Hannah Stacey
Hannah Stacey
Posted 07 October 2019

Beating the Seasonal Slump: an interview with Lifecycle19 speaker Charlotte Ashton of Latest in Beauty

Lifecycle19 is just a month away, and will bring together over 300 retail marketers to learn from the best brands in retention marketing, including Hotel Chocolat, Moonpig and Feelunique.

In the run up to the big day, we’ll be interviewing some of our keynote and panel speakers. This is a chance to learn a little more about their role, their challenges and what they’re excited to share with you in October. To grab your Lifecycle19 tickets, head over to the site.

Our first interview is with Charlotte Ashton of Latest in Beauty , who will on a panel .

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and the company you work for

I’m Managing Director at Latest in Beauty, one of the UK’s leading online beauty subscription platforms.
I’ve previously lived and worked in Madrid and as a language enthusiast, I’m a member of The British-Spanish Society in London, where I enjoy using my language skills and developing my understanding of Spanish customs and culture. I’m passionate about sports and enjoy a physical challenge. I’ll be competing in my second cross-country ski marathon in Switzerland in March!

Latest in Beauty was founded in 2008 by CEO Nort Janssen. I joined the company over 7 years ago and have been a key part in the evolution of the company as it has developed into the established digital platform it is today. I’ve had to be ambitious as I’ve grown with the business, and with my experience in sales, eCommerce strategy and operations, I’m now responsible for managing the business & overall company performance. I’ve a deep understanding of the beauty box market and the competitive environment that exists. I have a passion for beauty and consider myself lucky to be a part of such a thriving and important industry.

What are the 3 challenges you face most in your role?

1. Seasonality: As a seasonal business, there is a need to constantly work hard to ensure good cashflow management throughout the year, to deliver our top line whilst working to improve our bottom line. As a small business, it’s important for effective management, to continue to push the team to plan and prepare in as much advance as possible, so that we don’t bottle neck into our busiest Q4.

2. Day-to-day vs. the bigger picture: It’s easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day and lose focus of the bigger picture, and driving company strategies towards growth & increased profitability.

3. Products underselling/ a campaign under-performing and the impact of that on the business: At Latest in Beauty, every campaign matters, and the performance of one single campaign can have huge impact on turnover. As such, forecasting and monitoring weekly is crucial, so we can deliver targets week-on-week and respond to under performance when needed.

Are you an avid conference goer? Whether yes or no, what attracted you to Lifecycle19, in particular?

I’m not ab avid goer but I absolutely see the value in attending such conferences. Bringing industry experts together to connect and share experiences, to enable them with ideas and learnings that can be implemented across one’s own business is certainly valuable. It offers a great way to network, meeting like-minded people and industry peers. But as I’m sure many senior management people find, my attendance is largely impacted by a lack of time.

I was particularly interested in the Lifecycle19 conference not just because we work with Ometria as our CRM platform, but with such a varied group of speakers and panellists. I’m interested in shared experiences within the retail community, learning from those and looking at what we can take away from the conference to apply to our own marketing and business.

What do you hope attendees take away from your panel?

The panel discussion will hopefully enable attendees to learn from shared experiences within the retail space.Latest in Beauty implements a promotional strategy that allows our company to deliver on forecast without impacting the bottom line or squeezing margins. We develop a strategy that leans towards offers and promotions, rather than discounting.

I hope the panel discussion will encourage attendees to take careful consideration of their business and assess what promotional and seasonal strategy best fits their business. There is no right or wrong, but it will be a case of understanding your customers and the way they shop and respond in order to best develop your seasonal strategy.

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