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Pixi by Petra: From a kitchen table to a global beauty brand

Pixi by Petra

Pixi by Petra Beauty has long resonated with me as a brand that makes beauty choices fuss-free and accessible to everyone. Its everyday staples are designed to create a naturally radiant look, with multi-tasking ingredients housed in elegant yet practical packaging.  Best known for its legendary Glow Tonic and equally glowing make-up bases, Pixi’s product line-up includes a full range of skincare and make-up to suit every skin type. 

I caught up with founder, Petra Strand, to discuss the challenges and rewards of establishing a brand that has acquired a reputation verging on cult status. 

We love the Pixi ethos of bringing out woman’s natural beauty to look ‘like themselves, only better’… tell us where this evolved from. 

My original beauty inspiration was my Grandmother who had a cafe in Stockholm and worked so hard. She was entrepreneurial and so inspiring… baking for the cafe in her kitchen, always with a perfectly applied touch of lipstick. As a child, her creams and oils always fascinated me and she took great care of her skin (even if she only had 5 minutes).

Looking like the best version of ‘you’ is a strong and powerful thing to me – essentially being happy in your own skin.

It feels like yesterday since your flagship store opened in Soho. You’ve come so far and yet that must have felt like a huge step at the time?

It is 20 years in September – I can’t believe it sometimes – it has been quite the journey! The Pixi store in London is always at the heart of the brand, the place where it all started from. What is so fascinating to me is that every piece of international business has come about because a buyer or somebody went to the store and experienced Pixi ‘at home’.

What was the biggest challenge in establishing your beauty brand?

We are an independent brand and over the years I have had so many people telling me I should do things differently, but I have always been instinctual with Pixi and gone with my gut feeling. There are new challenges every day at every size when you are building any company.

 You have to be a problem solver and really be passionate about what you are doing.

I don’t see challenges – I only see opportunities!

What has been the greatest highlight for you so far?

Oh so many! Opening the two boutiques (one in London and one in LA), launching in Target in US and M&S in the UK – these are stores I grew up with. Now I love coming into one of our Pixi offices and seeing the teams – I’m so proud of what we are achieving together every day!

What do you think makes women choose Pixi Beauty over other brands?

I think Pixi resonates because it is authentic. We are an indie brand with the founding family still actively working every day – and we do what we do best, to create amazing quality products that treat as they make you look your best.

I made a stand to create make up and skincare which were not a compromise in quality versus the high end brands, that were a solid alternative at a really inclusive price point. Flawless in 5 minutes is my motto as sometimes that is exactly how much time we have.

What do you enjoy doing in your downtime? 

I am a Mum of 4 so I really enjoy spending time with the family and I love the chance to relax and centre my thoughts by spending time in nature. My work is really my hobby, I miss it if I go on holiday!

Pixi started (at my kitchen table in SW London) as a hobby,  with a lot of boxes of stock in the hallway that my husband and I would drive to the boutique or Post Office. We used to borrow my son’s desk and computer as office space…  fast forward 20 years and we now have offices in 3 countries  and sell in more than 3000 shops!

I wouldn’t change a thing!

ESTILA Vol 9 Progression

This excerpt is from an interview article first published in ESTILA Vol 9 Progression. To read the full story and many more case studies, you can buy the bookazine here.

Pixi by Petra products are available for purchase directly at pixibeauty.co.uk

Product photography and interview by Nicola McCullough