When we sat down with two of the founders of Melbourne-based skincare brand Sukin in Issue 21, it became clear that for these two, a successful brand is about so much more than appearances. Siblings Alison Goodger and Simon O’Connor stand their ground when it comes to what their company stands for.
“I think you have a positive position or a negative position,” says Alison. “There are no blurred lines for that.”
Sukin’s a company that has their ethos down pat – carbon neutrality, exclusively using natural ingredients and absolutely no animal testing are non-negotiables – but we wanted to dig deeper into how the company operates behind closed doors. To get an insider’s perspective, we sat down with Marketing Manager, Amy Eleftheriadis, who revealed what makes Sukin’s office culture so unique is, ironically, where they do blur the lines.
Tell us about the team/staff culture at Sukin and what do you think sets it apart?
We’re a small team at Sukin! We’re close knit, and love to laugh. It’s a relaxed atmosphere in the sense that no one is looking over your shoulder, but everyone knows what needs to be done. We all share the same ethic in regards to wearing multiple hats and shifting roles where required. It’s not a case of set job descriptions, and the close relationship that we have means there’s always that overarching support and teamwork that allows us to operate such a large ship quite comfortably with a small group of people.
We’re not driven by process, which I think ultimately is what sets us apart. It allows us to be reactive, quick on our feet, and means we’re always getting the best out of everyone.
What’s the most unconventional thing about Sukin’s office?
Its so difficult to pinpoint because so much of what happens is a natural occurrence, so for us it is conventional! Perhaps the blurred lines between roles here is what is most ‘unconventional.’ Our company directors answer the phone, and take customer enquiries and our marketing team goes into the warehouse to pack orders during busy times. Our sales director has been known to post to Instagram if he has something to share! Projects don’t move through ranks, we just all have our part to play in them, and that changes from project to project.
It’s also not uncommon to have Angus or Archie (our resident French Bulldogs) wander into meetings, or to hear grunting or snoring from under your desk because they’ve found a place to take a nap.
Why is culture important, and how does it align with the products you create?
For me, and I know for everyone at Sukin, learning is key. To constantly be learning and growing means you always develop and progress in what you do. By having our hands in multiple tasks and projects, we grow and learn and discover more about the business every day.That 360 degree view of how a company operates is really rare, but we maintain it keeps us close to the ground.
Describe the Sukin office. What can you see/hear/smell?
We have a small office with all desks/offices looking into the centre, and we get a lot of light coming through. We’re near the airport so generally we can either hear lorry trucks or planes flying over. There’s always laughter, lots and lots of it, and with a team of foodies you can always smell something delicious like toast or veggies roasting. For a lot of the day it’s ‘heads down’, but if a new sample comes in, or we get packaging proofs or something arrives, we generally huddle to see what it is.
Sukin is a family-owned business. Do you think this affects the office morale, and if so, in what ways?
We’re treated like family here and that obviously is going to affect the overall work ethic. We all work for Sukin as if it is our own business, and with that often comes the ups and downs which we all get to share in. In terms of how we relate to each other, well our personalities and needs are considered and addressed individually, as a family would do with each member of it. Different working styles and approaches are taken into account and I think that leads to an increased sense of gratification and satisfaction here.
Read our interview with Sukin’s founders Alison and Simon in Issue 21 of The Collective, on sale now.