In the competitive and fast-paced beauty and wellness industry, WelleCo stands as a testament to innovation and quality. This remarkable achievement and sustained success is predominantly due to the visionary leadership of CEO Leighton Richards, whose extensive corporate experience across various high-profile companies has shaped the company’s strategic direction and growth. His leadership, combined with the influential presence of co-founder Elle Macpherson, has positioned WelleCo at the forefront of the wellness revolution.

Leighton’s journey through the corporate world has been marked by a series of diverse roles, each contributing significantly to his holistic approach at WelleCo. Sharing insights from his rich experience, Leighton said that each role in his career had been a building block towards where he was today.

“It’s the culmination of these diverse experiences that has crafted my approach at WelleCo,” he said. “Navigating the complexities of customer behaviours and preferences in the ever-changing beauty and wellness sector has been a key learning experience. This journey has honed my skills in adaptability and innovation, which are essential in my role at WelleCo.”

The onset of the Covid-19 outbreak presented a multitude of challenges, but under Leighton’s leadership, WelleCo navigated these with remarkable resilience and agility. Reflecting on this period, Leighton said “the pandemic was uncharted territory for us all”.

“It was a time of great uncertainty, demanding rapid adaptation and strategic foresight,” he said. “We faced significant challenges, particularly in supply chain management and transitioning to digital platforms. Our response required a blend of agility, innovation, and resilience, ensuring our supply chain remained robust and our customer engagement strong.”

A pivotal moment in WelleCo’s journey under Leighton’s tenure was the strategic collaboration with Chemist Warehouse.  This partnership was not just a business decision but a strategic alignment with shared values and vision.

 “Aligning with Chemist Warehouse was about more than distribution,” he said. “It was about connecting with a network that resonates with our commitment to wellness and trusted health advice. This partnership has been crucial in enhancing our accessibility and extending our reach, perfectly aligning  with our mission to bring wellness to a broader audience.”

In discussing WelleCo’s growth, particularly in Australia and the US, Leighton credits this success to a deep understanding of customer needs and a relentless commitment to quality. “Our growth is a direct reflection of our commitment to deeply understanding our customers and continuously evolving to meet their needs,” he said. “We place immense emphasis on product testing and research. Our product development is entirely in-house, ensuring that each product is not only customer-focused but also scientifically sound.”

 Leighton also acknowledges the significant role played by Elle Macpherson in WelleCo’s success. As a co-founder, Elle, known famously as ‘The Body’, has been instrumental in shaping the brand’s identity and direction.

“Elle is not just a co-founder; she is the embodiment of our brand ethos,” he said. “Her passion for holistic wellness and her authentic connection with our products resonate deeply with our customers. Elle’s journey, from a supermodel to a wellness advocate, mirrors the very essence of WelleCo – a commitment to natural beauty and holistic health.”

Looking to the future, Leighton is optimistic about WelleCo’s role in the growing segment of ingestible beauty. “The beauty-from-within movement is more than a trend; it’s a paradigm shift in how people approach health and beauty,” he said. “WelleCo is at the forefront of this revolution, constantly exploring innovative ways to make wellness an integral part of daily life.”

Leighton’s strategy for global expansion is thoughtfully designed to align with each market’s unique wellness culture. “Our international strategy is about more than expansion; it’s about adapting our approach to be relevant in diverse markets while maintaining a global appeal,” he said.

The collaboration between Leighton, the board, and Elle is a cornerstone of WelleCo’s success. “Our leadership team combines diverse skills and perspectives. This diversity fuels our strategic decisions and fosters a culture of innovation,” he said.

 Leighton also highlighted the impact of customer feedback on WelleCo’s direction. “Hearing from our customers about the positive changes our products have brought to their lives is incredibly fulfilling,” he said. “Whether it’s offering relief from menopause symptoms or helping young people with severe acne, these stories reinforce the impact of our work and drive us to continually innovate.”

Under Leighton and Elle’s leadership, WelleCo transcends being just a participant in the wellness industry; it is redefining it. Their combined vision, understanding of market trends, commitment to innovation and quality, and focus on a diverse customer base set WelleCo on a path of continued success and growth. As the wellness industry evolves, WelleCo, under their stewardship, is well-positioned.

This article was first published in the Autumn issue of Retail Beauty.

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