By Elizabeth King
It’s tough to sugar coat the odds - only 30 per cent of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation. The ones that do often have a rule that if a family member wants to work in a management position, they must hone their skills in a different company.
Sally Desancic needs little introduction to Australia’s leading retailers. Although she founded Core Metrics with husband Ray, for over 30 years she was responsible for introducing some of the world’s most prestigious brands to the Australian market, developing sales and marketing strategies from such tentpole names as D&G, Versace. Givenchy, Nina Ricci, Kenzo and Clarins. Widely known as The Perfume Hunter, she has instilled a “never-ever-give-up” attitude, positivity and passion into her twin daughters, Tijana Desancic and Ivana Lowrey. A clear competitive edge in managing Core Metrics’ rapidly expanding stable of brands.
Family-owned enterprises have many advantages, including a trust factor, and the ability to pursue new opportunities with fewer delays, says Tijana. “Ivana spent more than 10 years running the state sales divisions of two of the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical companies. Managing budgets, forecasting and planning for the domestic markets are second nature to her. I love market research and creating new brands that meet today’s constantly-changing market. But I am also involved in many other parts of the business, including inventory, manufacturing, exports and accounts. We believe in work/life balance, but anyone who takes over a family business has to work harder than anyone just to prove they deserve to be there”.
DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH YEAR-ON-YEAR
There’s no doubt on that score. Core Metrics now has a portfolio of five top-selling brands - C-Lab & Co, The Bronzer, Pure Paw Paw Ointment, The Goat Skincare, Cafe Skin Scrub and launching a 6th in the new year The Baby Goat Skincare - they are considered market leaders in the naturally-based, affordable skincare category. Our brands are stocked by many of the leading pharmacy groups, say Tijana, including Priceline, Terry White, Amcal, Wizard, Guardian and leading independents. “We are posting double digit growth of 15 to 20 per cent year-on-year. We have also increased the number of SKUs by 15 per cent over the past year”.
C-Lab & Co is a shining example of Core Metrics’ overall strategy of filling a gap in the market and making it huge. Launched in 2015, the 100 per cent natural coffee scrub grabbed headlines during the 2016 Oscars ceremony in Hollywood. Selected for inclusion in the famed goodie bags gifted to Academy Award nominees, C-Lab & Co was in the bag given to such major stars as Leonardo di Caprio, Eddie Redmayne and Cate Blanchett. It was a dream come true to get such global recognition, says Tijana, but savvy marketing through social media and digital reach was the main reason such a simple idea turned into such a phenomenon.
PODS CRUCIAL FOR ADDED EDGE
A strategy that works at home and abroad and which boosts the success of all Core Metrics brands. “We always meet the market but look beyond the trends”, says Tijana. “If you don’t make that distinction, all of the retailers start to stock the same products. We approach retailers and talk to them on an individual basis to determine how they can stock on-trend products that are different to what everyone else has on their shelves. We customise offerings to the needs of each retailer - their location, demographics and main age groups”.
The Goat Skincare and C-Lab & Co ranges rank as two of Core Metrics’ biggest-selling brands. “All of our products are authentic and we use natural ingredients as much as possible”, says Tijana. “The Goat Skincare is very much part of the fast-growing therapeutic category and is suitable for all ages and all skin types. The major point-of-difference is the use of sustainable palm oil and fresh, permeate-free, ethically-sourced goat’s milk sourced from a farm in Victoria. Goat’s milk has a pH very close to human skin and helps to relieve the dryness, irritation and itchiness caused by sensitive skin conditions”.
Australian women love paw paw, but Pure Paw Paw Ointment from Core Metrics targets a new, more demanding generation of consumers, says Tijana. “The brand is also one of our biggest sellers and goes several steps further than other brands on the market. Today’s consumers seek out products with solid sustainability credentials and Pure Paw Paw Ointment is made using fresh paw paw fruit from tropical North Queensland and fermented in Victoria. The formula is unique and has achieved cult status with both local and overseas consumers”.
Cafe Skin Scrub also stands out from the crowd by keeping up with the growing sophistication of the natural market. We use Arabica beans roasted to a level called “just cracked”, which retains more of the natural moisture of the coffee bean, says Tijana. “Australians love their coffee and appreciate single source ingredients whether the coffee is in a scrub or a cup. The Bronzer was Core Metrics’ first self-tanning brand and is considered to be one of the original fake tan brands in Australia back in the late 90s. Sustainability, one of the hottest topics in beauty, was a goal from the start. The Gradual Tan, for example, is enriched with goat’s milk and is suitable for sensitive skins. Women worldwide love The Bronzer and it continues to be a best-seller in spite of competition”.
STRONG EXPORT FOCUS / CHINA BIGGEST MARKET
Core Metrics has had a strong export focus for the past three years. Our biggest market is China. This year we are launching across one of China’s largest pharmacy chains says Tijana. “We recently launched C-Lab & Co in the Plaza chain in Japan, which has 70 drugstores and services 80 million customers a year. The EU is also a major growth target, notably France, the UK and Greece. South Americans have a strong preference for natural beauty products and we also recently launched in Chile to gain a foothold”.
Retailers appreciate suppliers who not only care deeply, but who have a strong capability to support their business, says Tijana. “Core Metrics have a strong record in supporting retailers from helping them to select the right products to providing on-going advice and offering customised promotional support. How you market health and beauty products in today’s competitive environment is what makes a product stand out. Core Metrics is an expert in social media reach, collaborates with other brands and key influencers and organises media launches. Today’s consumers, especially Millennials, demand authenticity and an interesting back story and that’s what Core Metrics delivers on a continuous basis”.