Shamini joined the Australian luxury skincare brand as a marketing and digital coordinator in 2011. Just four years later, she was CEO. Rationale started life in the doctors surgery, prescribed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons to promote optimum skin health. Blending science with Australian botanicals, Rationale is now also available online with flagship stores across Australia, Asia and in LA. Shamini and I chat about her career trajectory, what it’s been like to enter the US market and the exciting new experience Rationale will be launching this year. We get into some juicy stuff about what it’s like being married to another retail entrepreneur, how the retail power couple juggle work and family together – and how it’s not that much different to being Beyonce and Jay-Z .
“You just wanna be a team player. I think that was my biggest thing. I just wanted to lean in, I wanted to help my colleagues”Shamini Rajarethnam
Marketing co-ord to CEO in four years
“When I started, I really believed in the company. I really believed in the vision of what they were trying to do. And when I joined the business, they were solely a B2B business and they had ambitions to opening that up online. The team was so small when I started, it was sort of six to nine people in head office.
I think when a company is so small, the team that you’re working with is really important and you just wanna be a team player. I think that was my biggest thing. I just wanted to lean in, I wanted to help my colleagues who were doing different things, different departments.
I put my hand up for everything because again, you really believe in what they’re trying to achieve and you can see the opportunity there. And you know, if you like the people that you’re working with, you believe in the work and you want to see an outcome happen. It gives you perspective when you’re doing a lot of things across a lot of different departments. I think that makes my perspective quite unique.“
“It’s quite funny. I know he tells this story and I hate it when he tells this story, but when I was starting out in digital marketing, I think I asked him once, oh my goodness, how do I change a Twitter background? Like back in the day. And he has never let that go. I think two weeks ago, he told this story about Shami wouldn’t be where she was if I didn’t teach her how to change a Twitter background! I’m like I was playing damsel in distress to get your attention!
But no, it is really lovely to be on that together and not wanting to get too sentimental. Athan has always been my biggest champion and my biggest advocate whenever I’ve ever said, oh, I don’t think I can do this or I shouldn’t be the CEO of Rationale. He’s the first person to say, you’ve earned this. You need to do it. You need to just shut up and get it done. And sometimes you need a bit of that male energy of like, just do it, you know? So, he’s always been really, really supportive of me and my role, but also of the business. And I’d hope to think I’ve always been really supportive of July as well.”
“Where we started was actually in the doctor’s office. So we were selling product through dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Back then dermatologists and plastic surgeons, they didn’t have time. So if they did their jobs right, they should never really see a patient again, right? Because they’ve cured the illness and people weren’t coming back from a wellness perspective. So Richard really saw the gap of how do we provide these clients that need maintenance as well?
So what we did was we really set up a network of our own flagships. And the reason for doing that was almost us being the conduit between the doctor’s office and the department store and releasing our own flagship network meant we could do that really, really well. We also were able to understand that accessibility was really important. And so many of our doctors were based in regional areas, but they couldn’t get down to doctors’ offices or clients who were based really far out weren’t able to get to the doctors’ offices to replenish their products. So online was obviously something that we leaned into quite early on.
And I think what works really well for Rationale is that omni-channel approach that we took, they work really synergistically together. So the doctor’s patient can be recommended to go into our flagship for a treatment, but they can also replenish online. But if they need to go back to see the doctor, we’re really happy to sort of provide them that pathway to go back to the doctor. So it’s not, we’re not fighting over a patient’s voice or a patient, we very much have a very holistic approach to how they interact with Rationale and all the distribution channels.”
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