Jo Horgan’s tender age and Education
Her dream of having an empire in the cosmetic business started way back when she was still young, watching her mum apply make-ups at their home in London, England. Sitting with her at those old-fashioned tables she’d chat all along with her as it was so special to her. The family left for Australia from the UK when she was still young, at 14 and settled at Perth. She never in her mind figured to work in a cosmetic shop, though she liked very much to apply make-up on herself, just like other teenagers.
Before working for L’Oreal, in London, she graduated from a particular school in Perth, joining Western Australia University where she studied and had it done for masters at Boston University. After all these, she went back to Melbourne for easy commuting to Australia.
Her interest in L’Oreal was in marketing strategy rather than makeup thing. This happened to be a crash course for her straightening path in business and entrepreneurship.
She had a pretty idea in her mind to lay down makeup business foundation since she drew most of the ideas from her working with the L’Oreal company. By then she was just 29 years and knew everything about the young makeup lovers needs in the market
Starting her own business
At this level, she knew she will have to incur some risks, though she took a step of faith and launched her own company, which called Mecca. This happened after quitting her project management job at French cosmetics giant L’Oreal. She had to sell her home in order to raise more capital, opening her first boutique in the City upmarket, South Yarra suburb, selling cosmetic brands such as Urban Decay, Stila, Nars, etc.
Now 49, she proposes that at different brands there is need to have the concessions or counters, as the customers need to be precise when getting exactly what they need. The company has grown 21 years down the line.
Challenges in the business and how she dealt with them
After she started her business, the Australian dollar dropped, making it hard for her to purchase outside products of which were in demand to customers. The cost of goods was doubling and it was hard for her to explain to the esteemed customers, and she was only left with a choice to cut her profits.
Otherwise, she says this was the best lesson for startup entrepreneurs to have in mind in order to cope with it in the future. Now it is viable to make changes to the business whenever the related issue shows up, as she says, “That sharpened my mind incredibly.”
Another big challenge was French cosmetics store giant Sephora, which arrived in 2014, launched in Australia, and had 13 outlets countrywide. In comparison to Sephora, Mecca has a 3% market share and 70 plus stores while Sephora has 1% market share and 13 stores. “Bring it on. I think every day brings enormous challenges and our goal – like Survivor is outlived, outplay and outlast.” Ms. Horgan said this as she always welcomes the new challenge every day for her business to grow.
Growth of Mecca
Social media is the only tool it has used to grow more and more, from bigger to biggest. Mecca used the likes of Facebook and Instagram to connect with customers and promotions. It has got over nine million views on its webpage in a single month.
In order to offer an absolute benchmark, Mecca through Ms. Horgan stands out from its competitors as it offers a good customer service, and 2500 employees of the company are trained by 3% of its turnover.
To stand out from where she is right now, she had to choose the right people alongside her. She chose her husband who she met while still studying in the US in their 20s, and are blessed with two sons, and Mecca’s owner Peter Wetenhall, who joined as a full time as a co-chief executive in 2005. The following clip explains how she came up with the idea of setting up the Mecca Cosmetic brand.
In order to be strong according to her, she had to recruit strong people around her, giving them enough room to learn the way she did it. Live your dream.#Rewordit