At the Ecclestone mansion in Bel Air, even the butler is a specimen of perfection. Young, darkhaired, fresh-faced, dressed in a crisp white shirt and beige pants, Jody could be mistaken for a handsome Wall Street hedge-fund manager at a Hamptons house party.
But the Savoy-trained butler’s job these days is caring for Formula 1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone, her entrepreneur husband Jay Rutland and their toddler daughter Sophia, as they jet around the globe. And given Ecclestone’s flourishing luxury haircare line that’s popping up in esteemed boutiques around the world (including Joyce in Hong Kong), the jet-setting is a pretty routine job requirement.
Ecclestone, who lives mostly in London, close to her billionaire father Bernie, is in Los Angeles to launch her line, Show Beauty, at Sephora stores, a deal she describes as “pretty amazing”. On this particular weekday afternoon, her sprawling West Coast pied-à terre is populated by a battalion of staff: nanny, housekeeper, chefs, security guards, publicist, and, of course, Jody the butler, who greets visitors on the steps outside the home and escorts them into an inner sanctum where cups of hot espresso and bottles of chilled Evian are offered.
Platters of pink desserts are set across a bar counter adjacent to a vast contemporary living room, where a black-lacquered grand piano presents a dramatic counterpoint to Sophia’s colourful play area. The many rooms have been given names: the Sapphire Suite was where celebrity hairstylist David Lopez, whose clients include Rihanna, had set himself up to give blowouts to guests.
For a girl whose father’s net worth is close to US$4 billion, whose sister Petra famously bought Candy Spelling’s 57,000-square-foot Holmby Hills home, and who could very easily have done nothing more than swan about the world for the rest of her days, Tamara Ecclestone has commendable ambition. She sits barefoot on a couch in her home, wearing denim shorts and a cream-coloured top, and absent-mindedly waves one of her daughter’s toys, little Sophia coming over every so often for a cuddle. Her daughter, says Ecclestone, has been with her on “God knows how many trains, planes and helicopters since she was born”, accompanying her famous mother on all sorts of work-andsocial excursions, including a recent ad campaign shoot in Morrocco.
Ecclestone is involved in every area of her business: discussing formulations with labs, deciding on product launches, designing the packaging, choosing fragrances. In that, she says, she took the advice of her father, who cautioned her about the failure rate of new brands whose founders leave the running of the business to someone else. Prior to launching her haircare line, she’d been a model, a socialite and a general London “It” girl. So when she told her father she wanted to go into business for herself, he advised her first to “be realistic”.
“I had lots of thoughts about what I wanted to do, but my father said, ‘Ultimately, whatever it is, it has to work.’ So he told me to be involved with it every step of the way. He doesn’t need to get up every morning at six to go to the office any more but he does, because he’s passionate about it. He said to me, ‘It’s got to be your business. Don’t let anyone else run it.’ I didn’t want to just put my name on something. I knew that it had to be something I was proud of. If you have a vision, you need to see it through.”
Having seen the condition of her own hair deteriorate after a few years of modelling, she decided to create a nutrient-rich high-end line that had to look as beautiful as it made the hair feel, so her 11 styling products of various serums, oils and sprays come in rose-gold and black canisters with sparkling cutcrystal-inspired accents.
“A lot of products in the haircare sector come in very basic packaging,” says Ecclestone. “You want to hide it away and not display it. I wanted to create something that looked and felt luxurious.”
She unveiled Show Beauty two years ago in London, and it quickly landed in Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges. It has since expanded to parts of the world such as Dubai, Canada and Italy, and ispegged towards a predictably high-end clientele. At US$85, the Show Beauty hair fragrance (“I wanted it to smell like holidays and crême brulée”) is a signature product, while a limited edition of the pure treatment oil in a container featuring golden Swarovski crystals is $242.
Becoming a mother in the midst of the launch helped her calibrate the line. “I’ve learnt how to balance time with my daughter with photo shoots, travelling, meetings,” says Ecclestone. “I take her with me almost everywhere. To me, my line represents being able to have it all: once you’re a mother, it’s all about speed. Why should anyone spend time doing their hair?”
And she’s working fast to grow her business. She says there are “lots of conversations happening” with potential new partners, including something around a possible children’s haircare line. Next year, she’s rolling out shampoos and conditioners to work alongside the styling range.
“I was always confident that my line would stand out,” says Ecclestone. “I developed it from the ground up. It wasn’t like I modified something that already existed. It was going to be different, and I was confident that it would do great.”