從喜歡花和口紅的女孩,到經營跨國品牌的創業家 – 紐西蘭天然口紅品牌創辦人 Karen Murrell

« 關於 Karen Murrell »
Karen Murrell 紐西蘭天然口紅以其創辦人 Karen Murrell 命名,於 2008 年在紐西蘭成立,是一個訴求天然、健康、環保的品牌。
Karen 是一位追求美麗的浪漫主義者,她從小就着迷美麗事物,並將對鮮花的鍾情與對大自然的熱愛,結合於品牌的理念,讓至今的 Karen Murrell 口紅推向了全世界,她身為一位媽媽,團隊中有許多人同為職場媽媽,她的品牌特別推薦為孕婦也能安心使用的天然口紅。連續 4 年紐西蘭美妝大獎及 NZ Beauty 大獎,更讓 Karen Murrell 品牌名字在短短 9 年間,享譽了全球時尚界、商界,更成為了紐西蘭第一大化妝品出口品牌商,榮登成為紐西蘭的知名企業家。
這次由 CAREhER 創辦人 Tiffany 專訪身兼媽媽以及創業家的 Karen,一起來聽聽她分享自己的創業故事。

Hello 各位 CAREhER 的讀者大家好,我是今天的主持人 Tiffany。又到了我們語音專訪的時間,大家有沒有擦口紅的習慣呢?身為一個職場女性,有的時候儀容也很重要,我們今天訪問到的是剛剛代理進台灣,講究的是全天然成分的口紅,Karen Murrell,我們來歡迎 Karen。
Tiffany: Hi, Karen.
Karen: Hi, it's lovely to meet you, thanks for having me here, Tiffany.
It's great to have you, did you just fly in Taiwan?
I arrived around one o'clock yesterday, so it's good to relax and get to know the city a little bit before today.
It's very humid, isn't it?
To be honest, I've mostly been in my hotel, I'm not a great flyer so I enjoy really just watching a little bit of TV and having a really early night, but I've enjoyed what I have seen in this city this morning.
Good, we're excited.

So you have a very successful naturally based lipstick and skin care brand, can you tell us how did you start this amazing brand?

I started Karen Murrell lipstick in 2008, I could see a gap in the worldwide market for a natural lipstick brand. I've always really loved makeup ever since I was a little girl, I used to watch my grandmother, my Nana putting on makeup and that sort of sparks my love of makeup.
One of my first ever jobs was working at a cosmetic counter and for Estee Lauder, for Clinique, and sort of be a great start learning how to put on makeup and inevitably to be out around any business, you need to learn how to sell, and next where I might scale of selling.

What was the best seller when you worked in Clinique?

There were all really the point of starting a business because lipsticks really were the best seller, and so when you said to me how did I start this brand, I've always loved creating something from nothing, so I wanted to start a lipstick brand. I can see there's a gap in the market and that's the point that to create anything successfully, there has to be a nation, the market, and moving forward, it had to be there was a worldwide niche for natural lipsticks, that’s what lead me to create Karen Murrell natural lipsticks, but to be successful at anything, you have to love what you do. And I loved makeup, so it's sort if all tied together.

Right. So it's been 9 years, what are some challenges and would you do anything differently?

Every month or every two months, my business partner Dave, Ross and I sit together with all staffs on our board meeting with, you know, what are the critical threats, what's going wrong, and we are very open about it. We look at this all the time, and of course, always thinks of what we can do differently, we started with a very limited budget.
And you were not trained in business, right?
I did in the early 90s with several months to pile up, but I couldn't afford those days to do a full degree, and actually, Estee Lauder offered me a job and I was in and worked on it, so I'm not formally trained.
If I could do anything differently, probably would be to enjoyed it more, because there were a lot of nights that I stayed awake, I would worry, and I'll probably say to myself "take the time to worry less, and enjoy it, because the more mistakes you make, the more learnings you do." and now, every month, there's a different worry, we have too many inventories and now there is a problem with certain market with a distributor right through to production problems. Every month, every year, a distributor is selling in the wrong market, every month there's always a new problem, but you do through good management and dealing with problems from time, deal with them. To me the satisfaction from dealing with them, and you grow with different level of your leadership, staff, and issues right through to everything that it takes to financial issues, how am I going to get the money to make this order, get through to supplying and to a customer not paying you, everything that into grow and to run a business, but you do survive and you do get through in.
I think you should get that you become a bit of business person or a bit of leader in it. You rise through it and you really do enjoy it.
So you're wearing different hats a lot.
You wear all the hats, that's the best part starting from the bottom and being a business woman because I think that's what makes us women such great leaders, we wear all these hats, and we really just don't think about it.
I think the greatest thing now is feeling this terrible guilt, because you're thinking I have to go away, I was thinking this the other day, I flew out, cause you're thinking "oh I have to leave my family, I feel such guilt." and I think that we are such great role models for our future children, you know these children watching their mothers go away, because they are not sitting at home, they're getting out and working and these children are schooled thinking this is what I want to be.
Do you think it's a more female thing that worries a lot more?
Yes, definitely. I think it is, and because we check if a meal has been prepared before we leave, we check emotionally that our family's ready, we don't just shut the door and leave, we're consistently at meetings thinking before we going to the meetings or schools over, we're constantly thinking has my housekeeper done this, we constantly thinking emotionally is everybody ok? we constantly checking everybody and the family is ok.

