Tim Cunningham grew up in the beauty business. His mother, Jan, had run a beauty business since from when she was 19, providing New Zealand women with the essentials for everyday pampering. After 30 years of building a successful business, Jan decided to sell and retire. But soon afterwards some offshore business associates approached her, looking for a local distributor. Jan and her son Tim saw the potential, and decided the offer was too good to pass up.
With Jan’s support, Tim left university and applied the learning from his Bachelor of Commerce to the new business. Of course, it was also a fresh start with some familiar challenges and fallbacks for a family-run business. Tim’s grandmother’s garage became the warehouse and distribution centre as they got the new business off the ground.
From this humble start, the business has grown to now carry thousands of products, which they supply to retail. They also do some direct-to-consumer sales via an online shopping site. The business has built on what Jan and Tim know, but also continues to grow into new areas. They work hard to take on feedback from customers and staff. “We had a lot of our team having babies all at the same time, and so we came across some great Japanese baby gear brands you couldn’t get here. Now you can.” says Tim.
Having a responsive and fluid business enables them to make decisive moves. The Beauty Collective is a well-oiled organisation. While Tim took some initial guidance, through the years he’s upgraded the company’s operations in various ways. Tim has a team of reps across the country servicing the thousands of pharmacies and retailers who carry the Collective’s diverse product range, so shifting from paper to PDAs and onto iPads enabled reps to process order quickly, as well as getting orders faster to where they’re needed.
COVID-19 brought many challenges for The Beauty Collective, but also boosted their current systems by speeding up many upgrades. Sales tools needed rebuilding, face-to-face contact in store wasn’t possible, while the dynamics of contactless visits prompted a quick shift to online-based cataloguing.
The Collective’s new systems incorporate cloud and other online platforms like Box to smooth the sale-stock-supply chain journey. Tim credits his Spark Business representative Jessica Young with giving valuable advice about how to make sure the chosen solutions were performing optimally. This was important as the company’s sales representatives work throughout Aotearoa.
With life getting back to normal and people venturing out again, looking good is back on the agenda. Tim and The Beauty Collective team are all set to help make that happen. You can read more business stories and find practical advice by registering for Spark Lab. Sign up for Spark Lab