You can have it all but you can’t do it all

Adore Beauty is Australia’s leading beauty e-tailer. I started the business when I was 21 years old, out of a Melbourne garage – these were the days before broadband and before online shopping was commonplace! Working on the cosmetics counter at a department store made me realise that shopping for beauty was intimidating for many women, and I was determined to create a better alternative.

Some of the great features about Adore Beauty include:

  • Free shipping on all orders within Australia
  • Two free samples on purchases over $30
  • Official stockists of all of our brands (meaning genuine stock and fully trained staff)
  • Amazing customer service, including live chat options
  • Over 140 brands and nearly 10 000 products
  • Price-matching
  • A variety of delivery and payment options, including same day in Melbourne
  • Make-up artists, a hair stylist and beauty therapist on staff
  • Ability to be accurately matched to your foundation shade, using

Working in digital means adapting to constant change, and being quick to respond to a landscape that is constantly evolving. As a result, our marketing techniques need to be agile and flexible – we’re always trying new things.

IMG_1671-2375Social media has had a big influence on our marketing – not just in terms of what we’re doing on Instagram, but also using it as a way of listening to our customers and picking up on trends as they happen. For example, in our email marketing we have started highlighting current fashion and beauty trends from social media, and this has received great engagement from our subscribers.  Getting this right means working to very short lead times – you can’t produce trending content 3 months in advance, it literally has to be happening right now.

I think the biggest lesson from working in digital is that the best way to speak to your audience is to first listen to what they have to say.  Having that real-time feedback makes it a very exciting medium.

E-commerce is still a very male-dominated industry, unfortunately. I still have to put up with a fair bit of “mansplaining” from male technology vendors who have less e-commerce experience than I do!  Fortunately on the beauty side of things it’s not as difficult to be taken seriously – the beauty industry has a proud tradition of strong female leaders.

E-commerce is really disrupting the beauty industry, as it’s giving customers an alternative to the traditional department store experience – and so many customers are voting with their wallets, now that they have a choice.  It was very difficult at the beginning to get the brands to warm to the idea of e-commerce, but I think now most recognise that they have to be in the channels where customers want to shop.

Online consumers are very savvy and know exactly what they want. They see all the brands and products that are available overseas and want to be able to access this, at the same price, from their own living room.  They also have high expectations of speed and convenience when it comes to online shopping. We’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years to build the necessary infrastructure to deliver a consistently smooth experience.

It’s an exciting time at Adore Beauty – after 15 years in business we’re experiencing phenomenal growth, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities this presents.  We’re expanding our product range every week, and also personalising the website to help our customers find the perfect products for their concerns.

My top 3 tips for other mums in business:

  1. You can have it all but you can’t do it all. If you are feeling overwhelmed, look at your life as if it were a business and work out what changes are needed, where you can add the most value, and where the bottlenecks are. Personally I’d rather spend time with my daughter than cleaning the bathroom, so I have a cleaner.
  2. Make time for yourself. And actually schedule it in your diary – otherwise it won’t happen.  My weekly treat is going to a movie by myself – no emails, phone calls or demands for 2 whole hours!
  3. Believe that you CAN do it, and find a way to keep getting back up when you get knocked down. There are tough times in any business journey – yes, even for those people who look so successful!  Have a bit of a wallow if you need to, then get back up and keep going.



Kate Morris, Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty talks marketing in the world of eCommerce and gives hints on to balance a family and business.