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Leigh Adelman of Artis on Creating a Better More Beautiful Experience from Beginning to End

Artis designs and manufactures unique beauty products, but the company culture is really what has driven its growth from one e-commerce outlet to being sold in over 500 stores in only four years.

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BY Laurel Mintz - 06 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Artis

From its inception in 2004, Artis has been disrupting the beauty industry. Leigh Adelman, General Manager, sat down with me to discuss what makes this company so unique--and successful.

LM: Let's start by giving me a snapshot of you and the company.

LA: Artis is a beauty brand known for creating what I like to call the first true makeup brush. Until Artis, the design of makeup brushes hadn't been innovated since the invention of the paintbrush--centuries ago.

When Artis launched the Elite Collection in 2014, suddenly people saw that there was a better, more beautiful way to do your makeup routine. The collection quickly exploded overnight, with support from top beauty influencers, the glam squads that work with megastars, and press, so it was clear early on that we were a disruptor in the beauty industry.

We went from one e-comm platform in 2014 to being in over 500 stores by the end of 2017, so there has been tremendous growth. I joined the team as General Manager earlier this year to help usher in the next generation of our business. We're at a really inspiring time and my goals are to create an environment internally at Artis that reflects what we've done all along with our products: create an experience that's better and more beautiful from beginning to end.

LM: Tell me about your origin story. You've got a very diverse background.

LA: I come from an entrepreneurial family, so my intention was always to run my own company--not necessarily with my husband (Jeremy Adelman, Founder & Managing Partner of Artis)--that was just a happy accident! There was also always a part of me that focused on the creative--I grew up singing, producing neighborhood plays and writing. I wanted to go into journalism, but once I started studying it, I found that I wanted more freedom in storytelling.

One of the pre-requisites for writing classes was "writing for communications," and when I took the course, I discovered that "communications" was really a way to design and execute business strategies/tactics to key stakeholders in and outside of a business ... and in a creative way. I felt I had finally found a career path that would fulfill both my creative and entrepreneurial desires.

The approach I took with my career was always to curate experiences that would prepare me for success when I went out on my own. I was intentional about working with large and small businesses that cultivated different cultures, had diverse ways of organizing structures and creative methods of implementing processes.

I worked across an array of industries--fine jewelry, food and beverage, automotive, beauty and even pharma--to make sure I could get an understanding of the creative ways they do business and how to solve for their unique challenges. It was and has remained my top priority to focus on how a brand transcends being just a commodity. That's why the Artis brand is so inspiring to me, we're always asking, how we can create better and more meaningful experiences, not just products.

LM: What is your favorite part of managing Artis?

LA: Feeding. The. Culture. Feeding the culture of the organization is critical to not only the creative aspects of work, but it's also smart business, it increases productivity. I truly believe that by inspiring curiosity, collaboration and open communication in the workplace, we wake our team up to a more beautiful life, the same way our products create a beautiful experience in the lives of our Artis customers.

We work out of our old apartment in the Village and an entire wall is painted in chalkboard paint, so we are able to constantly change what's on our walls to inspire the work or concepts we're focusing on. Creative exercises to break out of the mundane have even turned into new business ideas. We added an "idea share" where anyone from any team had the opportunity to pitch an idea during our twice monthly status meetings. This small addition changed the way the team thought about presenting and idea sharing, which has brought forth some fun, team building ideas and important ideas for the business. Feeding the culture inspires business building and team-building thinking, and it's also just plain fun.

LM: What was the inspiration behind the aesthetic/branding?

LA: From the beginning, the brushes were designed to not only "do" beauty, but make the experience be beautiful - from the way that you glide the brush across your skin, to the way that it looks on your vanity. We believe it shouldn't hurt to be beautiful and the beauty process should be beautiful too. With that in mind, we focus heavily on creating better and more seamless experiences in our branding.

We are working to live the Artis philosophy of "Better Beauty, by Design" by looking for even the smallest of ways to always make the experience better.

LM: If you had to describe Artis using only three words, what would you choose and why?

LA: Innovation, Design, and Experience. These words really encompass the Artis credo of Better Beauty, by Design. The results are really flawless, the experience is elevated and the design delivers on the promise.

LM: What is your take on the future of Artis? What's next?

LA: Culturally, we're embracing the shift from being an "indie" beauty brand to a lifestyle staple and riding that wave so it informs everything we share with our fans, followers and future customers.

The future of Artis looks beautiful.

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