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Speke-based Beautiful Brows and Lashes and its parent company Global Beauty Products found themselves at the centre of fake news over a bill for two orders totalling £107,000.
False information, spread via social media, claimed the payments were for brow treatments received by the Tory minister.
But in fact they were for hand sanitiser, ordered at the start of the pandemic by UK Border Force for staff who desperately needed PPE.
Global Beauty Products director Warren Gavin says no-one was more surprised than him to discover his firm was being linked to Priti Patel’s enormous personal grooming expenses which never existed.
“The whole thing just went mad and suddenly people were saying she’d spent a ridiculous amount on having her eyebrows done which just wasn’t true,” he says.
“Everything we do is totally transparent so it never worried me, I just laughed it off, but it shows how quickly these things can blow up for no reason.”
What really happened was Warren took a phone call in March last year from UK Border Force trying to source hand sanitiser because there was a nationwide shortage.
“We specialise in beauty products and the masks and the sanitiser come hand in hand with that because within the realm of what we do, PPE is always needed,” explains Warren.
“We’d just had some fresh stock in when I got a call from the assistant director for UK Border Force saying they were struggling to get hold of hand sanitiser. He asked how much stock we had and basically said ‘your country needs you!’
“He said they needed as much as they could get because they had none on the borders. We don’t manufacture the gel, but we had the contacts to get it so we were in the right place at the right time. It was as simple as that. We donated £7,000 to Merseyside Police at the start of the pandemic too.”
Warren says UK Border Force placed three or four orders via the website and then asked for them to be sent to around 60 locations around the country.
“We did and that was it, I never thought any more about it until the hashtag #pritipatelseyebrows started appearing everywhere!”
Warren says they’ve been kept very busy over the past 12 months with orders from around the world, not just for their hand sanitiser and masks, but their range of beauty products.
“We’re really lucky because we’ve grown over the last year, we didn’t furlough anybody and we were able to keep working because we’re an international company. We’re a bigger exporter than we are a national seller and the world didn’t shut down for sales – the American salons were still open.”
The company, which has been based at the Matchworks in Speke for the past 10 years, is actually a huge Liverpool success story.
Employing a team of 22, it has developed a range of beauty products which it sells globally and it’s become one of the world market leaders in brow lamination. One of its products has just sold half a million pieces after becoming a massive Tik Tok hit.
“We export to 42 countries and we provided make-up on the last two Wonder Woman movies,” says Warren. “It was picked up by the make-up artist who loved the product and then Gal Gadot said she wanted it so it was used in every scene and every red carpet.”
Warren says, like most people, he’s seen the funny side of the Priti Patel incident. “Some of the memes are great – my pals tell me about them and our team just keep sending me them,” he adds. “The whole thing’s hilarious isn’t it? Imagine spending £77k on beauty treatments – nobody’s lashes are that good!”
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