By Elisabeth King
Family-owned businesses are the world’s dominant form of business organisation and account for 70 per cent of all businesses in Australia. The transfer of a business from one generation to the next can be fraught with difficulties without appropriate planning, or can be an opportunity for innovative and strategic development. It’s the latter scenario in the case of Chemcorp International, one of Australia’s leading manufacturers and distributors of professional and consumer beauty, health and wellness brands.
Founded by John Fisher as a one-man operation 30 years ago, the Sydney-based company now serves thousands of retailers in Australia and New Zealand and has built a thriving export business with a portfolio of market-leading brands. Business experts advise anyone transitioning their business to start planning five to 10 years out. But John started a lot earlier than that to expose his daughter, Jodie Phillips, to the Chemcorp business before she took over the role of General Manager just over a year ago. She started to learn about the family business, its values and the way it deals with suppliers and staff through work experience during her school holidays.
Jodie officially joined Chemcorp in 2002 as a warehouse assistant. “To understand the DNA of any business, you have to know the basics. For the first 12 months, I worked in the warehouse packing orders and learning the ropes. The position of Administration Assistant came up and I became involved in invoicing, data entry and customer service. At this time, the business was expanding rapidly with double digit growth year-on-year. We had one person looking after the import/export side of the business alongside my father, but as this role became shared across two people, I began to work more closely with my father; officially becoming his Executive Assistant, which meant sharing an office with him for more than five years”.
Working at the heart of the business allowed Jodie to look at the way Chemcorp was managed, its potential for further development and routes to diversification into new and profitable brands. “In 2017, Simon Roberts who had worked for the company for 26 years, resigned as General Manager. I felt that I was ready to take on the role after 15 years working for the company and I was at the right stage of my life to take on the responsibility”.
Under Jodie’s leadership, Chemcorp has been consolidating. Management is a team, not an individual and she has recruited skilled industry professionals to assist in future expansion. “I have a great team in place now and they are an integral part of decision-making. Scott Gray, who was National Field Sales Manager at McPherson’s for 10 years, joined the company last year and became National Sales Manager in May. Kylie Gnaden, with 24 years’ experience at Estée Lauder, was appointed National Field Sales and Training Manager recently. Matt Davies, who was our Sales Manager for nine years, has recently been promoted to Export Manager, as well as still being responsible for driving key accounts. Erica Galea, who has been with us in a Consultant capacity for several years, has joined us fulltime as Marketing Manager.”
Chemcorp has a two-pronged master strategy says Jodie. “Our vision is centred on the goal of - Inspiring beautiful, inside and out. Our mission is to deliver exceptional beauty, health and wellness brands to market profitably, supported by superior customer service. A key area of growth is the health and well-being sector”.
Chemcorp acquired the Natural Health Company last year, which offers a range of natural, Australian-made ingestibles including Skinny Bean Coffee, Skinny Greens and Skinny Berries Superfood Detox powders, Body Shape Thermogenic Protein powders, Organic Fusion Protein and Diet Slim Thermogenic Meal Replacement. With the exception of Organic Fusion, the products contain a natural thermogenic ingredient that boosts the metabolism and assists in weight loss and management.
Specialist health food retailers are expanding strongly and we have partnered with Healthy Life and Go Vita stores nationally, says Jodie. “National Health Company products are also sold through their own dedicated website along with independent pharmacies and health food stores. The Asia/Pacific region is the fastest-growing market for health and well-being supplements and, apart from the category’s robust growth in Australia, we are also excited about the brand from an export viewpoint. We will be showcasing the products at Cosmoprof Asia in Hong Kong later this year and are looking at the major Chinese e-commerce marketplaces such as Alibaba’s Tmall”.
SheaMoisture is another recent addition to the Chemcorp portfolio. “We loved the heritage of the brand and its iconic status in the US and other leading markets around the world, says Jodie.” The brand was founded in 1912 by Sofi Tucker, a widowed mother aged 19, who wanted to build something better for her family. She had the skills to harvest ingredients and the knowledge to create soaps and salves and the products are still organic and ethically sourced. Sustainability is a key focus in the natural beauty category and the brand also champions fair trade and is involved in Community Commerce initiatives with women’s cooperatives in countries where important ingredients are harvested”.
