Welcome Sara! Let’s start with the history of selling D2C for Dermatologica: How did it all go down?
We’ve always been a skincare-first company. In the 1980’s, Dermalogica pioneered the cruelty-free, natural ingredients skincare movement. Our founder moved from the UK to California in 1984 to chase her entrepreneurial dreams - and she started selling products to skin therapists & professionals through salons and spas. That was the main driver of growth: education & sales through professionals.
Fast forward 20 years in 2015 to when Unilever acquired the company; that’s when our sales channels started to develop beyond brick & mortar. We initially fostered a relationship with Sephora, selling both online and in retail. In the US, we had partnered with Amazon.
We then setup our own flagship stores in key markets, and that’s right around the time we launched our own D2C channel. And the D2C expansion has gone down exceptionally well. Especially during lockdown, as with other businesses - the circumstances really catapulted our sales.
What are some of your considerations in selling omni-channel considering your role as the Head of eCommerce?
As an organization, we really try to push that mantra of being omnichannel. We try to leverage the strength of each channel as a unified team; There's always conversations about tech integrations to further strengthen our omnichannel experience. That’s always at the core of our business.
It is a little cliché to say aloud - but omnichannel is where we want to thrive. On the online front for example, we’re acutely aware of the pitfalls that come from paid media and having all of your eggs in one basket - so that’s another big reason we chant that word.
Talk to me about selling internationally: What are the challenges you’ve faced in D2C?
It's wonderful to be part of a large parent organization like Unilever while still being able to make independent decisions on a market by market basis. That breeds a culture of entrepreneurship which we all value.
But the risk with that is having great disparity on the D2C experiences across markets. The tech stacks start to change, and so does the shopping experience. And that’s not always a good thing. There needs to be unity, best practices, consistency.
So that’s been the big challenge. But our CEO’s done a wonderful job of defining what that global ecosystem should look like, and we’re working towards that.
How have you been leveraging Storetasker? How do we fit into your universe?
Sometimes, when you see a beautiful, shiny website, you don't really know what's the substance behind it. But I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with Storetasker: We’ve been able to find high quality talent, and a wonderful happy medium between agility and responsiveness.
We got paired with a developer, conveniently located 10 minutes away from our office. He had worked on very large websites, so he had an existing wealth of experience to share with us. We turned our contract from a project to a retainer quickly - and you’ve truly taken the guesswork out of looking for a developer for us.
Tell me about your other team members - who else is powering the D2C arm at Dermalogica CA?
I'm very lucky to have an amazing team that supports me on a day-to-day. We have a CRO specialist who works with our A/B testing tool; a CRM lead who was just onboarded a couple of months ago. We also have a B2B specialist who will be increasingly critical now that Shopify is rolling out a B2B beta program - and after that, we have a designer and of course, our Storetasker developer.
Last question from me: What’s been your key to success so far on Dermalogica?
The ability to react quickly is very necessary in this environment. When we get a piece of data that lands on our table, that either points to something that’s working or not working - we take action quickly.