5 minutes with Supriya
Sometimes you really have to step outside the business to develop your skills, and bring some expertise back in-house. That’s exactly what Supriya did when she took part in the secondment programme with Founder’s Factory at Renude.
Hey Supriya! So you took a secondment with Renude. What do they do?
So, research shows that 87% of UK women feel confused when buying skincare and the average UK woman wastes about £180k in her lifetime on unused beauty products. That’s crazy! Renude uses AI technology to help identify women’s skin needs and provide them with bespoke skincare recommendations to best suit their skincare concerns.
Wow, that’s awesome! Why did you see it important to work with start-ups?
I see this as a win-win. For Renude, I was able to bring relevant industry knowledge, marketing know-how and access to a huge network of decision makers. With that, they’ve been able to count on the support of one of the biggest beauty companies in the world; L’Oréal!
For us, employees have a chance to learn new skills by experiencing different challenges and bringing this knowledge back in-house.
“It’s a great way to upskill, and an ideal situation for both parties.”
So what did you actually do on a daily basis?
That’s the beauty of working with a start-up; each day is different and you wear different hats. My main role was helping their Go-to-Market strategy, including their organic and paid channels. Working on identifying the target audience, to a comprehensive CRM and content strategy…the breadth of the role was huge. From top level strategy to actually getting your hands dirty with the execution on a tight budget, it was incredible to be able to explore each angle, which can be more challenging outside of these circumstances.
This must have had an impact on your ways of working when you got back, right?
Personally, I have seen significant changes in my working style — from being swift to agile in how I approach problem-solving. I also feel a higher degree of personal accountability for outcomes.
“Seeing the immediate impact of my actions gives me huge job satisfaction.“
With every change comes a degree of apprehension and anxiety; I don’t mind admitting that I was somewhat overwhelmed and even sceptical over the first few weeks. In hindsight, that was a necessary part of the bigger change.
You must have gained some awesome experience. What did you really take away from that?
It’s added a new dimension to my work at L’Oréal. Sometimes you need to be on the outside, to change the status quo and make lasting changes. This has a positive effect, and can bring a new energy needed when business-as-usual gets too comfortable.
Second, it gave me a new level of appreciation for entrepreneurs! It’s not always smooth sailing and big challenges pop up everyday and yet what really gets them through is their belief. I admire that tenacity and their dedication to see their ideas through.
Sounds like you’ve become an innovator yourself! What does that mean to you?
“As a mother of two, I see innovation as the rebellious younger sibling of improvement.“
An innovator challenges the status quo — that’s the generally accepted definition — but an innovator also has the childlike freedom from self-doubt to say “I don’t understand this” and “this is too complicated,” which leads to radical breakthroughs and simplifications rather than just tweaking the current state.
You’ve got some amazing experience; what are the top tips you can share?
There are so many, but these are probably my favourites:
- Get buy-in: Find someone who shares the same values as you and is willing to back your initiative. Understand how the innovation can fit into the bigger company-wide initiatives and how they can be effectively communicated.
- Fail fast: Learn how to test assumptions with an 80–20 rule and not strive for perfection.
- Get comfortable with ambiguity: The pace of new information and new ideas can be daunting. Having a framework to operate within can help structure the information thrown at you, and make decisions that you can stand behind.
- Have grit: not everyone will share your vision so just go for it!
There you go; think outside the box, use your experience in different ways and turn innovation into creation!
To find out more about L’Oréal, head over to our careers site.