Victoria Curtis is an entrepreneur challenging some of the cosmetic industry’s leading institutions. Her Australian makeup brand, Curtis Collection by Victoria, is ten years old but can now be found in over 300 locations across Australia and New Zealand.
Victoria credits a supportive family, overseas study in the USA, a dream internship, and her Swinburne double degree in Accounting and Marketing to her success.
Swinburne prepared me in the best possible way, for running my own business. The unscripted, no routine, learning environment at university, forced me to step outside my comfort zone and take the initiative to be completely self-motivated.
My time spent at university in the USA through the Swinburne exchange program was truly invaluable. I was amongst peers who were true go-getters, super confident and high achievers. They also celebrated each other's success. It was inspiring! I learnt the art of public speaking and networking which boosted my own confidence in business and in life.
My double degree gave me the tools that I required to secure a graduate position with L’Oreal Australia in their marketing department - a position which sparked my passion for the industry that my business operates in today. It gave me insight into the "behind the scenes" of the beauty world.
During this time, I identified a gap in the market. I saw an opportunity to create a skincare-based makeup product, exclusively for the salon industry, that also incorporated the look and feel of luxury designer cosmetics.
When I decided that I wanted to create my own line of cosmetics and launch my brand in the Australian market, I began to research manufacturers and worked tirelessly to source the best ingredients to create our luxurious makeup products. Traveling from London, to New York and throughout Europe I managed to bring together what I believed to be the ultimate makeup collection, and in 2010, Curtis Collection was born.
This was the moment I drew on all of the skills that I learnt during my years at Swinburne in both accounting and marketing, as well as my time spent in the USA on exchange, and finally put them into practice. I believe accounting and marketing are two crucial elements in business that must work together harmoniously.
From day one, I had a big brand mentality, which ultimately led to success. This was a key learning I took away from my time in the USA. In the early days, I made decisions for the business as if I were an established brand in the marketplace already. I was not intimidated by my competition, nor did I feel threatened by what they were doing. I stayed in my lane, focused on what made my brand unique and believed that if I worked hard enough, I might eventually be a threat to them.
Ten years on, we are the fastest growing Australian makeup brand in the salon industry with a cult following and an incredibly loyal customer base.
My advice to young entrepreneurs is, if you have an idea, don’t be afraid to take the first step. Planning is important, however having the guts to take that initial step is the key. It takes courage and self-belief. 99% of the time fear holds us back from the most exciting and rewarding opportunities in business and in life. There really is no secret to success, it’s the combination of preparation, hard work, determination and self-belief. Become relentless...if you want it, it's yours.