Jo Horgan, Founder and Co-CEO, MECCA Brands

As a young woman, Jo Horgan loved wearing makeup but dreaded buying it. She found high-pressure sales tactics from department store assistants to be intimidating. Instead, she saw a business opportunity in making women feel empowered when buying cosmetics. So Jo sold her house to raise funds and founded Melbourne-based MECCA Brands in 1997. She opened her first boutique on the city’s Toorak Road, stocking seven upmarket beauty brands that customers could choose according to their needs.

Today, MECCA Brands has a 25% share of the prestige cosmetics market, stocking more than 150 brands. The company has more than 100 stores around Australia and New Zealand and employs more than 3,000 people. Jo believes that empowering her employees is just as important as empowering her customers. MECCA sets aside more than 2% of the company’s annual turnover for team training. Jo is looking forward to her next challenge: “cracking the global market — online as a first step and then creating flagship stores in key markets.”

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