Sharp & Carter’s Giorgio Xindaras and Evana Seneviratne caught up with Siobhan Wilkins, Group Manager - Sales & Marketing and client from RATIONALE Skincare to discuss the evolution of Rationale Skincare and how she landed any beauty enthusiasts dream marketing and sales role.
1. Tell us more about RATIONALE Skincare as a Brand?
RATIONALE Skincare was established in 1992 by Richard Parker, Founder and Director of RATIONALE Research. A competitive swimmer, he suffered with acne and sun damage at the age of 25. He became obsessed with having clear, radiant skin, and the confidence that comes with a luminous complexion. Richard formalised his studies in cosmetic chemistry by completing a Diploma in Cosmetic Science, specialising in dermatologic actives and topical delivery systems.
After launching his own Skin Consultancy with his husband Greg Parker, they began to work with prominent Australian Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons, launching RATIONALE; a luxury skincare range based on skin identical vitamins, minerals and proteins that activate skin luminosity and vitality by preventing and repairing environmental damage. 80% of facial ageing is caused by the sun and Richard recognised that we were in a unique position to offer world-firsts with the Essential Six; a six-step regime that provides everything needed for healthy, luminous skin. Topical skin nutrition at its finest!
RATIONALE Skincare is now prescribed in over 50 Medical Practices across Australia and the UK, 13 Flagship Clinics (with a 14th to open at the end of the month in High Street, Armadale) and Online. We are also excited to announce our newest partnership, a Flagship Clinic in Sydney CBD within Australia’s number one luxury retailer, David Jones. This Clinic will open on Saturday 30th November 2019, in line with the refurbished David Jones Luxury Ground Floor.
2. You have been at RATIONALE Skincare for almost five years now. Tell us about your early days at RATIONALE?
My entry to Skincare came about through my CEO at RATIONALE, Shamini Rajarethnam, who I had worked with previously at an Australian fashion brand. I came on board as the Flagship Sales Manager and we had 3 Flagship Clinics at the time. My role encompassed expanding our Flagship portfolio and ensuring our Clinics met our company’s Vision and Imperative, delivering Luminous Skin for Life through experiences that enlighten and transform. I was struck by the passion and expertise of our Clinic Managers and Skin Consultants, and the lasting impression they made on our Clients via our world-leading formulations and facial treatments.
I relished the opportunity to work closely with Shamini again and now Richard to shape a culture within our Flagships that celebrated our Staff and honoured exemplary service. Through this role I also learnt to research and source sites, negotiate leases and work alongside our Design Team to launch our new doors.
I greatly enjoyed my interactions with our talented Medical Agency and Online Teams and identified an opportunity to amplify how these Channels spoke and worked with one another. I moved onto a newly created Head of Sales role. After returning from Maternity Leave six months ago, I stepped into the Group Manager – Marketing and Sales role, overseeing said Departments as well as our Design, Education and Property Departments. I am also incredibly excited to be heading up our RATIONALE China Program, focusing on expanding our Asian Client base. We were recently awarded government funding for this project as well. I’d never applied for grant before so proof that RATIONALE always keeps me learning!
3. Having spent almost five years at RATIONALE Skincare how have you found it?
The formulations are phenomenal, but beyond this, I feel like I have found my home at RATIONALE. Who I am as a person is valued and recognised, beyond the black and white results we achieve. I have developed close relationships with my peers and celebrated remarkable growth with them. Communication goes beyond reviewing tasks; we have honest and open conversations and challenge one another on how we can amplify all that we do. We do everything in house, from Research and Development in our Laboratory, to Production and Warehousing, to Marketing and Design. The Team is highly skilled, and the Founders and CEO have always believed in cultivating the native genius of their employees.
Richard’s empathy and duty of care for his Clients, to deliver luminous, glowing and healthy skin, while delivering a seamless experience, inspires all that we do. Everyone here is so invested because we are closely tied to our Clients and we know the impact we make in their lives. Over the years while I have been able to spend less time in our Doors, I make time to connect with our Clients via phone and email. What strikes me is the consistent message they have given me these past nearly 5 years; they love our brand because of how it makes them feel and know that we are at the cutting-edge of innovation and luxury experiences. This steadfast trust and loyalty is what propels us forward.
