Pippa Hallas is the great niece of the original founder of Ella Bache and has been at the helm since 2010. With counters in David Jones and franchises in over 150 salons across Australia, Ella Bache has an emphasis on individual skincare solutions and education. In this chat, Pippa shares the secrets to maintaining a legacy brand, how she executed the ultimate digital transformation and why she chooses snow covered Boston for business inspiration every year.
“If you don’t lean into learning new things, you’re going to get left behind.”Pippa Hallas
The chemist behind the company
“Ella the person, was born in 1900 and she lived until 1999. She was an incredible woman, way beyond her years, very contemporary, she was an innovator.
She was born in Czechoslovakia and she studied to be a cosmetic chemist. The reason she chose that was she wanted to be a doctor like her older brother, but unfortunately women weren’t allowed to be doctors back then, so her destiny I guess was set for her in terms of becoming a cosmetic chemist.
She was a real scientist, she wasn’t a marketing woman, she wasn’t a salesperson. She was happiest when she was in her lab, feeling raw materials and formulating.”
“What we’ve taken out of that time is that pivoting is not over. There’s so much change going on in this world right now, that you have to be able to run a business into the unknown and continue to change.
I think one of the things we’re most proud about during that time. Our salons were closed, the government closed them down, but we had all these thousands of therapists with amazing knowledge basically sitting at home, so we trained them to be able to step out of their stores and salons and to be able to educate people and connect with people on social media and that turned into our influencer strategy that still exists today.”
Lean into learning
“One of the things I have done for the last six years is I’ve had the privilege to go to Harvard every January. I spend a week locked down with 100 other CEO’s who run businesses and it basically puts my brain on fire.
It’s a week that you live in the Business School at Harvard. They take in all these older executives and we get to live on campus for a week. Harvard’s all about case study learning, so you read 35 case studies and answer questions before you get on the plane. And those case studies are all the latest learnings in different parts of the business, it might be around data or AI, it might be around leading a new generation of people or finance, it covers a whole range of topics and they are real business stories.
I think most people think I’m crazy, it’s the middle of summer here, most people are lying on the beach having time off, but we’re in Boston, ten feet of snow! That’s how I start my year, I get super inspired and come back and drive my team bananas!”
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