99 - Oshiya Savur, Maesa
Oshiya Savur: There's a power to rally and cry that everybody in the organization understands, and everybody's running towards that one thing. There's real power to it. And even when your business is contracting, but you are all clear where you're running and all that, where you're running to will move the needle on your business profile overall, there's real power to it. I think people speak a lot less about that. I think that people don't talk about culture. Especially in business conversations, culture is always the last thing you'd speak of. And I feel like culture is what makes all the difference. Strategic clarity, culture. Are your people going to go to the limit to achieve what they're saying and what they're excited about? I think that there is power in just knowing what will move the needle and what matters to your company.
Announcer: Explore the minds and marketing strategies behind today's winning brands and businesses. Tap into the power of the creative economy with Earned by CreatorIQ. Here's Conor Begley.
Conor Begley: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Earned. I've got the amazing Oshiya Savur here. Welcome to the show, Oshiya.
Oshiya Savur: Hi, Conor. So excited to be here.
Conor Begley: I love when someone we're working with gets in new leadership and it's the opportunity for me to meet somebody that's amazing. I don't know how we hadn't met beforehand, but I'm glad we've gotten to know each other now.
Oshiya Savur: Likewise, likewise.
Conor Begley: You are the Chief Brand Officer at Maesa. I think you guys have a lot of brands that people know, but they may not know necessarily the group. Do you want to describe what the group is really quickly?
Oshiya Savur: Yeah, no, absolutely. It's just such an amazing company and, quite honestly, a lot of kudos to the original founders who founded it, and the vision, and how many times it was reinvented and where we are today. So actually, the company's 25 years old.
Conor Begley: Oh, wow.
Oshiya Savur: And it started off its roots in private label for fragrances. And most recently, about five or six years ago, we started this whole foray into launching own brands in retailers. And the last few years, our success rate has been so amazing that we've now become the number- one incubator for mass beauty. We work with the retailers. We come up with new brand ideas. We launch them. We find CPG giant categories. Either we disrupt them or we go against the grain in very noisy categories that do not have real NPD. So really, I think we take a lot of pride in finding an unmet consumer need, figuring out a disruptive mix, and then launching it. That is sort of what we do and why we exist. We do have already a portfolio of some very successful brands as well, like Kristin Ess, Hairitage by Mindy McKnight, Being Frenshe that we have with Ashley Tisdale. Foundry, that's our completely owned brand. It's a fragrance brand that's exclusive at Target. Drew Barrymore's brand, Flower Beauty, that was our first foray. That was actually 10 years ago. That was like a bold move in 2013 when people were not doing it. So there's lots of fun brands. Every day we wake up with new ideas in our minds, new dreams that we are dreaming of, and so on. So hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea of what we do.
Conor Begley: Yeah, I have a hard enough time managing one brand. Managing that many brands sounds challenging.
Oshiya Savur: I will not lie, it is challenging, but I love a good challenge. I would say though, with lots of planning and prioritization, you get through it all, and I think for me, that personally really works always.
Conor Begley: What do you think is the key to success there, in terms of managing a broad portfolio like that? Do you have to have strong leadership within each individual brand? How much shared leadership is there across the brands? How does that work functionally?
Oshiya Savur: We have teams that go vertical and horizontal. Horizontal would be our internal brilliant creative studio. They are so smart. Every creative, every branding, anything that you see that's comms- related that's happening at Maesa. And for our brands, it's coming out of the creative studio. So they are the team that goes horizontal. They touch every brand, every new innovation that we have. We also have incubation and innovation teams that work on NPDs, and they are also going horizontally because they work by category and they work by incubation brands that they're working on. And then we have brand hubs that go vertically. Then brand hubs have individual brand directors and leaders of those brands, and then also integrated marketing teams that do all of the social influencer and press for those brands as well. So those two teams go vertical. The other two teams go horizontal for me. And then also there's a marketing operations team as well that makes sure that at any given point in time there's enough financial rigor that's going into it. There's a process that's being followed, because as you can imagine, the horizontal/ vertical can get into a traffic jam fast without a traffic manager. So that's how at least my five departments work together, and how I look at them as shared services, but also brand hubs and brand expertise.
