Mak­ing up for lost time in Greece

Napoleon Perdis finds in­spi­ra­tion for his brand in his new home

Life & Style Weekend - - READ -

FROM the mo­ment make-up be­he­moth Napoleon Perdis watched his mother ap­ply her facewear for an evening out, he was mes­merised by the trans­for­ma­tional as­pect of make-up. This fas­ci­na­tion has trans­lated into a world­wide busi­ness with more than 1000 points of sale. Af­ter years of liv­ing in the United States to ex­pand the busi­ness there, Napoleon has packed up and gone to Greece, where his wife Soula-Marie grew up. He tells Week­end what prompted the move, along with how his fam­ily in­flu­ences his work and his proud­est mo­ments in a tough busi­ness.

De­scribe how you en­tered the make-up busi­ness – was it some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

I en­tered the make-up busi­ness be­cause I was in­spired by the way make-up was trans­for­ma­tional. From the mo­ment I saw my mum trans­form from day to night, I was al­ways mes­merised and it was al­ways an in­spi­ra­tion.

De­scribe the proud­est mo­ment of your ca­reer.

The proud­est mo­ment of my ca­reer would have to be the open­ing of my store in Syd­ney’s Ox­ford Street in Padding­ton in Septem­ber of 1995. It was the begin­ning of the whole DNA of Napoleon Perdis the brand.

What was your ex­pe­ri­ence of ex­pand­ing into the Amer­i­can mar­ket? When did your first store open in Amer­ica?

My ex­pe­ri­ence of ex­pand­ing into the Amer­i­can mar­ket was that ev­ery state is a coun­try within it­self. Even though we speak the same lan­guage, you’re not nec­es­sar­ily or au­to­mat­i­cally go­ing to be un­der­stood. My first store opened in Oc­to­ber 2005, in SAKS 5th Ave, New York.

It has been re­ported in other ar­ti­cles that you be­lieved LA was not an or­ganic place for chil­dren to grow up, so was that what prompted the move back to Greece? If not, what prompted your fam­ily’s move back to Greece?

My fam­ily’s move to Greece was prompted by the fact my wife was raised in Athens un­til 14 years of age, as well as the fact our heritage is Greek; even though I’m Aus­tralian born. I wanted our chil­dren to un­der­stand and know our tra­di­tions, re­li­gion, as well as ex­pe­ri­ence what my wife’s up­bring­ing was about. In re­gards to leav­ing the United States, we didn’t have any fam­ily there, we were there pri­mar­ily for busi­ness, and yes it wasn’t or­ganic for the chil­dren to be grow­ing up in the world of Hollywood, or un­like the way my wife and I were raised. We both be­lieve in good old tra­di­tional fam­ily val­ues. We moved to Greece at the end of 2014.

How much has the Greek move in­flu­enced your prod­uct lines?

My move to Greece has tremen­dously in­flu­enced the prod­uct line. Ev­ery­thing is now based on art, cul­ture and heritage, no longer the celebrity or A-list fac­tor.

How much does your fam­ily of women in­flu­ence your prod­uct cre­ation?

My fam­ily of women in­flu­ences my prod­uct cre­ation by over 70%. They all have an opin­ion, and their opin­ions come from dif­fer­ent de­mo­graph­ics, dif­fer­ent feelings, and dif­fer­ent emo­tional con­nec­tions to a prod­uct. The process be­gins with edit­ing, then goes to our Global Make-up Artists and our Make-up Academy and it pretty much works and is pro­cessed like an Andy Warhol ma­chine.

De­scribe a par­tic­u­lar hard­ship that you have man­aged and over­come (per­sonal or pro­fes­sional).

I think pro­fes­sional hard­ships is mak­ing sure you’re bal­anc­ing cash flow, no mat­ter how big the busi­ness gets – be­cause at the end of the day Aus­tralian banking sys­tems don’t un­der­stand cre­ative busi­nesses. Mak­ing sure they un­der­stand the value of cre­ative busi­ness, re­gard­less of the fact you may be a big re­tail struc­ture, is more im­por­tant than them un­der­stand­ing you have bricks and mor­tar that you sell prod­ucts in, so that’s been a hard­ship we’ve con­stantly had to bal­ance to tell suits that there is value in the cre­ative and ser­vices sec­tor.

Your daugh­ter, Lianna, is also mak­ing her mark with To­tal Bae – please tell me a lit­tle about that, and what it’s like work­ing with your daugh­ter.

Work­ing with my daugh­ter, Lianna, has been a dream. Lianna has a very strong opin­ion, very def­i­nite view and also has a very strong eye for edit­ing and prod­uct cre­ation. To­tal Bae is one of the fran­chises and cap­sules within Napoleon Perdis. Lianna was very aware when cre­at­ing the col­lec­tion to stick to the DNA of the Napoleon Perdis brand, but ul­ti­mately she loves flesh­ing it out to in­cor­po­rate a larger mil­len­nial base.


Wife Soula-Marie Perdis, and daugh­ters (from left) Alexia, Lianna, An­ge­lene and Athina with Napoleon Perdis.

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