It’s no secret that “making it” when you start your own business isn’t easy. However, Gillian Franklin, an inductee into our Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame, is one of the few who has made it to the top of her industry. She has a great story and gives some great advice. Gillian is recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative marketers with a passion and commitment to supporting women in business. She is Managing Director of her own company – The Heat Group Pty Ltd – one of Australia’s leading personal care companies and is an accomplished Company Director. During the 13 years that The Heat Group has been in operation, Gillian has grown the company from five employees working out of a coffee shop, to a robust, well resourced company of around 140 employees, complete with its own warehouse and distribution facility, currently distributing some of the world’s leading cosmetic brands. The portfolio includes Max Factor and COVERGIRL (from Procter & Gamble), Bourjois, Essence, Jeanne Arthes fragrances and The Heat Group’s own brands Ulta3, Billie Goat Soap, and MUD Makeup Design. Under Gillian’s leadership, sales of Max Factor and COVERGIRL have increased 86 per cent in Australia, in a market that has only grown by half that rate in the same period. Both Max Factor and COVERGIRL now rank in the top six brands in the Australian cosmetic market.
Another noteworthy success is the Ulta3 brand, now the number 1 nail brand in Australia contributing to the Heat Group’s turnover of approximately $130 million retail sales. Gillian sites Hugh Morgan AC, Chairman of her company and Ron Walker AC CBE as her mentors. Gillian also gives some sound advice for those just starting up in the business world. Surround Yourself With the Best Mentors – Invite experts to sit on your board of directors, and ask others for advice in a less formal arrangement. Think Big! – The heat group was told that we could never take on the big boys. We pitched and won a major cosmetics contract over several larger distributors. Never Let Other People Define Who or What You Are – Don’t listen when they tell you it can’t be done – do it anyway and prove them wrong.