THE PER­FECT TOUCH

Napoleon Perdis is a master of de­fy­ing STEREO­TYPES, turn­ing a child­hood love for do­ing his mother’s MAKEUP in sub­ur­ban Syd­ney into a global COS­MET­ICS EM­PIRE.

Collective Hub - - / 5 MINS WITH - WORDS NI­COLE SINGH

Ever since he picked up his first blush brush in his early teens, Napoleon Perdis has been hooked. A pas­sion for cre­at­ing a per­fectly blended con­tour and dewy glow led him to se­cure a AU$30,000 loan from his father to open his first store in 1995. Fast-for­ward nearly two decades and his prod­ucts have been perched on shelves ev­ery­where from Bergdorf Good­man and Neiman Mar­cus to his epony­mous stores dot­ted around Aus­tralia – not to men­tion re­cently an­nounced plans to ex­pand into the Mid­dle East. Here, Napoleon tells his story so far…

ON SATUR­DAY AF­TER­NOONS, WHEN I WOULD FIN­ISH MY GREEK DANC­ING LESSONS,

I would go down to my father’s shop on the cor­ner of El­iz­a­beth and Liver­pool Street [in Syd­ney] to al­low my mum to go home and pre­pare for Satur­day night, whether it was to go out or [to] pre­pare a home­cooked din­ner… My mum let me do her makeup at around 13 or 14 years old and I loved that; that I was kind of able to do my first makeover.

I SAID TO MY FATHER THAT MOST GREEK DADS GIVE THEIR SONS SUP­PORT,

and just be­cause I want to do makeup doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sup­port me. When I told him that, he felt the obli­ga­tion to sup­port me [fi­nan­cially].

GET­TING THE BRAND INTO BERGDORF GOOD­MAN AND NEIMAN MAR­CUS WAS A VERY BIG HIGH­LIGHT OF MY CA­REER.

They are pre­sented so many brands ev­ery week – in fact, I think they have three or four buy­ers that get three or four pre­sen­ta­tions per day, four days a week. [It helped] that Napoleon Perdis is not only global in its look, but also in how amaz­ing the prod­uct is, and how well I work with my labs and my chemists to de­velop prod­uct to that level of ex­cel­lence.

ONE OF MY MEN­TORS IS MICHAEL EISNER,

who was head of Dis­ney. He took Dis­ney from [be­ing worth] US$80 mil­lion to more than US$80 bil­lion. I’ve learnt from him that every­thing is achiev­able and you have to be open to every­thing. Some­times the best sto­ries are not the ob­vi­ous ones, but the ones where the devil is in the de­tail.

I THINK THE HARD­EST LES­SON IS TO LEARN HOW TO MAN­AGE AND UN­DER­STAND PEO­PLE.

Even when you may be busy and may not have time, you al­ways need to make time. Mak­ing time for peo­ple and un­der­stand­ing peo­ple is ac­tu­ally re­ally im­por­tant in ev­ery type of re­la­tion­ship, and busi­ness is just one of those re­la­tion­ships.

MY BIG­GEST AD­VICE IS TO JUST DO A LOT OF RE­SEARCH,

do a lot of tax plan­ning and make sure that you’re pre­pared for the long haul, be­cause it’s a lot of hard work and it takes a lot from you per­son­ally.

I’M AT A STAGE IN MY LIFE WHERE I JUST WANT TO BE THE BEST THAT I CAN.

If the best means ex­pan­sion, we’ll ex­pand, if the best means bet­ter prod­uct and more new tech­nol­ogy, then we’ll do that. If the best means look­ing at dif­fer­ent ways of mar­ket­ing, we’ll do that. I just want to be the best at what I do.

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