Conor Begley: Yeah, those matrix orgs can get complex. It's very interesting for me seeing very different models, because we work with all the different strategic players. So it's like, LVMH is incredibly independent. L'Oreal is incredibly centralized. There's different mixes depending upon where you are. And there's other people like Estee Lauder are in the middle. So yeah, as you guys go from, well, you're a big company now, but to a really big company, obviously complexity increases there. Let's go back in your background. I want people to get to know who you are as well as what you're doing today. You actually grew up in India, and then we're very successful there. Number one student at... I don't know how you can measure to be the number one out of 6, 000 students, but number one out of 6, 000 at your university, and then number one MBA program in the country. But then ultimately you join Unilever, you move to Singapore, then move eventually to the United States while you were at Unilever. Was that kind of always the plan, or was that something that you said, Hey, this is a new challenge, let's try a new thing? I'd be curious about that journey, as well as leaving the place where you grew up is a big deal, right? There's a lot to that. So talk me through that journey.
Oshiya Savur: Yeah, and I will tell you, it wasn't part of the plans. And I always say that when I intensely plan for something, it never goes exactly how I plan it. There's always an alternate route that the universe has for me. And yet I would say a never regret, because those pivots for always the perfect pivots, because otherwise I wouldn't be here and doing what I'm doing. So how it all started was that I wanted to be a broadcast journalist back in the day, and I was wanting to cover wars and I had a real leftist bend of mind, and my parents got genuinely worried about my sanity and where I was going and what I was going to do with my life. So they intervened and they're like, " This is not how it's going to go. You're going to go do your MBA and so is life." And so I did, and I was like, whatever. I'm on the dark side now. I live to make money and that's all I do. My dream's crumbling, and all of that happening. Anyway, so I go do my MBA and then I joined Unilever and that is absolutely right, and that's where I fell in love with what I do. They are... Back in the day also, 2007 when I graduated, and even so, I mean, Unilever is just so amazing, but particularly back at that time, it was the company you wanted to work for. If you wanted to build a career in marketing, and especially in India, Hindustan Unilever is where, if you look at the top 100 companies and you cut the C- suite and you say the alumni, I would bet 80% of them have somehow, somewhere worked at Unilever at some point in time in their lives. So it's really a leadership builder and creators. So that's where I fell in love with what I do and I learned so much from them, and with them I went to Istanbul for the first time, and that was my first international trip all by myself. It was a six- week stint and they sent me for a training, and it was just such an amazing experience. And then, very unlike a lot of my other colleagues, I got placed in an international stint, right coming out of my graduation program at Unilever. So Unilever has a graduation program, business leadership training. Oftentimes post- MBAs, you quote- unquote" go through," you rotate through different departments for 15 months before they pick you and put you in one department. And generally speaking, that first department is a sales department. For me, because I had worked before and that's a very unusual model in how I found my way into Unilever, they put me in a very unusual career track, and that was to be sent to Singapore and in a very brand development, brand building role. And so, so began the journey, and it wasn't planned. It wasn't something that I ever dreamt of doing. And my parents were very progressive and they were like, " Sure, you've got a great opportunity. It's a great company. Go live your life." And so I did. And then luckily for me, the office was in transition, so I actually started my career in Bangkok, after India, for a good six months. And I had the time of my life eating all kinds of street food, because that time my belly could take it. Now I'm so embarrassed. I'm like, out of my whole family, I'm the first one who gets sick when I travel. But that's where my kids-
Conor Begley: I spent some time in Thailand and ate all of the street food. There was one point where it had some issues.
