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Why the Adore Beauty co-founder brought in a helping hand


Sept. 28, 2020

Morris, who remains as executive director of the business she founded in 1999 when she was 21, has an instinctive knack for getting the right people on board.
"One thing I've learnt in the last 20 years is the importance of investing in great talent."
O'Shannessy had an impressive list of attributes and Morris says she has ''deep expertise'' in strategy, business operations, leadership and business transformation.
"She has a values-led approach with an emphasis on integrity and trust, which is entirely consistent with our culture."
Morris says the pandemic has accelerated Adore Beauty's growth in a big way, but there's plenty to do in cementing that growth pathway.
"Our revenue growth has really escalated over the last few years, but there are still very strong opportunities ahead of us."
With travel and fine dining off the agenda, consumers still want to treat themselves in a small way. Extra business also stems from mask-wearing to stop the spread of the virus: sales are up for mask sanitiser spray and skincare products for pimples and flare-ups.
It is a well-worn cliche across the corporate sector, but Morris says keeping customers happy is central to the DNA of the company. "Our customer is at the centre of everything we do,'' Morris says.
Adore Beauty had a growth spurt in the national lockdowns of March and April.
"We certainly experienced an increase in new customers and a spike in existing customer sales as COVID-19 restrictions were put in place across the country."
But as restrictions eased in states like Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia those elevated levels of growth have remained.
"At this point, sales across these states have remained significantly higher than pre-COVID levels."
Building momentum
Sales in July and August were strong, but she declines to put a percentage figure on the gains. New customer gains are robust.
"We've continued to welcome new customers to Adore Beauty throughout July and August at higher than pre-COVID levels. We've also seen a sustained level of increased orders from existing customers.
"This had led to strong sales growth in July and August, with August exceeding the prior month.
"So far, we're also seeing September shaping up well."
People want to look their best for Zoom meetings, and do-it-yourself products are very popular. Homecare devices, used for treatments like micro-dermabrasion, are gathering momentum.
Adore Beauty is also expecting a solid lead-up to the Christmas period, as buying of candles, bath products and fragrances for gift-giving accelerates.
But the core business doesn't depend on seasonal spikes.
"Historically our business hasn't been all that seasonal from a gifting perspective. Most of our customers are buying skincare, haircare and makeup for themselves,'' she says.
But the big structural shift to online channels across the retail sector may spill over into a busier time than normal. "It's shaping up to be an interesting Christmas period,'' Morris says.
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