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Kate Morris

Industry Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty

Kate Morris

"It takes a lot of guts, tenacity, resilience, and resourcefulness. I started out with a $12k loan and absolutely no business experience; I made a lot of mistakes and had to be very creative to find ways to get things done with no money."

Beauty junkie and e-commerce veteran Kate Morris, founder and CEO of Adore Beauty had her inspiration to start Australia's first online beauty store in 1999 at the age of 21.

Fifteen years later, Adore Beauty attracts millions of visitors per year, stocks 10,000 products, and recently announced an investment from retail giant Woolworths Limited.

Kate was awarded the Business Innovation Award for Victoria at the Telstra Business Women's Awards in 2014, and was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen's Network Hall of Fame in 2015.

1 What did you study and how has your career path evolved?

I studied Law for a whole week before switching to Arts, and then ended up finally completing a Bachelor of Business. I started my business, Adore Beauty, while I was still studying, and have been doing that ever since.

2 What does it take to become one of Australia's top female entrepreneurs?

It takes a lot of guts, tenacity, resilience, and resourcefulness. I started out with a $12k loan and absolutely no business experience; I made a lot of mistakes and had to be very creative to find ways to get things done with no money.

3 How can we encourage more young female entrepreneurs?

The more role models we have, the better. I think it's fabulous that entrepreneurial women get a lot more media coverage nowadays, and that there are so many great networking groups like Business Chicks and League of Extraordinary Women that offer connections and inspiration to young women thinking of starting something.

4 What's it like running a beauty business?

So much fun! I'm still obsessed with the products after all these years; our entire office squeals every time new products hit our desks. Obviously there are all the usual stresses that every business has - it's not all glamour - but it certainly has its perks.

5 What are the biggest challenges you face in your daily work and how do you overcome them?

Time management is the trickiest one for me at the moment; we are a lean team but the business is growing very quickly, so I often feel a bit swamped or spread too thinly. That said, I've come to realise that I'm not happy unless I'm completely flat out, I think I'm addicted to the adrenaline now!

6 What are your top tips for building a strong team?

A shared set of values is so important to build a team while preserving your culture. We have five core values that we hire by and reward by, and there's no compromise on these. It's also very useful as a decision-making framework that enables my team members to be more autonomous - they know I'll always back their decision if it meets our values.

7 What's next for you?

World domination, obviously! In seriousness though - I'm still very committed to the Adore Beauty vision, which is to help every woman (and man for that matter) feel fabulous when they walk out the door in the morning by giving them confidence in their appearance. I still have a lot more work to do but it's more exciting than ever before.

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