Oshiya Savur: Exactly. So I could eat anything. I made the best friends during that time and then moved to Singapore. And again, it was never part of the plans to move to the US, and then I met the love of my life who I'm now married to. He's Indian- American. He was there in Singapore as an expat as well, and we met through serendipitous circumstances. I guess it was meant to be. Never planned it. And here I am. In 2010 we moved here.
Conor Begley: There you go. What was he doing out there?
Oshiya Savur: He was working with American Express. So he is in tech and now he's fully in financial technology and that whole space. It's actually pretty cool, but we've established in the couple, I am the cool one, even though I have a sneaky suspicion his job is just way cooler than mine.
Conor Begley: Did he go the startup route, or has he stayed at the American Expresses of the world?
Oshiya Savur: He's actually now at Fiserv, which is pretty huge in payment space, payment services space. But luckily for him, he worked at a startup that they acquired, and so he was the head of their commercialization for Clover brand, which is sort of like a challenger to Square. You know those little devices you go to, you swipe your card and it...
Conor Begley: Used to be the plug into your phone. Yeah.
Oshiya Savur: Correct. All of those things. They work through all of the hardware of all of that and all of the software, all of that. And how I'm explaining it, I'm sure I'm leaving behind some very critical details and I'm super simplifying what he does, and he hates it when I do that, so let's not ask any more questions about it because I do not want to get in trouble with him.
Conor Begley: That's awesome, him at a startup. I feel like you've had a similar, right? You went to Unilever, which is massive, and then have kind of worked your way down the chain to smaller and smaller organizations, eventually to Maesa, which I think is what, maybe 4- 500 people, something like that?
Oshiya Savur: Yep.
Conor Begley: Yeah. So considerably, I don't know, Unilever's head count, but quite a bit smaller. So two questions there. One, was that, again, intentional, or is it something you were attracted to more of the autonomy and the control you had within these smaller orgs? And then the second one is, looking back now, if you had had a choice, obviously it sounds like Unilever was a great choice where you were, but is that corporate route the route that you would recommend to somebody just starting out in their career? Or do you think the kind of startup route would have been better if it was offered to you?
Oshiya Savur: Yeah, no, I think in the end, whatever works for you, right? So there isn't a wrong or right answer just starting your career. For me, back when in 2007 I came out, like I was saying, Unilever was the mecca of marketing. You wanted to learn marketing, you wanted to do the best in class marketing, that's where you wanted to start your career. That's where everybody studied, too. They came, they picked one student from the whole business school and it was just a highly competitive process. Fast forward however many, 15, 16 years, things have changed a lot, right? They're still very good at what they do. They still have some of the most powerful brands, really strong marketers, still have a lot of friends there. Really huge respect for the work they do. But since then the D2C revolution happened, and that changed where the growth was coming from and where the market share was being lost to and where the market share was being gained. So I think it really boils down to your personality and what you want to do. If you work at a larger company, of course a lot more process, a lot more alignment you need to do, versus when you're at a smaller company, you can just run with things and get things done. And there is sometimes too little process. And oftentimes where I'm finding is becoming almost my sweet spot is a company that is just at that pivot point where they're no longer that small anymore and they're ready to scale to their next billion. And that's really where somebody like me can come in who understands both sides of it, understands the process and what it takes to scale, but then also understands the nimble environment in which you want to move and be growth- oriented, and you can't spend too much time debating, analyzing. Learning fast, failing fast is the way to go. So I think that there is a little bit of both, and I think it really depends on what attracts you the most and where you find the most success for yourself as an individual.
Conor Begley: Yeah, very, very personal journey, personal choice. And I think again, I think both can work. I went from a Maesa- style size down to two people, and that was similar. That's about as small as you can get.
Oshiya Savur: That takes a very bold person. I'm thinking if that's my next step or not. But that takes a really bold person.
