Meet Kate Morris, the CEO and Founder of online beauty giant Adore Beauty. Kate founded the company in 1999 at just 21 in her Melbourne garage with a modest $21,000 investment. Adore Beauty now turns over in excess of $16 million annually and employs 35 people. Kate talks to Raw Complexions about her career, beauty and life as a mother.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR CAREER PATH?
I’ve always been a beauty junkie, since I got my first job at 15 working in a chemist after school. At uni I got a job working part time on the Clarins counter. I realised most women found the department store experience pretty unpleasant and intimidating, so I decided I was going to create a new and empowering beauty shopping experience – online.
WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
My parents have given me love, acceptance and support for my entire life. Hard to think of any greater advantage than that. I’m also extremely grateful to my partner’s parents, who loaned me the money to start my business. They weren’t wealthy people so it was a big risk.
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Beauty to me is about confidence. That feeling of confidence that you get when you’re having a great hair day, or you’re wearing that awesome new lipstick – it makes you stand a little taller and speak up a little louder. We can tackle anything when we feel that confidence.
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR YOUNG GIRLS/WOMEN
Find a partner who respects and is willing to support your ambition. Choosing the wrong partner is the very best way to doom your career in advance.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TODAY FOR WOMEN?
The idea of “merit”, and that it has anything to do with who ends up in positions of power or success. It makes me furious when people say things like “Gender isn’t important; we just select on merit” – and then act like it’s perfectly acceptable to have a conference with no female speakers.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN
The best advice I’ve been given was around the importance of honesty and integrity. In business and in life, there are many who take the approach that “the end justifies the means”. I was told – and fully believe – that doing the right thing and building trust is always a better way in the long run.
IS THERE ANY WOMAN YOU LOOK UP TO
I am full of admiration for every woman who steps up to fight the big fights, knowing the odds are against her. Susan Fowler, the engineer who wrote a blog about the systematic discrimination and harassment she faced at Uber, is tremendously brave. I am also a huge fan of Clementine Ford, whose book “Fight Like A Girl” is a must-read.
ON YOUR DAY OFF
Weekends are family time for me. I hang out with my partner James and kids Anna (6) and Esther (1). Usually we go into the city for yum cha and bubble tea.
YOUR DAILY BEAUTY ROUTINE
I use skincare religiously – cleanse, serums and moisturizer morning and night, as well as sunscreen every day. My current favourite brands are Aspect, Intraceuticals and ASAP, and La Roche-Posay for sunscreen. I cleanse with a Clarisonic every other day. Once a week I’ll do a full body scrub and apply Tan-Luxe self-tanner, I’m fairly pasty otherwise.
I wear makeup most days but it’s not complicated. I don’t do any contouring or baking or fake lashes or anything like that. My nails are usually pretty neglected, they only get done if I have a TV/photo shoot.
I wash my hair twice a week and use a Cloud Nine straightener. I look like Grug otherwise. I like Pureology shampoo and conditioner, and KEVIN.MURPHY styling products. I’m also a bit obsessed with Oribe Dry Texturising Spray at the moment.
YOUR BEAUTY/SKINCARE ADVICE
Wear sunscreen! Seriously. Every day. No excuses. Also, start using an antioxidant serum.
For me the only “must-do”s are looking after your skin. If you don’t love wearing makeup then don’t wear it!
YOUR FEEL GOOD INDULGENCE
I do love a good hydrating facial. Intraceuticals oxygen facials are the bomb.