Caroline Burstein started her first business, Molton Brown, with her then husband - renowned hairdresser Michael Collis - back in 1970. In a city bustling with old-fashioned hair salons and chemical shampoos, her natural, herbal haircare and hairdressing concept was a breath of fresh air.
The business launched on South Molton Street, London, a stone's throw from her parents' fashion retailer, Browns, then only a year old. Together, these bold ventures transformed the street into one of the trendiest spots in town. Rents and rates rose. Then the government introduced a crippling interest hike which hit all of the business' borrowings. Molton Brown found itself in financial hot water.
When the firm went into receivership. Collis bought back the salon, with all the associated debt, while Burstein soldiered on with the Molton Brown range of products. Her labour of love was beginning to pay off: the brand was becoming mainstream and a new business partner helped to inject some stability into the business.
But, in 1993, Burstein faced a crossroads. Her parents, Joan and Sidney Burstein, wanted her to join the family business. Browns was booming, having launched the careers of some of the greatest designers of the era, including John Galliano and Christopher Kane.
Much against her better judgement, Burstein sold the business. A move that she still remembers with shake of the head. The brand recently sold for a healthy £70m - a far cry from the nominal sum that Burstein herself received.
"Life is a journey. You mustn't have regrets," says Burstein. Indeed, she has no time for regret. Today, Burstein is the creative director of thriving fashion business Browns, running the firm (which is still based in South Molton Street, incidentally) alongside her brother and mother.
In this video, Burstein talks through the tale of Molton Brown: the lessons learned, the highs, the lows. And what the future has in store for her at Browns.
Check out this tale of an entrepreneur who has run businesses with her nearest and dearest on a single street for the past four decades.
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