Sarah McCartney

Sarah McCartney – a biog

Sarah McCartney

I’m a writer, perfumer and yoga teacher, and I like sharing what I know.

People usually hire me to run writing workshops or put their words in order. At the moment I’m writing a lot of websites.

But in June I was invited to create a perfume to invoke the scent of a medieval tapestry, The Lady and the Unicorn. You can’t beat a bit of variety.

Between 1996 and 2010 I was editor of the Lush Times, training all Lush’s worldwide writers to use the Lush style, writing labels, shop signs and around 120,000 words a year about fresh, handmade cosmetics. I spoke at marketing and cosmetics industry events about ethics, packaging (avoidance of same), greenwash, natural ingredients and how telling the truth is a really good way to market your products. Lush was such an all-consuming client that I had to wave them a fond farewell in order to do everything else I wanted to, like write books and make scents.


Over the past few years, I’ve had a great time, working for interesting organisations like Afia, Odyssey Network, Lee Jeans, Breast Cancer Care, Sense, Skype, BBC Radio 1, the Royal Geographical Society, SteamCream, Zetetic Business Strategies and the Local Heritage Initiative. Mustn’t grumble, not a bad list.

Higher education work

London Southbank University, London Metropolitan University, University of West London, Hammersmith & West London College and University College Falmouth have been nice enough to invite me over to teach a class or two, and the occasional course.

Life as a scribe

I’m on the managment team at 26, a bright bunch of people which spends its time encouraging better writing in business. Through knowing them, and writing the Lush Times, I was a judge at the 2011 D&AD Awards in Writing for Design.

My first book, The Fake Factor, about brands and their evil twin, the counterfeit, was published in 2005. Online Marketing in 7 Days, for people who can’t avoid it any longer, came out in 2011. 100 Great Branding Ideas was published in January 2012 by Marshall Cavendish Business Books.

The early years…

Before all that, I was school swot at Boldon Comprehensive, Tyne & Wear (where I still hold both the O levels and under 14s long jump records, now unbeatable as my school has been demolished and there’s a carpark where the long jump sandpit was). There I was mostly miserable, but deliriously happy playing sax in the county’s big band at weekends. I did a science degree at Durham then took a job doing maths at an ad agency. Later, in the marketing department of the Guardian and Observer Newspapers I gradually turned into a person who got practical, creative things done, and did a bit of writing. Feeling the need for a bit of intellectual exercise, I did an MA in marketing and corporate strategy at a handy local university, UWT, where, a few decades before, Freddy Mercury studied art, some of the time.

And eventually…

In an ideal world – with a fair wind and a reasonable Lottery win – I’m aiming to set up a creative centre where people can come to think, write, make things, practise yoga and drink decent coffee. You can find the scents at 4160Tuesdays.

My favourite recommendation:

“She’s shit hot. Hire her.” Duncan Ward, Property Lawyer, Cubism Law.