Growing up in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Erica Galea had a charmed childhood riding bikes, having secret hideouts in local bushland and swimming in creeks. The busy mother of two teens landed in a marketing career almost accidentally, but is thankful she did, having the opportunity to work with some incredible companies and people; including her current role as Marketing Manager with Chemcorp International, where with around 20 brands in the portfolio, no two days are ever quite the same.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN WHEN YOU BEGAN YOUR CAREER?
That creating boundaries is OK and a healthy thing to do. When I started working; particularly the early days of my marketing career, there was still a culture of burning the candle at both ends and I carried this through several roles. You took your cues from everyone around you and just did what they did. I’ll admit it was only after a particular incident working with a global company (I read a very toxic email late at night our time and spent the entire night being unable to sleep) that I actively started being firm about the creation of personal boundaries. Thankfully over the years I have had the pleasure of working for some amazing mentors, who by their own setting of boundaries, taught me just how important and healthy this is. There has been a shift in culture since I started in the workforce. There is a lot more research and education around workplace wellbeing. Fostering this really leads to a much more positive and productive workplace, so it’s always something I try to be mindful with my colleagues.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WEEKDAY LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
I’m a super early bird. On weekday (and mostly weekend) mornings, my alarm goes off anywhere between 4:30 – 5:30 am. I always consider this part of the day my selfcare. Exercising in the morning is a great way to set up for the day, it leaves me energised and because I’ve done ‘my thing’ for the day, I’m ready to hand myself over to everyone else. I usually race to get home, eat a second breakfast, get ready and head to work, almost always with a school drop off and coffee pickup, on the way. Once I am in the door at work, I’m in the door. There are no slow days at Chemcorp International! With 20 brands in our portfolio, there is always something happening, and every day can be completely different. I work alongside a brand manager, two digital marketers and a creative team. We have hands across everything from product development to trade marketing, consumer advertising to e-commerce. One day we could be on a shoot, the next at a manufacturer premises product testing. We could be in the office pulling together retail review presentations and working on trade marketing assets or developing a launch strategy for a new brand or product launch. It’s an all-in and hands-on role. Which is what makes it so exciting. I also work closely with our sales team, who have accounts across Australia’s leading beauty retailers and hold a position on the executive team; I love working for a company where I feel active in helping to develop and activate growth objectives.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS YOU’VE HAD AT CHEMCORP?
There are so many. But from a marketing perspective it was bringing Sam & Nic Chapman of Real Techniques to Australia for Priceline. They were incredible women, and it was fantastic bringing makeup workshops to life with the Priceline team, as well as hosting media and influencers at events in Sydney and Melbourne. Other highlights have included working with our Creative Lead, Susanna Dale, to refresh own brands and seeing this deliver brand success. From a business perspective, being involved in the overall growth of the company is also a highlight.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU’VE HAD AT CHEMCORP?
The biggest challenge I face is the desire to do too many things, and not having enough hours in the day or week to make them all happen. There really is nothing more motivating than being able to see opportunities and nothing more frustrating than when you can’t make them happen as fast as you’d like. As for many businesses, the impacts of Covid-19 globally have been challenging too. Thankfully, our business has continued to see strong results but getting stock, both in terms of manufacture and also shipping into Australia, continues to be a challenge.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ‘FAILURE’, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
Whilst working with Dyson, there was a culture that came from James Dyson, of not failing but finding ways not to do things again. This is a learning I try to remind myself of when the little things go wrong, whether for myself or someone else in the team or business, because inevitably they do. Fail fast, learn fast and fast forward.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WANTING TO PURSUE A CAREER SIMILAR TO YOURS?
Just get started. Find people in your dream role and ask them to spend some time with you to give you guidance. People are willing to help other people, you just need to ask. Some voluntary work experience to build your experience, skills and showcase your willingness to learn. I still to this day remember hearing Mia Freeman talk about her start in magazines – it was inspiring (if you don’t know the story, be sure to look it up). And I think have an open mindset about starting at the bottom and doing your time. It’s actually a great way to become really all rounded.
WHAT ARE THE BEST RESOURCES THAT HAVE HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
The best resources have been people. I can’t recommend enough reaching out to people who are in similar roles or industries, or who are in roles and industries you aspire to be in and asking for some time to either discuss their journey or to potentially act as a mentor. A lot of professional bodies offer mentor programs. And with so much information available online, including sites like LinkedIn, it is easier than ever to find and connect with people. Other great resources are professional groups on LinkedIn, industry newsletters, podcasts, etc. There are always opportunities to learn and grow, it’s simply up to each of us to take them.
WHO ARE THE THREE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THE MOST INFLUENTIAL TO YOU?
It may be entirely clichéd, but I would have to start with my parents. Whilst I probably did not appreciate it at the time, they are the people who ultimately helped shape a lot of my life perspective through belief in me, support, and love. My kids would be the other most influential people in my life. Being a parent, and wanting to lead by example, influences me each day to be the best person I can be. In terms of my career, perhaps most influential person was an ex-boss who made some unfounded assessments of me not long after starting in a role. I remember leaving (in tears) and being ready to resign because he had made me feel so bad. But instead, I confronted him the following day with a solid case against what he had said and set out my expectations of how I expected to be treated. It was empowering to stand up for myself in that way. I think it gave me a new respect for myself. It was a big lesson.
WHAT’S YOUR HERO BEAUTY PRODUCT?
1000HOUR Lash & Brow Dark Brown is a hero product for me. I love that I can quickly and easily touch up my brows at home. SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Treatment Masque. My hairdresser asked what I was using my hair felt so good. Bathefex Epsom Salt (Active Recovery – Lemon Myrtle) – this is more wellness than beauty, but I feel more beautiful when I am looking after myself holistically.
This article was frist published in the Spring issue of Retail Beauty.