Shelley Barrett, ModelCo on IT business strategy

Shelley Barrett ModelCo CEO

Getting a tan these days is now easier more than ever. No more spreading staining brown lotion all over your body and hands, just spray the tan from a can on yourself. Genius! The simple idea of a Tan in a Can is what propelled ModelCo and CEO Shelley Barrett into the frontier of the cosmetics and beauty industry worldwide. Now, ten years on and still going strong, Shelley has managed to continue to innovate her business and brand, now spanning 11 countries and 150 stores!

It’s not easy being a market leader, particularly in a time of constant tech innovation and the transformation of online media. We had the lucky chance to learn from Shelley about how she uses technology to her advantage. She reveals how she continues to innovate with ModelCo by leveraging technology and enhancing ModelCo’s IT business strategy, as well as sharing with us her five favourite apps!

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Q. Since launching ModelCo in 2002, in what ways have you leveraged technology over the years to build up the company and brand? What would you recommend other businesses to start doing?

It’s very important to stay ahead of the competition and keep an open mind about how things are changing. When I started ModelCo 10 years ago, there certainly wasn’t the social media influence that there is now. I have worked hard to upskill and learn new technologies as well as hire staff that are specialised in areas that I am not. Next to our top traditional retailers, our online store is fast becoming our biggest store and a lot of this business comes through referrals via Facebook, Twitter and other social channels and we’re constantly developing and bettering the site to make it more consumer friendly. Businesses need to be aware of the way the world is shopping and keep up with the play or they will be left behind.

Q. What are your top five tech products, apps or websites that you simply can’t live without on a daily basis?

I have recently joined Instagram and I love it! It’s a great way to connect with friends, fans, customers and other businesses. It’s organic, timely and very real which I love. Dropbox is definitely a favourite as I am often working on the run or remotely. It lets me store all of my documents and share them easily via computer, iPhone and iPad. The Woolworths app – it lets me shop straight from my phone! It tells me which fruit and vegies are fresh and in season and I can conveniently send a shopping list to the online store and my groceries are delivered fresh to my door. I also read international newspapers online every morning – The Daily Mail and New York Times are two of my must-reads.

Q. What advice would you give to others trying to start their own business in today’s world?

In today’s world it is imperative to have experience and an understanding of online. No retail business will survive without an online presence.

Q. Do you have any IT lessons you have learned along the way with innovating ModelCo?

The key to launching real innovation is ‘education’! Consumers love a new product or idea or fun beauty gadgets however you really need to educate them on how to use this product properly and provide clear instructions. We use our website as way to showcase a number of different educational videos and provide detailed product information so the customer has clarity on how to use our innovative products, what the key features are and why they need this product.

Q. You’re about to relaunch your online store and a shopping mobile app. Can you tell us how you have learned to move with the times and when to apply new technologies to one’s IT business strategy?

ModelCo’s strategy has always been to be ahead of the competitors in terms of innovation. Every beauty brand has an online store these days but what hasn’t been done yet is to push the boundaries beyond an online store. We saw a gap in the market to create an experience and that’s what we will deliver. It’s about being aware of what’s in the market and more importantly, what hasn’t been done yet. We try to create what women want, before they know they want it.

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Thanks Shelley for providing us such great insight into how she has leveraged technology to helping ModelCo grow and succeed in today’s competitive market!

2 replies on “Shelley Barrett, ModelCo on IT business strategy

  • Janine Earl

    Great article and insights! We have been using ModelCo products in our Powder Rooms for a couple of years now and love the brand (very similar to ours!)
    We love fun beauty gadgets and only provide our guests and customers with the best on the market so was excited to come across this interview with the founder. Although we’re not a retailer, being an experience based service, I agree that social media is a huge part of connecting with your customers and education is key!

  • Helen

    Thanks Janine! It’s great to hear that you found Shelley’s insights useful and relatable – it’s still surprising when you come across many companies that refuse to touch this area of marketing!

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