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Feelunique founder takes on supplier-focused role

Feelunique’s co-founder and former CEO, Aaron Chatterley, has assumed a more operational role in the organisation five years after departing the top job.

Having maintained a shareholding in the company and a position on the board since he stepped down as CEO in 2014, Chatterley has been active in the business – but his new role is to help the commercial team by fostering relationships with suppliers old and new.

It has been a role the former CEO has been doing on a part-time basis, but he is upping the amount of time dedicated to the job.

“I am going back in a slightly more operational role with a focus on doing more of what I already do, which is help the company strengthen some of the relationships we’ve got and work more closely with our suppliers,” he told Essential Retail.

“At the same time, I’ll be helping onboard new brands. There is a wealth of new brands launching globally and there is an art to trying to pick winners and understand what resonates.”

In addition to its home UK market, Feelunique runs dedicated operations in China, France and the US, and Chatterley acknowledges consumers in each of these countries are looking for different products.

He also said he is “super-focused” on sustainability in terms of beauty product ingredients and packaging, adding there is a major shift across the industry to focus on reducing plastics in packaging and promoting ethical ranges.

“As a retailer and not a brand owner we are driven by market forces to an extent,” he noted.

“But it would be naïve of brands to think they can override that super trend towards more sustainable product and packaging.”

Commenting further on his new role, he said it is crucial for retailers to maintain close working relationships with their suppliers.

“In retail, you’re nothing without your suppliers,” he commented.

“You don’t want to lose your customer, but you really don’t want to lose your suppliers because they are potentially game changing situations, so it’s important we do whatever we can to build, develop and strengthen those relationships.”

Chatterley was replaced by Joel Palix as CEO in 2014, but Palix himself stepped down from the role earlier this year and the hunt for a replacement continues.

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