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“We’re Leading the Way” – Q&A with Adore Beauty

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By Published On: September 23, 20190 Comments

Adore Beauty is one of the biggest makeup online retailers in the country. We sat down with its Co-Founder and CEO, Kate Morris, to discuss the industry and the new acquisition from Quadrant Growth Fund.

A private equity firm, Quadrant Growth Fund, has acquired 60 per cent of the online beauty store, Adore Beauty. After a year-long search to find the right partner, the brand says that now was the best time to make the deal.

“It’s something that we’ve been thinking about for a while,” Kate Morris, Co-Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty explained. “We certainly had no shortage of investors and trade coming in, and expressing interest – the beauty category is pretty hot right now!”

A New Investment

This is not the first time Adore Beauty has had an interest in equity acquisitions. In 2016, Woolworths bought 25 per cent of the brand, which Kate Morris bought back entirely in 2017. “That was a busy time for us, and we wanted to run our own rates for a little while,” she said.

Since then, Adore Beauty has experienced massive growth, with revenue ‘tripling’ what it was years prior. “Part of what we learned from that experience, having Woolworths as an equity partner, there are a lot of things that are challenging about trying to grow under your own steam and using your own cash flow. I think we really saw that the business has an opportunity to grow exponentially,” Ms Morris explained.

It took a while for Adore Beauty to find the right equity firm to acquire the company. After twelve months of searching, the team found Quadrant Growth Fund, a leading Sydney-based mid-market private equity firm. “For us, it was more about taking the time to find the right partner; to find someone who was going to support our culture and values. That’s a really important part of what has made Adore Beauty what it is.”

The Future for Adore Beauty

The new partnership with Quadrant Growth Fund aims to further push the company towards a space that keeps it at the number one spot in Australia.

“Quadrant has had a lot of experience with businesses at the stage that we’re at now and helping them get to the next level. It’s always good knowing that you’re doing it in partnership with someone who’s done it before and knows all fo the traps and pitfalls. It brings a bit of a different perspective from the 70 other business that they’ve invested in previously,” Ms Morris said. Moreover, the new partnership will accelerate future growth plans within the business.

“When you’re growing under your own steam, there’s this idea where you go ‘Alright, I’ve got this big list of ten things that I know are going to grow the business; I can only afford to do two of them at a time’ – so that can take longer. We believe in the power of ‘and’, and that means we can bring forward all of these things and do them all at the same time.”

Kate Morris’ Proudest Moments

In the last twelve months, Adore Beaty has seen rapid changes. From its introduction of headless commerce and its dive into sustainability, there’s no shortage of amazing things that the company has achieved.

“There’s a lot of things I’m proud of,” she said. “We’ve had a massive warehouse transformation just before Christmas last year, which was incredibly hard. The way the team rolled their sleeves up and go through it, it was like a military manoeuvre. The degree to which we planned and executed that and any wrong step could have been a disaster. But because the team were so committed and so dedicated, we actually managed to pull it off. I’m really proud of our transition towards headless commerce. I feel that our online experience, in terms of the speed, flexibility and functionality of our site – we’re really leading the way, as far as e-commerce goes in this country. That’s really exciting for me. Finally, our site matches up to the picture I’ve always had in my head!”

It’s not just makeup and skincare that sets Adore Beauty apart from the rest. The company recently launched a podcast, Beauty IQ Uncensored, which has already hit #1 on the Apple charts. “This was a brand new thing that we’ve never done before; we didn’t know whether we could do it,” she said. “Now it’s one of the most popular beauty podcast in the country, that’s pretty crazy! That’s one of the most exciting things for me – when the team does amazing things, and you didn’t have to direct them to do it – they’ve just done it. It’s exciting!”

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About the Author: Power Retail

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