Since completing her Business Degree majoring in accounting and marketing at Swinburne University, Victoria Curtis has combined her in depth business knowledge, passion for makeup and skincare with an unwavering commitment and passion, to launch her namesake makeup range, Curtis Collection by Victoria.
You originally wanted to be a make-up artist, but you followed your Dad’s advice and went straight to University, do you think your choice to study Business has helped you succeed in your industry?
Definitely! Having studied both marketing and accounting, this allows me to understand both facets of my business. I feel that it is crucial to have a balance of the two. This background knowledge allows me to make strategic decisions, ensuring the future growth and success of my business.
What was your initial role at L’Oreal Australia, and how did you land the job?
My initial role at L’Oreal Australia was in the Marketing team for the brand Redken Australia. I applied for a graduate position during my final year of University and was fortunate enough to land the job!
Coincidentally, the brand Redken operated in the Professional Salon Division. Working so closely with beauty salons during this time, it reignited my passion for the industry and allowed me to build the knowledge and experience that was necessary for me to start my own salon specific cosmetics range.
Was founding your own product line the plan from the start or, did you notice a gap in the industry through your experience?
It was during my time at L’Oreal that I felt that there was an opportunity in the market to launch a luxury cosmetics brand specifically for the salon industry. My vision was to combine the chic and style of a department store makeup counter with high quality products, ingredients and formulas that would complement a salon’s beauty services and their total skin approach.
My quest for the ultimate makeup collection saw me travel around the globe sourcing the highest grade of vitamins and minerals, cutting edge formulas and chic sophisticated packaging in order to create what is now known as the Curtis Collection. Our prestige products not only deliver the quality that you would expect from a luxury brand, but also the stylish packaging that any woman would be proud to add to her own makeup collection!
At what stage in your business development did you decide to take the plunge, finish up your obligations to employers and go out on your own?
I actually had left my position at L’Oreal to support my husband who is a professional soccer player. He received a contract offer from a soccer/football team in England and we made the decision together to move our lives to the UK. As I was forced to resign from my position at L’Oreal at this time, it gave me the push and the reason I needed to pursue my dream! I believe that everything happens for a reason and timing was ideal for me.
Did you develop all functions of the business, from development, distribution, branding and sales?
Absolutely everything! This has taken years to perfect of course, however from research and development to planning, branding, sales and marketing procedures I have literally put everything in place on my own. I now have assistance which is fabulous, however developing these functions have proved invaluable to me. They have allowed me to intimately understand every element of my business and moving forward I am then able to make informed decisions that are in the best interests of the company.
Diving straight into a highly competitive beauty market, how careful were you to make sure the brand remained premium?
Incredibly careful; we have focused on a very specific Marketing and PR message and have ensured that our customers are perceiving our brand in this way. Perception is reality so therefore everything we do must be consistent and in line with our core values. Curtis Collection is a high quality, premium cosmetics brand. Our marketing, branding, packaging and in store merchandising all reflect this and I truly believe this is the reason why our brand has been so successful in both the Australian and New Zealand markets.
How did you approach distributors initially as a start up?
Initially I played the role of sales representative as well as everything else! I enjoy this side of the business as it allows me to communicate our message to prospective salons and speak with salon owners directly. In the first year I phoned and visited new salons myself and eventually new salons began to phone us! These days we’re just trying to keep up with demand! We have been very fortunate in that respect, our collection has gained quite a following and we are incredibly thankful for that.
You are now hugely successful, and I am sure have learnt many lessons along the path to this success, is there anything specifically that you wish you had known starting out?
I suppose the biggest lesson that I have learnt is to absolutely LOVE what you are doing. The passion drives me and keeps me motivated and inspired. If there is no passion, there is no business. I believe success is dependent on this factor. I wish I had known how many sleepless nights were involved and of course the fact that you are really working 24 hours, 7 days a week when you run your own business. I personally love this however anyone who is thinking of starting their own business should be prepared for the lifestyle adjustment.
What social media channels work the best for you? How do you leverage these sites effectively?
Our Blog and Instagram pages are our most effective social media channels. We try to post a few times a week however I do not like to post if the content is not relevant to our followers!
What advice do you have for someone looking to enter the beauty industry as a junior, ie. What skills do you look for in new staff?
First and foremost I look for drive, passion and motivation in any new staff member. Skills can be taught under the right manager however if the drive and the passion is not there, you will never get the most out of their skill set. My advice to a junior entering the industry would be to always show enthusiasm and be willing to learn. Your manager will invest time and resources into you if they can see that you want to progress and add value to your role.
And finally, what are your five must have products for the Summer season.
Illuminating Bronzers SUMMER must-haves are everything needed to create its ICONIC Signature Glow.
These include the Radiant Glow Illuminator – the only way to restore vibrancy and radiance back in to your complexion, ensuring skin doesn’t look dull or dehydrated.
Illuminating Bronzer – this universal shade suits every skin tone providing a natural sun kissed glow; also essential to Curtis Collections Signature Glow
At the moment the Brow Definer and Styler is one of our most iconic products – an innovative fine tip pen that naturally defines brows without looking as though you have pencilled them in! It’s an easy fix for every woman providing 16 hours of wear, not to mention being waterproof it’s perfect for summer time spent at the beach.
Our NEW Lip Velvets are a must have this summer! Bold, bright colours in a variety of shades that offer a liquid lipstick in a gloss form! They also last all day
Finally our Naked Glow Collection products are the ultimate summer must haves! These include our BB and CC Creams which are designed to correct, perfect and illuminate your skin in one step! Rather than using foundation, you can achieve a flawless Naked Glow with the most natural looking coverage ever! It’s your skin…. Only BETTER! Plus the added bonus of sun protection ideal for those long summer days spent relaxing on the beach!