Conor Begley: I think you should. I think you'd do well. So the other really interesting contrast in your career is, so post Unilever, you went to Revlon. Revlon's had some very visible struggles recently. I was just talking with Debbie at Revlon. They just got through bankruptcy and all that kind of stuff. So to go from Revlon, which was having some struggles, to then Charlotte Tilbury who might be, during the time that you were there, the fastest growing brand in the entire industry, or one of the fast, top two or three, is a pretty sharp contrast to go from one to the other. So a few things. So one, what was that contrast like? What did you notice that was different about the cultures? And then, what were some of the key elements that you think led to that kind of explosive growth? Because it's pretty wild to watch.
Oshiya Savur: It is definitely wild to watch. In the two years that I was there, it was quite phenomenal how we scaled that business, and it continues to do really well. It's been six months. I talk about it like nostalgia, but it was literally six months ago when I was still there. It wasn't like 10 years ago or something. It was just six months ago. Yes, it was a sharp contrast. And I at Revlon, while I was at Revlon, I actually headed up their prestige division. So Revlon acquired Elizabeth Arden back in 2016. So those were the portfolio of brands that I was managing. So never directly on Revlon, but the prestige side of it. So I've been in prestige for last seven years, and now at Maesa, sort of in between the mass and prestige and beautiful worlds that we exist in. So I think the biggest contrast, I think you debate a lot less. You just go do it. That to me is fundamentally the biggest difference in being in a large organization where you have a lot of stakeholders. So oftentimes you keep creating a lot of PowerPoints because you want to align people. You want to talk to people, you want to align people, and then by the time you've aligned with these people, maybe someone else has changed their jobs or they've moved on and now you go back again, you align here, and you're like, my God. And by the time you're literally ready to launch, it's like the ship of sailed. So I think as entrepreneur, and I always thought of myself as somebody who was challenging the status quo, even from within, so I've always had this very urgent sense of bias of action and always just wanting to do it. So I think for me, being at Charlotte was in a lot of ways just dream come true. Literally a debate. You dream up an idea, go do it. What's the worst that can happen? You fail, you learn, you'll move on. And so there was definitely that, and there was something very magical about the brand, is that we rarely failed, and that was the beauty of it. We got so much earned respect from the industry. People were just wanting to work with us. And I think that makes a big difference too, when it's not all just pay to play. Oh, if you want to partner with me, that's only how it works. And it just wasn't like that. We were a cool brand. People wanted to work with us. There was a huge partnership that we would get from people. And internally, we just had very cohesive culture. And I think cohesion is just one big thing, is the reason why you don't debate so much, is because the cohesion is there. The strategies are very clear. There's a rallying cry, there's a heart brand, and you all know what you want at the end of the day, and it was pretty simple: we wanted to be number one in everything we were doing. And so, until you get that number one position, you were restless about it. And even when you became number one, you were then differently restless about it because now you never wanted to lose that position, so you kept running. Even though the race was over, you are still running and running and running and making the distance so far that the second one can never come up. And I think for me, as somebody who's just always very inspired by growth and all of that, I think it was just exciting to be part of that culture, and to be competitive, but not with a negative sense of it. You're just competitive because you're running a race. Even if it's a race of one, and you'll know where your rank is and what you're going for and you're just in competition with yourself all the time. And I think for me, that's what was really another thing, beautiful, that we never settled. We did something, and even before I challenged, my team was like, " Oh, this is what went wrong with it." I'm like, " Oh my God, that's really amazing. We kicked ass with this activation, and yet you guys are coming to me and telling me this is what we could have done better. Great, let's do better." And I think it came from every level. And some of those things I think were very, very exciting and different about the company.
