Defining Leadership Through Innovation with Shamini Rajarethnam
Starting her career in marketing and sales, CEO Shamini Rajarethnam has worn numerous hats during her 11-year tenure at RATIONALE; immersing herself in nearly every aspect of the business along the way. Today, she offers a glimpse into a lesser-known aspect of her journey, shedding light on her remarkable story.
I'm thrilled to introduce our wonderful CEO, Shamini Rajarethnam. Sham, or 'Oracle' as she's sometimes called, has been with RATIONALE for over 11 years. Through her truly special relationship with RATIONALE Founders Richard and Greg Parker, she has taken the brand to stratospheric heights. Sham has led our transition to Kyneton, delivered a major partnership with Korean beauty giant Amorepacific, and driven global expansion into Asia and now the USA—to name just a few accomplishments.
Welcome, Sham. So, it's something not many people know about you, but you have a lot of experience in the RATIONALE Lab. What role do you play in that?
I play the role of Chief Sticky B in this role. I have realised that I have no technical ability to add to this incredible team with everything that Richard is doing there. But I think the main role that I provide is that I ask a lot of questions. I am the exact consumer profile of a RATIONALE Client. The experience I have across the business, working with the product, and collaborating with you, for example, in education, allows me to ask a wide range of questions, which, in turn, helps the discussion on how the Formulation continues to evolve.
What does that weekly touchpoint look like for you?
We come into the Lab, and the Team usually prepares several prototypes based on a research and new product development list. They work anywhere from two to five years in advance of product launches. It's worth noting that we don't follow trends; instead, we focus on skin, the environment, and being the sole authority in what we do. So, during our lab meetings, we review the prototypes with input from various stakeholders.
Do you think it's a unique proposition for the CEO of a skincare brand to be so closely connected to product creation?
I think yes and no. The primary role of a CEO in a leadership position should involve being closely connected to the end product and the end user, which, in our case, is our consumers, Clients, agents, and Therapists. In larger companies, they may have experts in the field. But in our scenario, I find it important to have an understanding and appreciation for the process to help develop and guide it.
What have you learned through your time in the RATIONALE Lab that you're able to carry through to other areas of the business?
If I had to sum it up in one word, it's resilience. I find it applicable in everything we do. For instance, the development of #3 The Tinted Serum SPF50+ took more than two years and faced numerous roadblocks. We had moments when we questioned if it was too difficult. But we persevered, with resilience.
What does the move to Kyneton mean for the RATIONALE Lab?
It provides them with the resources they need. Our old space had become inadequate, and the new facility is state-of-the-art—offering more space and resources. It aligns with Richard's vision to delve deeper into Research and create an inspiring environment.
Now, for some rapid-fire questions. What is the best part of your job?
Honestly, the best part is working with people. I enjoy collaborating with various departments, from the lab to finance, because everyone is passionate about what they do.
How many RATIONALE products, labelled or unlabelled, are on your bathroom vanity?
I can't count them off the top of my head; there are so many little unlabelled potions.
What is your favourite active ingredient that you've learned the most about in the last couple of years?
There are many, but I particularly love the primary complexes that the team has put together for the Essential Six Collections.
Which product have you been most proud of?
I can't answer that; it's like naming a favourite child!
What's your favourite treatment to receive?
Any treatment from you!
If you could have one superhero power, what would it be and why?
It may not be super sexy, but I wish I could speak any language across the universe.
If you could choose one song to play on repeat for the rest of your life?
"Happy" by Pharrell Williams.