4. What I have found is that a lot of junior aspiring Marketers are wanting to work for Beauty/Cosmetic Brands. What advice would you give them?
I believe that people don’t have to have to have a whole raft of beauty experience to enter this industry. It’s more about demonstrating a tenacity to pursue whatever it is you are passionate about. For example, I came from Fashion and transitioned into Skincare. RATIONALE came about because of my working relationships and the ground-work I had laid in terms of performance in an entirely different Industry.
Early in my career I did a lot of volunteering at Fashion festivals, the National Gallery of Victoria in their Fashion Archives and completed Internships where I essentially worked for free and really believed in going above and beyond. I learnt so much from the people I met, and the experiences made me a stronger and more confident operator. There are so many Beauty Exhibitions or events that can be tapped into if you search online and you may surprise yourself with the willingness people show in assisting your growth if you in-turn are willing to contribute to their projects. Offering your time in return for learning invaluable skills is an effective way to grow and add to your body of work.
People generally want to share their insights and support other; junior candidates today can even simply connect with someone on LinkedIn and have a coffee with them to explore opportunities to learn more. There is nothing stopping you!
5. Given that a lot of consumers are taking a higher interest in the Corporate Social Responsibility of the organisations they purchase from, what is Rationale Skincare doing to give back to the community?
We recently made the exciting announcement that RATIONALE will be relocating to a new global headquarters in Kyneton, Victoria. Envisioned by Richard, this technologically advanced, campus-style facility will serve as the epicentre of RATIONALE’s research, training, production, worldwide logistics and operations. The extensive 14,000sqm site, located one-hour north of Melbourne, will also serve as an influential conduit between the city and rural areas, bringing sophisticated skincare technologies and expertise to regional Victoria and creating local training and employment opportunities. Investing locally to maintain our unique offering as the only Australian luxury Skincare brand on the market is incredibly important to us. We are also looking at partnerships with like-minded Australian brands to pursue CSR projects that can serve the community,
6. What’s been the biggest hurdle or challenge in your career so far?
Like anyone I’ve had stumbles in my career but always tried to take a learning from it and recognise that there isn’t really anything that you can’t get over or move on from! Before I made the transition to skincare I was considering my options in fashion and went for an interview with a premium Australian fashion brand. While normally I feel quite comfortable in an interview situation, I was like a fish out of water and did not do well at all! I think on reflection I was a little burnt out and pursuing a career trajectory that was seemingly mapped out for me when I hadn’t really thought through what would actually make me happy. I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive partner, family and friends and am able to talk through a challenging time and how best to navigate through. I find talking and exercise are the two best remedies to overcome anything!
7. Who are the senior leaders that you look up to?
I consider myself so fortunate to have been able to work with incredible people at RATIONALE. Shamini (our CEO) is a good friend as well as my boss and I’ve learnt so much from her. We are able to have a very positive working relationship and there is a great respect between us. She really celebrates the individual and fosters your native genius. Richard (our Founder) is also so inspiring, he has such a unique view on the world and is a true left and right-brain thinker. He is the definition of a visionary!
I read a lot of articles on Leaders within luxury industries (The Business of Fashion is great) and am obsessed with podcasts, I find them so engaging and they give me access to world-leaders across many fields. Plus I can listen to an episode on the way to work and it puts me in a great frame of mind. I greatly enjoy Harvard Business Review, How I Built This, The Daily, Recode Decode, the list goes on!
I’ve been reading a lot of Brené Brown lately and I love her advice on deciding whose opinions matter to you. She says you need to be able to nominate 2 – 3 people in your life who love you because of your imperfections and will tell you the truth when you ask for their thoughts. I found this to be such sound advice, try it for yourself!
8. Lastly, give me one word that describes you as a leader the best?
Curious. I spend a lot of time with my team asking them about what their thoughts are on different ideas and discussing how we can amplify a concept or collaborate with others. I believe listening is undervalued at times and I always try to be conscious that I need to listen first and then ask questions! Giving people the answer does not allow for growth.
Giorgio Xindaras - Manager, Marketing, Sharp & Carter
0415 786 332 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Evana Seneviratne - Consultant, Marketing, Sharp & Carter
0452 633 293 | email@example.com