As a consultant, I have had the opportunity to work across a number of different organisations and industries. I have also experienced many different company cultures, but few could stack up with Ella Bache, where I recently worked with on a marketing project. Only days after returning from a trip, Expert360 offered me a contract with a major skin care brand in Sydney and jumped straight on a plane from Perth. From the outside, the office building is unassuming. As I entered, I was greeted by a beige and black pug in the stairwell, his name, I later learned was Hugo and he and his part-time playmate Indi are part of the team at EB HQ. That’s right - the company had a policy that allowed employees to bring their dog to work.
Hugo may have been the first team member I met at Ella Bache and he is also a testament to the culture of the organization. As I walked up to the stairs to reception on level 1, the bright coloured and quirky artwork resonated and inspired me - this was my style of the office.
I dove straight into work with the marketing team: a young, dynamic team of women and despite the intense pace, Ella Bache has a relaxed, quirky and creative approach to getting business done - a far cry from The Devil Wears Prada, which is what comes to mind when I imagined working in fashion and beauty would be like. A little known story is that Ella Bache is a third generation family business. Madame Bache was a chemist in Paris who formulated skin care tailored to individual skin. Fast track 60 years and CEO, Pippa Hallas (the great niece of Edith Hallas who brought the product to Australia) is the face of the predominantly female organisation that includes over 160 franchises and David Jones counters as well as a national beauty college (online and on campus).
Now the thing that first struck me about Pippa in my early weeks in the organisation was her authenticity. Despite her schedule, Pippa is always open to having a chat, would regularly call into the marketing team on her (limited) lunch break to see how we were tracking (or what's for lunch) and very open to receiving feedback from her team. She even followed my University of Sydney MBA capstone project with interest, giving feedback and genuinely trying to find a commercial solution! Pippa’s openness, directness, and willingness to mentor other women make her a fabulous leader and one that stands out among the many I have worked with. Pippa’s leadership drives a culture of innovation that makes me and her team (which extends beyond the corporate office to salon owners) want to be part of the brand’s success. The team are empowered to take an idea and execute it – never a dull moment, in three short months I worked with the team to deliver a range of campaign content, marketing assets (for the brand and salons) as well as Ella Bache’s exhibits at David Jones Vogue Fashion Night Out and Business Chicks (Melbourne and Sydney). At Ella Bache, it is not only about making people feel beautiful, through the treatments offered at salons and David Jones counters, it is about educating young women to achieve their dreams - the Ella Bache college offers internationally accredited Diplomas in Beauty Therapy and the corporate office is committed to supporting salon owners in thriving in business.