I lived in dresses and heels. But for the last 6 months, my wardrobe has mostly featured variations of ripped boyfriend jeans, trainers (Nike, Veja) and plain t-shirts as we have juggled school and nursery runs. I never leave home without a Sonya Kashmiri handbag. I own 5 in different styles and colours to carry me through the seasons. It’s a small independent brand, promoting the use of vegetable tanned leather which is organic and sustainable.
As we approach winter, I have slightly modified my wardrobe to incorporate a Zara pink fluro beanie and a series of woolly jumpers from Margaret Howell and Another Label.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
For every day, I live in Cos but often find myself in Jigsaw for coats. For unique pieces, I love Gather & See. Setting up our own business has made me really appreciate smaller independent brands who are thinking more holistically about supply chains and communities and so I try to shop as consciously as possible, buying things that will last.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I have a couple of shopping carts on the go at the moment. I am desperately hunting for a puffer coat to get through this winter and struggling to find one that is sustainable and that doesn’t drown me – I am 5ft 1. It turns out that I am late to the party as I focused on sorting the kids out and now everything seems to be sold out.
I am also looking for some winter boots and have been eyeing up a pair of Chloe biker boots for ever. Whilst the philosophy is “buy once, buy well”, they are still really expensive, so I’ve never quite checked them out.
Boots or Shoes?
They both bring different associations, it’s like a great haircut.
When I met my husband, we were both living in Paris and I would think nothing of walking the city in stilettos. It seems crazy to me now, a decade and two kids later but I love the memories that heels bring back and so on a night out with my friends, you will often find me in a ridiculous pair of Lucy Choi’s, walking arm and arm and laughing.
For me, boots are all about winter and I love winter. Slouchy boots and woollen dresses and fires and dark nights. This may be my favourite season of the year.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Tweezerfile.
Thank you for chatting to us, Lucy. The simplest ideas are always the best ones! 😊
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Tweezerfile; apart from the last two photographs which are by Linda Hobden.
© 2020, Linda. All rights reserved.