The woman who was once famous for her tendency to grab TV fashionistas was standing in her office, describing the importance of her company’s new enterprise resource planning software, or called ERP.
Bringing domestic distribution into important markets like Australia is one of the growth plans this year for Trinny London, the brand founded by Trinny Woodall. Her longtime partnership with Susannah Constantine on BBC makeover What not to wearbroadcast from 2001-2007, has become a television phenomenon.
The eye for precision and practical style with which Woodall, 57, once provided the right bra and fashion choices to thousands of women, is now deployed on the high-end makeup brand she founded in 2017. This product line is sold almost exclusively online. , directly to the company’s consumers.
Honestly, you’d forgive Trinny’s CEO for being “better” than people say about Trinny, the attention-grabbing TV host.
But she continues her walk: “I think careers go in cycles, except for the moment you finally find your entrepreneurial spirit. . . I had 10 years, 10 years, 10 years. . . and then I had, I was ready. . . And that was when I was 50 years old. So all the things I’ve done before, in a way gave me this sense of what I could bring when I started Trinny London. ”
Sarah-Jane Woodall – Trinny is a stuck childhood nickname – has always had a business edge. From washing and ironing shirts for £1 a time while she was in A, to selling socks during her unhappy time working as an assistant in the City, after following her father into the industry finance: “I don’t like it. And it’s very male-dominated. . .[it] went downhill really quickly. ”
There was a spell in rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction, before a newspaper column with Constantine led to TV shows and makeovers around the globe. The couple’s fashion consultancy Ready2Shop.com launched during the frenetic final months of the first dotcom boom, before ending in 2001. Monetizing their ideas – collecting data from tens of thousands of women is of interest to big companies – it takes longer than the market is still hot.
Still, there are leadership lessons from that failure. “Trust your instincts more,” she says. “Raise so much money so quickly, because it’s incredibly easy. Those are two encounters and you’ve got it. ”
When it came to Trinny London, which uses Match2Me, an online tool for assembling face, eye and lip color jars that can be stacked to match a client’s complexion, Woodall is stuck with both What she learned during her early years as an entrepreneur. First, have to believe in yourself: “The principle was very solid on my mind from the start: I wanted personalized makeup for women, and I wanted the target market to be 35 years or older. I want to make cream products and I want it to be premium.”
Financially, the business started with two brainstorming interns, and money raised from daughter Woodall’s godfather and a school gate mother who worked in the cosmetics industry. Early storyboards of product development or personalization, first created around the kitchen table, are mirrored in the “bank of cabinets” in her home, where Woodall has fact sheets for keeps track of things today: “I have every number on the board for this business . . . month by month, what we came up with, what the numbers are, and then for the current year, what we do will do . . . I really like the visualization.”
Woodall is still experimenting with colors and makeup for women in her bathroom to research for her Match2Me algorithm when the money runs out. Woodall said: “I really thought ‘what do I have in the house?’ “So I just sell all the clothes that I have.”
After decades of mandatory clothing purchases (her version of dry January is “no spending January”), the two sales brought in around £60,000.
“And I have a pile of clothes now. You’re probably thinking, “God, I saw her dead.” “
Wardrobe checks are just one thing you can see Woodall doing on the internet. At a Trinny London pop-up event in New York, she pictured two women flying in from Chicago to meet the woman they first saw on Instagram using a dog diaper in the lock to dye her eyelashes. A recent (elegant) post featured her wearing a bikini in the center while others wrapped presents in the back.
Her energetic content on her personal and corporate social media channels, with her millions of followers, is integral to the brand’s success. And what you see is what you get: “I’m pretty consistent,” says Woodall. “I have pretty long crooked teeth and I’m used to my skin. . . The Instagram Trinny you see is the one I’m in the office with. ”
There are impromptu Trinny moments. But most of her outputs in health, beauty, and fashion are carefully curated and filmed on one day each week. “Ultimately, it’s about how you create that feeling, not pay. And I think that takes a huge amount of work,” Woodall said. “On social media, we plan two months in advance. . . We have stories for all days. The amount of content that we produce as a company is probably 10 times more than any other beauty brand.”
