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This week, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Nicola Kilner, CEO and co-founder of Deciem, umbrella company to cult-favorite skin-care brand The Ordinary. Kilner discusses why demand should lead product supply, why fashion retailers make good partners and how Deciem is faring following founder Brandon Truaxe’s removal from the company and subsequent death early this year. Edited highlights below.

Deciem after Brandon Truaxe:
“Many companies say they have family values and are family-driven, but we really were a family, and Brandon was kind of the father figure of our family. Everyone had so much love for him, and [it’s hard] when you see someone you all love so dearly struggling, and you’re all powerless — everything possible was done behind the scenes to try to help. But the team is more resilient than ever and more committed than ever. Brandon had an incredible vision. He believed in always doing good by our consumers, by our team, by people that used to support us. He believed in honesty, transparency, science and pushing boundaries. And we will continue his legacy.”

Letting demand lead supply:
“The worst thing that can happen for any brand is if you’re taking up space [in a store], and you’re not doing the dollars per inch, or whatever has been calculated that you need to sell. It puts horrible pressure on you that can then force the wrong decisions, because then you have to start thinking about, ‘Do we need to discount?’ and ‘Do we need to do this?’ We would always prefer to start with a smaller space, prove our productivity and then build up from there. As Leonard Lauder said, ‘Let demand lead supply.'”

On non-traditional retail channels:
“We’ve found that we do a really good business partnering with fashion retailers. Asos is actually one of our largest accounts. It sells one The Ordinary product every 30 seconds, and one in ten of its shipments contains The Ordinary, which is just amazing. especially when we talk about redefining the industry — beauty doesn’t have to just be in the beauty aisle. By making it accessible, we can go to fashion retailers and other places where we know people are going. Humans want great skin care, so let’s go where humans go and rethink all of the traditional elements.”

Wholesale vs. DTC
“Around this time a year ago, direct-to-consumer was 50% of our business, but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. The reason why it was 50% was because we just didn’t have enough stock to supply everyone. It almost became that our website was, kind of, the last man standing — it was always the first [channel] to get the stock, because we were like, ‘If we can at least keep one place stocked with everything, it will be helpful for the consumers.’ Now, as we get into a better place with our production and with our stock, it means we can actually serve our retail partners a lot better — that, in turn, is better for the consumers. We’re a brand first, not a retailer. So we like our retail partners having a good share of the business, because we think it’s probably what’s in the best interest of the consumer — to allow them the right accessibility to buy from their preferred partners, if they’re in loyalty programs, for example.”