Kate Morris is talking to me over the phone from her office in Melbourne, waxing lyrical about a fire drill that happened on site last week.
She didn’t organise the drill, she wasn’t fully across when it was happening, and it certainly didn’t make her day any more productive.
But for her, however “odd” it may seem, it was a considerably humbling moment.
75 of her staff filed out of the business slowly but surely, one by one congregating at a meeting place. She watched as they filed out. This was a big business. This was her business. And this was a business that was both big enough, and legitimate enough, to do things like fire drills.
“As they were filing out of the evacuation area, all I could think was, this is a big thing. Things are happening here that I had nothing to do with. It’s actually such a buzz to see this a real business now. I have team members who have taken things into their own, and organised things I’m not a part of.”
Morris, the owner and CEO of Adore Beauty – Australia’s longest-running online beauty store – laughs as she tries to justify why a fire drill is her answer when I ask for her highlight of the last 17 or 18 years.
But in context, after hearing the story of how Morris built, from scratch, a business with a turnover of about $25 million, her highlight is a reminder that many big, booming businesses have remarkably humble beginnings.
After all, Adore Beauty was the brainchild of Morris back in 1999 when she was just 21 years old and studying at university.