Conor Begley: Yeah, there's a real art there. And I think one, this idea of fear is a real thing. Why is alignment such a big thing? There's this fear that you're going to get in trouble, you're going to make a mistake, you're going to whatever. And obviously trust is the counter to that, right? If it doesn't work out, it's okay. It's not going to be a big deal. And I think that's particularly difficult if you were to look at companies that are in contraction periods, because there is real fear, right? I might lose my job. And when you're growing, if you're growing at 50%, there's going to be 50% new jobs next year, roughly. I mean, we went through a period where we had been growing very quickly, doubling every year, double, double, double, double. This was like 2018. Some things happened with the way Instagram provided data and we realized that about 40% of our revenue was not good, not good revenue. And so we decided to cut out 40% of our revenue. Well, that's not easy to go from a company that's doubling to like, hey, I'm going to cut out half my revenue. And over the next two years on a total basis, our revenue actually contracted during that time. But that 60% of revenue that was really good grew really dramatically. And so, a lot of it was shifting the attention of the organization, like this is what's important, this is what we're going to focus on, and this is where we can see growth even in an environment where overall we're contracting. And so, this is interesting to hear you talk about it, because again, you have to create that momentum, the excitement, all these things, even when things aren't going well. So I think we had a lot of luck involved on our end.
Oshiya Savur: There's a power to rally and cry that everybody in the organization understands and everybody's running towards that one thing. There's real power to it. And even when your business is contracting, but you are all clear where you're running and all that, where you're running to will move the needle on your business profile overall, there's real power to it. I think people speak a lot less about that. I think that people don't talk about culture. Especially in business conversations, culture's always the last thing you'd speak of, and I feel like culture is what makes all the difference. Strategic clarity, culture. Are your people going to go to the limit to achieve what they're saying and what they're excited about? So what you're saying, I'm really agreeing with that, because I think that there is power in just knowing what will move the needle and what matters to your company, to people running towards it.
Conor Begley: Well, and again, I think what you're saying there too is focus, right? What's that one thing we're all focused on that we're driving towards? So let's talk about something that, I don't don't know if you focused on it, but you certainly did it really well. I know you focused on it though, which is in our data, tracking Charlotte Tilbury and specifically within the US, because this is originally a UK brand. You went from our number 19th ranked brand in 2019 to then number nine, all the way up to number two in 2022. And Color Pop was the only one ahead of you, and you passed them this year.
Oshiya Savur: Yes.
Conor Begley: Although Rare Beauty is Rare Beauty. They're now... Well, I think it's the number one influencer in the world.
Oshiya Savur: I can't feel passionately about it anymore. I need to stop. I need to...
Conor Begley: We will talk a lot about Maesa, we'll talk a lot about Maesa. We won't get too deep into that. But I would love to know, just when you think about philosophically, because again, that they were number 19 at the time you joined, but to go from number 19 to number two, you had to pass 17 other brands who were all trying really hard. So what I'm curious about is, what do you think philosophically worked well for you there? What were some of the tactics, whatever you feel good about sharing that worked really well for Charlotte and having that kind of success with influencers specifically?
Oshiya Savur: I mean, it starts with brand heat. Are you a brand that people want to talk about? So inherently it starts from there. Some brands are at different levels of wanting to be talkable. And I think for us, that was the advantage that we had. When I joined, which was early 2021, which is the rank that you mentioned, I think 19 was the rank. So that is the rank that we had. But when I met with a few influencers and I spent time with my team, I realized that we were sitting on a gold mine and that there was a lot of talkability and heat in this brand. And contrary to my experience, which was a very pay- to- play background, I very quickly pivoted at Charlotte and I said that actually what's going to make a big difference to this brand is the earned piece of it, and it's the talkability. It's just how much people love us is what's going to make the difference. And I think for us also, the Madison Beer effect had just gone in. Beauty Light wands had gone viral earlier that year too. So also something to be said about just back to back, some viral products that we had, all with Flawless Filter, Beauty Light wands, Beautiful Skin foundations, and all those products just were really fantastic as well, as they launched. So I think for us, we made some really intentional decisions and strategies towards making influencer be a huge priority. And so then, from a budgeting standpoint, from ways of working standpoint, just where the priority, the mind space was going internally, those were some of the changes I made in North America, and very quickly we started to see the multiplier effect happening there. The more we did, the more we could do. And that's where my team was just very competitive. They were very on it, and to give them something to do, they would go do more of it and then more of it and then more of it, and it was just beautiful. It was very rewarding to see the articles that came out in WWD, which were actually from you. Oh my God, this is real good stuff. This is industry recognition. We're in the game. We literally had that clipping and every retailer deck that we had. We were like, look at us doing so well. And this is not, we didn't pitch that article and someone else did, and this is real industrial recognition. So thank you. Months later, thank you, Conor. We really appreciated that back then.
