“No, totally common, totally common. It is what my day is about – PR events, fragrance and cosmetic launches, sometimes events in store. Our diaries are bursting full.”
It’s 2pm on a Friday and Andrea Ferrari, Managing Director and Founder of Esprit Magazine Australia is waiting to attend a secret Tom Ford presentation, “I suspect it’ll be a fragrance launch”. This ‘get-up-at-6.30am-everyday’ one-woman dynamo is the brain behind Australia’s only independent retail beauty magazine. Designed exclusively to service the retail beauty market, her clients are the likes of Myer and David Jones. The magazine is unique in it’s offering, and so is its owner who says exclaims “If I was waking up and there was nothing in my diary, I would be thinking what I am doing in this business? It is full on and there are massive opportunities.”
Originally hailing from the UK, Ferrari founded Esprit Magazine in the UK in 1987. The trade magazine was born from spotting a need to service the beauty industry. Ferrari successfully pioneered this and come 2003, decided to make a strategic move to Sydney. She forged a business partnership with beauty journalist Elisabeth King on the advice of friend and British fragrance expert, Michael Edwards, also a former Sydney resident. She’s earnest in her explanation that the chance meeting was a gift. “We do [get along so well]. We really understand each other’s roles; she thinks Esprit magazine has a very important place in the retail beauty industry. I know she is a very well researched and educated journalist. She handles the international side for me, I run the business … the day-to-day stuff, Australian based news … editorial and advertorial.”
Ferrari is modest in the extent of her hands-on approach. The magazine launched in July 2004 and she recently celebrated its 10th birthday. The occasion was a spontaneous affair, with the GM of Benefit Cosmetics throwing a small party full of VIP industry people. “They brought out a cake with 10 candles on it and sang Happy 10th Birthday for my magazine!” she laughs excitedly. This is indicative of the relationships she has carefully built over the decade, “they just know I love what I do, I am enthusiastic and I care about what I say in the magazine. So they know they get content that is well thought-out and for their benefit.”
The 10 year milestone anniversary has also made Ferrari think about how to develop and move on with the business, as she is currently responsible for both the commercial and creative side. How does she constantly drive herself to do this? “I set myself goals and targets, [I] literally write it on a big post it note in front of me. I like that visual,” she explains.
In order to maintain her ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude in business, Ferrari reveals she has three key beauty tricks, number one being “I have a lot of fun!”. Second is her love of fitness, with walking and running her regular pursuits. Thirdly a not-so conventional activity, “I take myself off to Balmoral sea and get into that cold water, I never go into that cold sea without thinking I shouldn’t have done this! If I think I am a bit wobbly … I won’t let myself set goals.”
Ferrari is a brave woman, her passion is palpable and she strongly believes in only doing things you love. She explains enthusiastically, “I get up in the morning, I am firing on all cylinders and hoping I am a good role model for my kids really.”
While looking ahead and future-proofing her business is important, so are new trends. When asked what she thinks the next big things in fragrance are, Ferrari reveals, it’s all about natural ingredients. Specifically – customisation, “we want something for me, we want something individual. One of the chemist groups and Amcal groups has just launched a skincare range called Bespoque. They played on the spelling Bespoke – all that individual, personalised shopping.”
Shoppers want to stand out, and the demand for items that are different is rising. She says “You don’t want to be in a crowd saying you’ve all got the same.”
Ferrari explains helping communities is a big issue in the beauty industry, “the Trilogy fragrance is using sunflowers from Tanzania, and giving back to that community.” Lastly, she sees the trend of Australian made for consumers, “they like to be loyal – they also like to shop for international brands – but they love Australian made.” Interestingly, entrepreneurs – namely, mums, make a lot of products on the Australian market. Her observations are that a lot of skincare brands originate from a mother seeing her child suffer, and wanting to create something natural to help.
In her almost two decade stint in the trade, what are her five most valuable tips?