Any tips on growing a small local business until now that you're a multinational brand?

I think there will always be a little bitter time to start a small local business, an interesting thing is, the small local business is a great opportunity to test the brand, I still will say that you can't have an international business or any business unless you grow a small local business, because that's how we test it to see everything, if the distribution's right, I mean from day one, when I started my business I hate PR.
So you'd rather do logistics?
Yeah look I used to do my own logistics, I used to deliver all my orders. I think this is when you start, you take around to your customers and you have one on one intimacy with your customers, you were saying "how was my product?", "I just love it, the lipstick stays on really well." And you've got time to enjoy it when you talk to the customer, personally, I used to forgo pain myself for PR, which is actually how we became an international brand.
It is also when something goes wrong or you notice all these spelling mistakes on my packaging that luckily you can get away with it, whereas first of all, we are international and you probably haven't got the give and take that you would have.
Yeah, you can't pivot that much.

So you use a lot of flowers, because I notice on your Instagram @karenmurrellnz, a lot of flowers for your branding. I love flowers, too. Any reason?

Because I'm a New Zealander, I was grown up on a farm in New Zealand, which is a very local area, and my grandmother loved flowers, we've always had flowers in our home, so it's just something I love. In fact, I have fresh flowers delivered twice a week in our office, and once my office grew ultra further, I could have an office and one of my friends from b-school owns a florist, and the main street, so I shared an office from her florist, so all the flowers around me and I stayed there for five years actually, until we grew so big that I needed a proper corner office, but we negotiated that she still delivers fresh flowers.
That's so nice.
Actually, it's just really part of who I am, and if you ever came to my house, there's always flower throughout, and it is just really a big thing that you get with me in my personality and without brand.
What's your favorite flower? Peony?
I love peonies, but my favorite flower, however, is a slipper orchid, because it's just a little bit exotic that is also a very beautiful flower.

That's lovely. You've also talked about it's hard for a mother to leave their home when they're trying to expand their business, so how do you balance your business with the loved ones? Do you have a good support net to help you with that?

We're now a family, my husband's office is just down the road from my office and I know my little one loves coming into our offices.
She' going to be a business woman in the future.
I think she runs the company. It's really difficult, I don't know if I could answer that question honestly. because I think everybody has their own style. There's no perfect answer, but what I do know is that I have a fabulous group of people around me that support me, and we have a great team of people, my husband is a very supportive man, and he is an amazing businessman himself and my family are very supportive.
But the whole leaving your home and going away for business is not an easy thing.

How would you describe the company culture at Karen Murrell?

Hilarious? Yes, it is. Look I'm not the person that can work in an open plan office, I have to have the door closed and to be very quiet, because I'm quite easily disturbed, but the girls in the office, as I said it's a very creative office, so they all work on their computers, they have a different culture from mine, and they really enjoy their jobs, and they have been with me quite a while and we live in a seaside area. In New Zealand, as you know, it's a very relaxing area, we have very relaxed culture, I think most of all what I would say, it's a very family culture, we're all mothers and we all really enjoy each other's company. It's a very productive with each other through our job.
Mothers are very productive.
Correct, we just support each other, into the day, we want to get back to our families.

Lastly, the very importantly, can you advise working women as our readers, how to pick a lipstick that really suits them? How many colors do you have?

Actually, at the moment, we have twenty colors with five lip liners, and we just about to release our new collection, which is another five colors.
Look I think the thing with lipstick is you don't be limited to one lipstick, and you know, it's a lipstick wardrobe. So I'll go for trying colors that match what you're wearing or bring out the colors of what you're wearing.
I will really suggest trying to be a little bit more seasonal, so if it's a lovely sunny day, go for something that's the most popular color is our "No.08 Coral Dawn", and it look great in hot summer day, "No.17 Poppy Passion" has been the top selling color, and the color I'm wearing today which I'm always wearing is "No.06 Carnation Mist". They are all beautiful colors.
Thank you.
Thank you, I just love talking to you today and I wish everybody good luck with their businesses.

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