Conor Begley: Yeah. The fun part about that is for me, I'm just trying to find the best story. What's the most interesting thing that's happening? And at the time, I mean, you guys were just on fire. And I misquoted the stat. You were number 19 in 2020. So the year before you joined, you're about number 20, and then by the time you left, you were number two. And I mean, it's just unbelievable. The other thing that I think you said in there that's critical is... So I love the embracement of earned the embracement in relationships, budget, et cetera. The other half of the equation, though, is products. And I think when you look at the data, hero... The biggest mistake we see brands make is they really focused on new product launches. Which are important, right? Clearly you guys showed that, but the bulk of the content will be like, okay, now that we have a product that's successful, how do we get those hero products to be... They end up being the vast majority of the conversation. So I just love that, too.
Oshiya Savur: Yeah, yeah, definitely. There's such a cool part of it. And I actually really enjoy reading your creator facts too, because I actually 100% agree with you that this is the new social currency and that when you are hot here, the revenue will happen. To me, the correlation's very clear to me.
Conor Begley: I mean, it's been really fun. At some point at the beginning, you're just kind of shouting and nobody's listening, and then a few people listen and a few people more listen. And I think the thing that I've always tried to do is like, let's try to get to the truth, and the truth being, well, how do I make decisions? It's like, well, okay, think about that. How do I choose to buy something? And it's like, well, if somebody that I trust that's an expert in the field says this is really amazing, they genuinely believe that, it's about as good as you're going to get. And now because of the internet, because of mobile phones, I get access to all these experts and all these smart people all around the world that can share their opinions on things, and that's just a much better source of information than an advertisement on TV or in a magazine or on social media. It's just more trustworthy, right? It increases the likelihood of success that when I buy this, that it's going to be what I hope it's going to be. And so the question becomes, okay, if that's the truth or if that's what is happening, how do I measure that in a way that actually shows it? You chip away at it each day over 10 years, and eventually you get closer and closer. Well, let's talk about Maesa a little bit. So you're, like you said, about six months in to Maesa now, so you're starting to get a handle on the organization, you're starting to get a handle on the team, starting to get a handle on the history of everything. And we're coming up on the end of the year, so I'm sure you're starting to think about 2024, what our big plans are that year. So what are the big plans for Maesa coming up next year, and what are some of the biggest challenges you see, like we really need to work through this, or this is an area where we're weak, could need to get stronger in, or this is really good, we want to double down here. How are you thinking about that for next year for Maesa?
