Kate Morris is one of the new breed of young entrepreneurs. She’s smart, digitally savvy, and has built her business on the back of something she loves. At 21, she saw a gap in the market and launched Australia’s first-ever online beauty store. It was 1999, when e-commerce was in its infancy, and she had no experience running a business. But despite the odds, Kate’s determination and passion won out, and today Adore Beauty is still one of the biggest sites of its kind in Australia.
Kate said the idea for her business came down to a realisation about the way many women shop, as well as her own experiences as a teen. “I’ve been a beauty junkie since forever,” she says. “That is just my thing; it’s what I love. I grew up in Launceston, Tasmania, and shopping options in Launceston are pretty bad. I could never buy anything I wanted, and I just had to put up with it.
“Then I moved to Melbourne and landed a job working in a department store on a beauty counter. I realised though, that many women found department store experiences very disempowering and a bit intimidating. I thought, ‘that really doesn’t make any sense: the products are supposed to make you feel confident’, but the shopping experience was making people feel the opposite.
“It was 1999, when online shopping and e-commerce had first come to Australia.
I thought someone should really start an online beauty store, because then Tasmanians could buy whatever products they like and people wouldn’t have to go to department stores anymore if they didn’t want to; you could shop on the couch in your ugg boots. Then I thought, ‘Well, why not me?’”