December 01, 2016
Thibaudeau Takes on Top Job at Jamberry
by Emily Reagan
A new CEO is taking the helm at Jamberry, which has built a salesforce of more than 100,000 Independent Consultants since its nail products began appearing in social media feeds a few years ago.
In October, the family-owned enterprise named Elizabeth Thibaudeau as its new chief executive. Thibaudeau has considerable experience in direct sales, having spent the past 20 years with one of the channel’s leading skincare and nutrition companies. Most recently, she held the title of Vice President, Global Marketing, overseeing all brand and marketing functions. There she also helped to develop a strategic product platform and umbrella category brand that has generated billions in revenue over the past decade.
At Jamberry, Thibaudeau succeeds Adam Hepworth, who has led the company from its inception and will remain a board member and major shareholder. His wife, Christy, co-founded Jamberry in 2010 with her two sisters, Lyndsey Ekstrom and Keri Evans. The brand is known for its do-it-yourself nail wraps, which are applied using a heat and pressure technique. In addition to a wide range of original designs, Jamberry has worked with the likes of Disney and the NFL to introduce special themed collections.
The Utah company has experienced rapid growth, propelled by early adoption of social media and online parties, which allow Consultants to reach an exponentially larger audience than traditional home parties. As it looks to the future, Jamberry will draw upon Thibaudeau’s “expertise, leadership, and experience building direct sales,” Hepworth said in the company’s announcement. DSN recently spoke to Thibaudeau about her new role and what’s in store for this up-and-coming direct seller.
DSN: As someone with considerable experience in the direct sales channel, what made you want to join this particular company?
ET: I was initially intrigued by the extremely innovative nail wrap product; I’d never seen anything like it and genuinely believe it appeals to a broad and diverse audience. During the interview process I was gifted a basket of products and accessories. I took these home and it felt like Christmas morning as my daughters and I circled around the Jamberry goodies and began doing our nails. My 15-year-old daughter was an instant application pro, and she was able to coach me while I applied the nail wrap for the first time. It was at that moment I could see why and how our decorative nail wraps are perfect for the party model.
I was also enamored with the passion of the field leaders. I immediately felt a strong affinity towards our consultants. Perhaps it’s an innate connection, because it’s women connecting with women and we relate to each other in a powerful way. We are all CEOs making positive impacts in our respective worlds, and then collectively in the Jamberry world, globally. I know we will do amazing things together.
DSN: Thus far, what is your favorite aspect of the job?
ET: I’m actually more of an introvert, but as I stepped into this new role I soon realized how important developing meaningful connections with the entire team will be to accomplishing our goals. I love interacting with the employees and the consultants. I derive so much energy from their enthusiasm and passion it literally fuels me. It’s humbling to think that I’m responsible for creating the culture of the company. I’m a sponge right now, trying to study best practices from industry icons.
DSN: What objectives are top of mind as you take on the role of CEO?
ET: Consultant success is my priority No. 1. Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to travel to different events in both the United States and Australia, to meet with our consultants. Each person I met with, regardless of the country, shared a common passion and enthusiasm for helping women make life beautiful. This reaffirmed my reason for coming to Jamberry. Our internal strategic filter is “does this contribute to the success of our consultants?” If the answer to that is “no,” then we need to rethink and refocus our work. Key objectives are to strengthen our foothold in existing markets; dominate the nail, hand and foot care categories; exponentially scale the reach of our consultants; and modernize the home party.
DSN: As you think about the next couple of years, what does it mean to “modernize the home party”?
ET: I can’t give away all of our secrets…
DSN: In recent years Jamberry has experienced rapid growth, and the pains that come with it. What steps are you taking to prepare for the next stage of growth?
ET: We are solidifying technical systems architecture and global operations capabilities to support our ability to double and even triple our business over the next few years.
DSN: In light of that growth, is Jamberry looking to upsize manufacturing facilities or corporate offices?
ET: We run a tight ship and have an extremely dedicated workforce who are all deeply committed to our mission. We have approximately 250 employees globally and leverage external partners when we need to flex during high-demand seasons. We are continually assessing the needs of the company and have committed to fully investing in our employees and in producing the highest quality product available on the market.
DSN: Jamberry’s international expansion has taken place largely within the past year. Where is the company gaining traction, and where do you see potential for future expansion?
ET: We’re currently focused on strengthening our existing markets. We believe we haven’t even begun to maximize our potential in the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, and the U.K. markets.
DSN: As a company that has had considerable success with virtual parties, what trends is Jamberry seeing in social media, and how could they impact the business?
ET: Social is just getting more social. The one thing we’ve learned over the past couple of years is that you can never truly replace face to face with a digital solution. We are partnering with our consultants to leverage the best of both worlds for a more “digical” interaction (digital + physical) to enhance the overall customer experience and facilitate a more fluid selling and recruiting process. Our goal is to enable our consultants to improve both trial and repeat so they are building sustainable businesses.
DSN: What percentage of sales is coming from virtual parties versus face-to-face transactions?
ET: It’s about 50/50 at this point.
DSN: Along with its signature nail wraps, Jamberry has branched into other hand and nail care offerings. Is the company exploring additional products or categories?
ET: We are exploring all opportunities, but see an immediate opportunity in dominating the nail, hand and foot care space.
DSN: Going forward, what do you see as Jamberry’s most significant opportunity?
ET: Jamberry will become a household name. Our product literally sells itself and we enjoy immense loyalty to our brand. We plan to leverage those intangibles to catapult us into the next wave of growth.
DSN: What is your favorite Jamberry nail wrap design?
ET: Copper Glam!