For Woodall, “it’s literally daily market research.” Brands receive thousands of comments and direct messages every day. “Every day, I will sit on the loo at lunch [and read the feedback] and I’ll do some in the morning when I wake up. . . what are they thinking? How do they feel? It tells me a lot and they know a lot.”
Look no further than the Trinny Tribe – the brand’s devoted fans now number 100,000 women in 16 countries; a carefully nurtured social network.
Too much for the suspicion of some potential investors in male-dominated celebrity world venture capital investment when Woodall raised funds, before being backed by Unilever Ventures.
“I remember one particular VC saying, ‘you’ve got the demographics completely wrong, you need to be millennials or it won’t work.’ And I said, ‘you don’t believe there are women out there, the women I’m talking to. They just don’t have anything that meets their needs right now, and that’s why they don’t buy ‘. “
Woodall has just raised £7m, including a small donation as the pandemic panic hits and the world shuts down. In fact, that has increased the cost of doing business. It has reallocated staff to make virtual appointments online. “We had 3,000 bookings on the first day. . . What I call our sleeping customer has come to buy. “
Sales more than tripled to £44m in the year to March 2021. The brand has now racked up more than £100m in revenue since launch, is growing rapidly and has strong margins. gross profit is 60-65%.
Woodall won’t talk about pricing, but avoids comparisons with other makeup brands, such as millennials-focused Glossier. “If we were just like that [make-up and beauty] As a business, I would say yes. But we won’t just be a business,” she said.
Trinny London next month will debut in a new niche, with buzz online suggesting it could be hair and skin care, clothing, lingerie, bags or even boutiques. physics.
Three Questions for Trinny Woodall
Who is your leader hero?
Chrissie Rucker, founder of the White Company. She is a truly inspirational businesswoman. In growing her family-owned business into a leading global company and a household name for all things “family”, she combines leadership, motherhood, femininity beautifully. character and strength.
If you weren’t the CEO/leader, what would you be?
A makeup artist or therapist.
What was the first leadership lesson you learned?
That I don’t have all the answers to, and now there are people on the team who understand more than I do in a field and realize what relief and support it really is like, as opposed to being self-sufficient. giving myself a hard time that i don’t know everything!
“I knew I wanted five verticals,” said Woodall, who is working on the third launch. “I told the VC that. . . We’re going to launch with this, but we’re going to be a personalized platform for women to find what they need and get emotional support in how they get it. “
This year’s plans include pushing into the US – and hiring more. Staff numbers doubled in the UK’s first shutdown and is approaching 200. As it grows, Woodall is concerned about keeping people connected to the brand – which is real. meaning to her.
She spent an hour telemedicine with each new participant in the course. When Covid allows, she roams the office, directed by her assistant Louise, to find people she has not met in person. “I do a lot of big Zoom calls, but I want them to feel like I really know who they are.”
It’s too early to think about retiring from a business, says Woodall, where she still has “much of a long way to go.” But the prospect of a payday in the future is a hallmark of success: “To some extent, it’s money, because I don’t own my home and I’m 57 years old. And I want to own my own home,” Woodall said. “Well then, for myself, I made it. That is a big motivator. It took me a long time to mature myself.”
Woodall, who struggles in the City’s tough male environment, clearly enjoys the young, predominantly female team and her symbiotic relationship with the Trinny Tribe. “The echo I got from what I did before [in makeovers] is changing a woman in the way she feels. . . Nothing brings me greater joy. . . There are women who say “because of Trinny London” or “because of this that I watched, I feel this about myself”. . . it is profoundly fulfilling. “
Her subsequent growth, as an entrepreneur and boss, “wasn’t too much of a weed, because when you start a company in those first few years, you’re on every the smallest detail.”
However, you’ll get the impression that giving up granular control isn’t something to be feared for Trinny.