Oshiya Savur: I think where I want to take the strategy, and it's something that I always do, is to just hone in on where the magic already is and doubling down on that, and then tack on a couple of gaps that I find that there are, and really building that out. So you kind of get a beautiful mix of what works, where we can take it, and so then if you're doubling down on the magic that already exists in your company and your brand, then you amplify it with the other actions that you put out there. So in a way, where is Maesa's magic? It is in creativity and innovation. We are really known for it in the industry. Again, as I was mentioning, our hit rate is the highest in the industry. It is the reason why we've now become the number one incubator. And incubation is a very difficult business because the probability of success is almost 50/ 50, and actually the odds in the industry would tell you it's one in 10 if you're lucky. So there are 10 brands that come out, maybe one is successful. And for us to have had almost two out of our three brands be successful, that's very exciting. It's pretty exciting to get it right. So creativity and innovation is already what we are known for, so we are going to double down on it. We're going to continue to say, how do we continue to redefine creativity and innovation into the next five years? What is our point of view as an incubator and how do we always stay ahead of the market and the investments we need to make sure that that always happens, and that's what we are known for. The two other buckets that I want to add on top of is what I call talent and then technology enablement. In terms of talent, I think as we've now spent a lot of time talking about both of our shared belief that influencer marketing is a key component of a brand's success, so you can imagine that that is where a lot of my personal focus and the brand focus is going to go as well. And we actually are working with a lot of amazing founder partners as well. So really getting that rhythm with not only the founder partners and then creating a story that's compelling and putting it out there, but then also figuring out, what's the UGC? What's the word of mouth? What is the content creator plan on top of that? And also our Maesa talent, right? How do you continue to groom our internal talent and make them be your word of mouth drivers? So all of that, I think for me, that is a very key way that we are going to continue to work and do more and more of it next year. We are just now at the starting point of where we need to be and where we can be as a company for all of our respective brands. And the fourth one, to me, that is the technology enablement space. That to me is almost like a non- negotiable something. It's a few incubators, and if your job is to always be ahead of everyone else, how can we not be tech- obsessed? Because beauty tech is the future. And not beauty tech in the way, oh, here's another tool and now you can do skin analysis at home. Here's another hair quiz you can do. Here's another fragrance quiz you do. It's just how we think about every action we take. And how do we become more productive? How do we become more efficient? How do we measure better? How do we use internet more powerfully in doing market research, in cultural based segmentations, in how we measure the effectiveness of everything that we do in marketing, not just sales, but also in just using tools that, for instance, Stripe has. How do you put our own media at the center of it and how do you measure it? How do you continue to grow it? So I think that is also just where a lot of my mind space is going to go, in terms of how do we make Maesa be cutting edge also in technology adoption, and not just as a marketing gimmick, but just how we think and act and behave on the day- to- day basis.
Conor Begley: Yeah, that makes sense. You start to get a lot of leverage if you can shift the kind mindset internally to being like, this is where we want to be. So it's the tools and those kinds of things, but it's an attitude as much as it is the actual... It's like, if I'm just telling you, oh, use this, use this, use this. It's like, no, no, no. I want you to be innovative. I want you to bring new things to the table and think about how we can...
Oshiya Savur: Yeah.
Conor Begley: Yeah. So one other thing that I think is interesting, and we'll do one fun end of show question after that, and I've never asked anybody this. I feel like I've been afraid to ask. This is like, when you don't know about the clubs, that everybody else is in this club, and I don't know about it, I don't want to be the uncool guy that asks about it. So I don't know a lot about Chief, but I see it on every LinkedIn profile of people that I respect. So this must be a good thing. And I know it's about female leadership and empowerment, whatever, but can you tell me about what is the nature of that organization? How is it attracting people like yourself, and just how it functions?
Oshiya Savur: Yeah, sure. I mean, I just closed my membership, but I did join them right when they started. It was word of mouth, is how I got into it. Just like you, saw a couple of people that I respect share a post about it, and I was like, what is it? And I looked into and it seemed interesting. I went and I spoke with them. It was very, very, very tight group at the time when we started, and the proposition was very interesting. It's kind of like a core group that they create. So you have about eight women you meet with every month. They're in similar life stages to you, similar career stages to you, and it becomes almost kind of like a support group for professionals. You come in and you share your daily challenges, both emotionally and professionally, what's going on. And you kind of are moderated by a coach, and you do exercise and you basically do self- discovery. And I would say at the time when I joined Chief, it was game- changing for me, because I was in a bit of a funk and I really needed to talk to a coach and find the direction of where I was going to take my career next. And it really helped me get closer to what mattered to me as an individual, where I wanted to spend the next decade of my career, and really helped me get that clarity. So that was my experience. I just now closed out my membership, but I do find that they've grown very fast. They are in many, many different locations. They definitely have a good group of women they have attracted, and I do find the people who are still there do draw a lot out of it still. So it's a great place. It's a great place to meet people and learn.
