KATE MORRIS: ADORE-ABLE BEAUTY FEMME!
We should start by saying, this beauty femme and self-confessed cosmetic queen has our dream job. Going to work everyday with inspirational people, creative tech innovation, international beauty brands (and a never ending supply of OPI nail polish) certainly hits the mark for us and for the Founder and CEO herself, Kate Morris. Having founded her cosmetic empire 15 years ago, Adore Beauty is now one of Australia’s leading online beauty destinations.
Kate’s dream started with a desire to create a safe, informative platform for women to buy cosmetics rather than the intimidating beauty counter. So instead of waiting for someone else to bring it to Australia, Kate took the leap of faith and started it herself – a risk that has certainly paid off.
Adore Beauty is set to celebrate their 15th birthday in April this year, and marking it with a brand spanking new website that features over 5000 products – including a dedicated Organic & Ethical section. We can’t get enough Kate!
Femme Info: Kate Morris Founder of: Adore Beauty Instagram: @kateadorebeauty
WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
I am the Founder and CEO of www.adorebeauty.com.au, Australia’s online beauty store. Business is growing, we’re celebrating our 15th birthday this year, and I get to indulge in my passion for cosmetics everyday – what’s not to love?!
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Growing up in Launceston as a total beauty junkie, I found that so many of the brands and products I coveted were only available in bigger cities or overseas. That, coupled with the fact that many women find department stores intimidating and unhelpful, made me realise an online store was the way to go.
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION / STUDY BACKGROUND?
I studied Law for exactly one week. Hated it. I ended up doing a Bachelor of Business.
WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WOMEN DO TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?
My job didn’t exist when I left school, so there is no way I could have studied for it. The best career advice I can offer is to follow your passion. Do what you love and you will end up in the right place.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS GROWING BUSINESS?
In the beginning, there were practical issues – broadband didn’t exist 15 years ago and so it was a choice of using the phone or the internet!
I didn’t have any money and banks wouldn’t have a bar of me, so had to borrow from friends and family and then try to grow the business with cashflow.
I also faced quite a bit of scepticism and hesitation from brands – in fact at the beginning, all but two said no.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Being awarded the 2010 Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year (Victoria) was a real highlight. Last year I also took out the Business Innovation Award (Victoria) at the Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards; and on a company level, Adore Beauty made the lists for SmartCompany Smart 50, Deloitte Tech Fast 50, and Deloitte Asia Pacific Tech Fast 500 in 2014.
WHAT IS THE BEST BEAUTY PRODUCT YOU’D RECOMMEND?
I have loads! For skincare you can’t go past Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector. About 6 weeks after I started using it, somebody asked me if I’d had work done because my skin looked so good! When it comes to haircare, I love the Cloud Nine Iron, as it only takes about 5 minutes to get a just-had-a-blowdry effect. Lastly for make-up, right now I am loving Benefit Benetint as a cheek stain, and YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat foundation.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT FROM A MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN THE PAST?
One lesson I’ve learnt is not to take rejection personally. Try to fish for more information as to why somebody is saying no – it’s usually timing, branding, nerves or perhaps they’ve got a manager standing in their way. The key is listening.
HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU NOW?
I always thought Adore Beauty was going to work but I didn’t imagine it would take this long. Nobody talks about the hard slog when building your own business. It’s not very glamorous! But it’s good that the industry, as well as customers, are finally recognising that an online beauty store is not a dumb idea! So its great to see they are genuinely excited about it. Our recent growth is really exciting (the last three years in particular) and it’s nice to get awards. It’s a bit of validation is good too.. as when you’re your own boss nobody gives you a performance review!
REFLECTING ON YOUR CAREER TO DATE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING?
I don’t think I’d tell her anything. I think she did alright! There are a lot of mistakes you make when you’re young but that’s okay – every mistake and failure becomes part of the learning experience.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE STRESS / ANXIETY / WORK LIFE BALANCE?
To manage stress, I like to go for a run. I also make sure that I eat healthily and try not to work past 9pm. It’s good to take a break and get my eight hours’ sleep.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU & THE ADORE BEAUTY BUSINESS?
We’re about to launch a major website upgrade which I’m really excited about. It’s a new look, very clean and fresh, and also much easier to navigate; with over 5000 products now, it’s actually quite a challenge to keep things easy to find. There is also a new Organic & Ethical section to help people find products that are vegan, certified organic, or cruelty-free.
WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Tenacious, driven, brave. Someone described me recently as “charming but direct” which I thought was pretty funny.