Priceline Pharmacy is our exclusive launch partner for SheaMoisture, adds Jodie. “We have debuted the heritage brand ranges, including the African Black Soap skincare range which is ideal for problem skin. Haircare is a rapidly growing part of the natural beauty market and we have also launched the four core ranges - Coconut & Hibiscus for curls, which includes the cult classic Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It’s been flying off the shelves since the launch because it also fights frizz. The Jamaican Black Castor Oil range is ideal for hair that has been heat-styled, coloured or damaged and the 100% Virgin Coconut Oil lineup is perfect for daily maintenance. Consumers with dry, dull hair love the Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil range because it adds instant hydration. We are already seeing great results from the SheaMoisture launch and fans are clamouring for us to release the rest of the ranges. Watch this space!”
Profusion Cosmetics was founded in Southern California 20 years ago with the mission to provide affordable, on-trend makeup for multicultural beauty lovers. The brand has become a global phenomenon in the US, UK and Europe, but it’s a new brand for the Australian market, says Jodie. “Profusion is an absolute go-to for professional quality colour palettes, offering the same latest runway colours as premium brands, but at more inclusive price points. Colour cosmetics is a saturated sector, but we believe there is definitely a place for such a well-established, globally-recognised brand”.
Chemcorp’s flagship 1000 Hour brand celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017. In such a trend-driven, non-loyal customer category, it’s a highlight to celebrate such a milestone, says Jodie. “Our 1000 Hour Lash & Brow Dye Kit remains a staple in the makeup kits of women in Australia and overseas, consistently performing strongly in all retail outlets. With the re-emphasis on brows, once women discover how quick and easy it is to tint their own lashes and brows they are sold”.
To celebrate the brand’s quarter-century, we worked with our Brand Ambassador Tegan Martin and her mother Cherie, who introduced her to the brand in her teens. We also recently re-designed the 1000 Hour Artificial Lash packaging and updated the range of styles. We’ve retained the three top sellers - Vogue, Envious and Demure - but the rest of the range is new. The Kitten lash, which features a tapered lash complete with built-in winged liner, has become a major hit. 1000 Hour is a major focus for export and we are ranged in countries including Ireland, Singapore and the UAE”.
Real Techniques continues to be THE makeup brush brand for beauty lovers in Australia and overseas, says Jodie. “Founders Sam and Nic Chapman, the global YouTube sensations and makeup artist siblings, continue to provide inspiration, innovation and education to establish specialist makeup brushes as a must-have; an approach that translates well with Priceline Pharmacy, our Real Techniques retail partner. Their team of Beauty Advisors is instrumental in bringing this education to life in-store. They do an amazing job helping customers understand why brushes are an important part of makeup application. As always with Real Techniques, we have a lot of exciting releases coming up”.
Jodie describes EcoTools as a quiet achiever. “The brand celebrated its 10th anniversary last year with a makeover, retaining its eco-credentials of bamboo handles and 100% cruelty-free bristles with a new sleek, streamlined aesthetic and precision brush cuts. EcoTools is a really accessible brand for consumers and is available in Priceline Pharmacy, Coles, Woolworths, Big W and independent pharmacies. With the natural beauty market on a roll, we have also introduced the EcoTools bath and body range to Big W over the past year. The super-soft sponges, loofahs, dry brushes and eye masks enhance the everyday bath and shower experience. A selection of EcoTools hair brushes is also ranged in Woolworths, and of course has the same eco-friendly positioning as the makeup brushes”.
Jodie regards herself as a steward for Chemcorp and its future. “I thought to myself recently that I am a batten holder. My seven year old daughter Charlotte came to the office recently and donned a safety vest to help out. She was so keen and driven. At the end of the day she nudged me regarding her payment – I ‘paid’ her in lip balm and she was ecstatic! It made me smile, and know Chemcorp’s family tradition of success will see us in business for another 30 years”.
MAKE YOUR ENQUIRIES HERE: Contact Jodie Phillips - General Manager Chemcorp Pty Ltd email@example.com | +61 2 9526 0777 | chemcorp.com.au
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