Conor Begley: Cool. It reminds me a lot, the way you describe it, is YPO.
Oshiya Savur: Yes.
Conor Begley: It sounds very similar in terms of you have the forum concept. I've had a bunch of people talk to me about that, and I haven't really pursued it, but sounds very similar in function.
Oshiya Savur: Yeah.
Conor Begley: Well, let's do one fun end of show question. I noticed, as I was looking around, that you used to be, outside of your desire to report on politics, you did a little bit of acting too, right? Like back in school.
Oshiya Savur: I did.
Conor Begley: So you were best actress a few times, won some awards in drama. Was there ever a consideration of going the Bollywood route? Was that ever ever something that crossed your mind? I'm curious.
Oshiya Savur: No. No, it did not. No. Not in the wildest dreams, no way, no chance. The theater that I did, just for the record, is very intellectual. Almost like, now that I look back, almost like pseudo- intellectual, always be like the philosophers' club, and we had these points of view on life. We just were always this attire, the this, the that. So that was the vein I was going in. So no, I do not have any dancing talents, no Bollywood talents of acting. No way. I would have failed at it. Plus I'm also 5'2", so it doesn't help.
Conor Begley: Oh, do you have to be tall? I guess that helps. I guess that helps. I really appreciate you taking the time out today. It is unbelievably impressive, what you've accomplished, both throughout your career and more recently, and I'm really excited to see where you take Maesa, because I think it is just a fantastic palette to work with in terms of the brands, the technology, the infrastructure, the team. And it's something that not a lot of people have heard about, but it's a big deal already, and I think it's going to become a bigger deal, particularly with you involved. So, excited to watch from the sidelines. It's going to be fun.
Oshiya Savur: Thank you, Connor. Thank you for having me. This was a really great conversation. Thank you.
Conor Begley: Yeah, it was fun. All right, bye, Oshiya.
Oshiya Savur: Bye.
Announcer: Be a friend, tell a friend, and subscribe. Earned by CreatorIQ. CreatorIQ is your all- in- one solution to grow, manage, scale, and measure your influencer marketing program. Ready to unlock the power of the creator economy? Get started with a demo today at CreatorIQ. com.
In Ep. 99 of Earned, we sit down with Oshiya Savur, Chief Brand Officer at No. 1 mass beauty incubator Maesa. To start, we discuss how Maesa began as a private label for fragrances before transforming into the successful incubator behind brands like Kristin Ess, Flower Beauty (Drew Barrymore), and Being Frenshe (Ashley Tisdale). We then switch gears and dive into Oshiya’s unexpected career journey, from getting her MBA at India’s No. 1 business school to spending nearly a decade at powerhouse conglomerate Unilever, before continuing on to Revlon, Charlotte Tilbury, and now Maesa. Oshiya explains the pros and cons of working at established corporations compared to nimble startups, and emphasizes the importance of having a company-aligned “rallying cry,” as well as failing fast—but learning faster. To close the show, Oshiya reveals how influencer marketing drove hypergrowth at Charlotte Tilbury, before revealing Maesa’s future plans to disrupt the beauty industry with creativity and innovation.
In this episode, you will learn:
- How Oshiya strategically incorporated influencer marketing into Charlotte Tilbury's strategy, which helped create viral products and increased "talkability."
- How Maesa stays ahead of the market by making investments in talent and technology, and redefining innovation to drive continued success.
- The importance of having a company-aligned “rallying cry,” and failing fast—but learning faster.
Connect with the Guest(s):
- Oshiya Savur’s LinkedIn - @OshiyaSavur
Connect with Conor Begley & CreatorIQ:
Follow us on social: