Hotels

“We took the market by storm”: Vanity Group CEO on the company’s massive growth

Lauren Croft

Haven’t heard of Vanity Group? We don’t believe you.

Chances are, you’ll recognise (or will have used) at least one of Vanity Group’s products – they are in over 3500 hotels across 75 countries, after all.

The company launched in 2011 with one brand – Appelles Apothecary – and now have 14 under their belt:

  • Appelles Apothecary
  • Atkinsons London
  • Apotheke Brooklyn
  • Biology Smart Skincare
  • Balmain Paris Hair Couture
  • Elements, The Aromatherapy Company
  • Kevin Murphy
  • Metis Skin
  • Peter Morrissey
  • Soak Skin
  • Urban Skincare Co
  • Vivid Active
  • Vuudh
  • Zambeli

All in just seven years.

Inspired by his travels around the world, CEO and founder, Paul Tsalikis saw a gap in the market, and took a chance.

“I saw a gap in the market not only here in Australia, but also internationally for affordable luxury in the beauty cosmetic industry.

“There was an opportunity to create something that looked good, that performed, and also had the qualities and the efficacious ingredients that would deliver,” he told Travel Weekly.

“It’s interesting because a lot of people told me ‘don’t do it’, and when people tell me ‘don’t do it’, I do it. And I think that’s when you have to take a gamble, and that’s definitely one thing I learnt to do.

“That’s the first thing I’ve learnt. Take a risk.

“And if it doesn’t work out, you’ve learnt a valuable lesson. But you walk away more inspired, you walk away more knowledgeable. You might get four or five blows but then the sixth time you’re a winner,” Tsalikis added.

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According to Tsalikis, building Vanity Group from the ground up took a lot of hard work and patience, but it paid off – partly because the company’s brands are luxe and high quality, and partly because the company is completely unique.

“If I was in Dubai and I stayed at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers and I tried Appelles in my guest room, I could go online and order it and it could be on my front doorstep when I get home. And that I think – obviously now with the ease of being able to order online, and being able to ship anywhere in the world – it was a no-brainer,” Tsalikis explained.

“I’m travelling, do I really want to go to the local department store and carry two 500ml bottles of shampoo back with me? They’ll break, they’ll leak, and also they’re heavy, so that was the whole concept behind it, and it worked. And it was very successful.

“We took the market by storm because no one was doing it.”

This room-to-retail purchasing method has been successful, to say the least.

Appelles started gaining traction in the hotel industry, and eventually, Tsalikis started to create other brands to go in different styles of properties – from boutique to luxury.

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“What we found as we started growing was that Appelles wasn’t for everyone. There was no way we were going to put it into the Four Seasons and then put it into a Holiday Inn,” he said.

“It just wasn’t the right thing to do for the brand and also for the hotel. I think it would be doing a disservice to the Four Seasons if they found out that it was in a three or four-star hotel.

“It’s like the hotels are our retailer, they’re the place you do the testing and trial. And it’s the best place to do it because you’re already going to have a shower,” Tsalikis added.

But you won’t see Vanity Group’s brands in supermarkets any time soon – Tsalikis wants to keep his brands exclusive and bespoke.

“Another thing that I was very particular about was discounting. We didn’t want to be known as a discount brand and I think that is key, to keep the same level of exclusivity and integrity,” he said.

“I’ve also learnt to love what you do. You’ve got to love what you do and the industry that you’re in. And if you don’t, then get out.”

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