Adore Beauty goes independent, ends Woolworths partnerhsip

By @mik_mapa on
Woolworths
Shoppers ride an escalator into and out of a Woolworths store in central Sydney, Australia, July 25, 2016. Reuters/Steven Saphore

Woolworths and Adore Beauty's partnership has ended after the make-up and hair products online retailer decided to be an independent company. Kate Morris, Adore Beauty founder and chief executive, said that the company is now better off pursuing to build the business on its own again. 

"The best position for the business going forward is to be independent again," Morris said. She acknowledged that Woolworths has helped her company grow by 125 percent over the past two years. The external investment it acquired from Woolworths has helped her company invest in people marketing and technology inventory.

The partnership has to end as both companies have different priorities. However, Morris did not disclose the nature of their strategic differences. "For the relationship to be successful you need strategic alignment and the golden priorities had diverged and the relationship was not going to continue to add value to our customers," Morris said.

The beauty retailer has a customer base of 50,000 and Morris expected that the company would grow 60 percent. In the past six months, the company has expanded to more than 12,000 beauty products.

Adore's goal was to expand its business, but its ambitions to expand into China was put on hold. Morris said that China's market required a bigger commitment and the company was not yet prepared to provide it at the moment. "At the moment we have tremendous growth domestically and all our operations are based in Australia. We could look to start experimenting with the marketing techniques that have worked for us locally and place some small bets in other markets," Morris said.

The company has left the Chinese e-commerce Tmall but it recently partnered with Borderfree Retail. The global retail solutions would allow Adore to reach more than 200 countries. Morris cited the importance of reinventing to avoid the struggles that traditional retailers in Australia has experienced. "If you don't reinvent yourself all the time your last day could be tomorrow. You have to be hard on yourself and look at your business and ask – does this cut it for my customer? Am I delivering value they're not getting elsewhere?" she said.

Adore Beauty's growth took the opposite direction of traditional retail companies including Marcs, David Lawrence, Herringbone and Rhodes & Beckett. The companies were not able to cope up with new retailers that came in the Australian market providing trendy and affordable apparels. The companies are currently under administration.