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February 1, 2021 31 min

On the heels of Australia’s top 2020 public offering—the largest female-led IPO in that market’s history—Adore Beauty’s CEO, Tennealle O'Shannessy, shares her unique journey of taking a company public in the midst of  a seriously strict Stage Four Lockdown. Already the leading profitable online retailer in their category—with $200 million of fresh IPO powder in the bank, Tennealle provides some insights into their aggressive expansion plans and a sneak-peak into the road ahead.

Founded in in  Melbourne in  2000 (think early internet dial-up days), with a lofty mission to provide empowering and disruptive new shopping experiences to consumers, Kate Morris and James Height built-up a reputation for fast, easy and friendly services. During Tennealle's CEO tenure, she has rebooted the company even further, pushed the boundaries of beauty, and challenged the company to expand to what is now the leading platform with over 230 brands representing 11,000 products.

Being the number one beauty online retailer comes with a lot of pressure to grow and innovate. On The Reboot Chronicles Podcast, we often explore the importance of not just talking to consumers but really listening. This is exactly what Adore has done well, often finding early trends and repetitive patterns in consumer learning, influencing, trying and buying behaviors.  One example, taking an early lead to offer emerging products—such as ingestible skincare supplements—as the beauty category shifts toward the health and wellness space.

Tennealle shares other approaches to grasping consumer interest. They have taken a sustainable yet careful approach, to adapt to consumer behavior and preferences, by analyzing data to create better engagement, education and shopping experiences. The goal is to give consumers what they want because Adore is all about "beauty democracy" and meeting consumer needs.  Identifying how to leverage technology, while creating more natural digital experiences, allows them to improve and personalize core customer experiences.

Tennealle reveals some challenges she has dealt with along the way, and advice for fellow entrepreneurs and indi-brands, to spend time identifying the problem you are solving in the marketplace. Once you figured out this whitespace (gap in the market), identify how you will draw in consumers and how they will resonate with your product. The best thing to do is be transparent on who your brand is for, what you provide, what you stand for, and create an open conversation of your message to consumers—including education.

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