Inspirational Women: Michelle Doherty
Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
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Name and role:
Michelle Doherty and my husband and I own award winning skincare brand Alpha-H.
Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Our brand is considered a global leader in corrective and preventative skincare and our best-selling resurfacing treatment Liquid Gold has become a “cult” beauty classic. I spend most of my time expanding the Alpha-H product range both in Australia and overseas, collaborating and working closely with TV networks, international distributers and professional beauty salons. The most rewarding part of my role as Director is having the opportunity to meet with people whose life has been changed through using our products.
How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?
I started in pharmacy at the age of 15 and worked alongside a number of international skincare ranges and cosmetics, but it was after a brief introduction to just two Alpha-H products that I identified that there was more potential than what over the counter brands were offering. After 4 days of using the brand, I discovered how dramatically it improved my skin, and it was then I knew that I wanted to do this as a career. I quickly realised that there was a gap in the market for solutions driven skincare.
Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career of the ground?
I didn’t really have a mentor as such, but because I had been working in the industry for international brands I had the network which helped me establish myself and my career.
You took over Alpha-H in its early stages, what were the stumbling blocks both initially and since then?
The biggest challenge has always been competing in an overcrowded market against faceless multi-national corporations that are heavily marketed and endorsed. It’s important to enlighten our customers that there is a very big difference between a professional clinic brand and what can be purchased over the counter in a department store. This is where we have to establish our point of difference and maintain close relationships with our customers so that we can accurately respond to their want and needs.
Another challenge that we have come up against is changing public perception that the more expensive a product is, the better it is. Our price points are honest because we do not over-hype or over-package and our manufacturing is cost-effective and without compromise. We want our products to be affordable because we believe everyone has the right to great skin, without the need to explore more invasive alternatives.
How did you overcome these?
We are honest, open and also very approachable. I think it helps that we have open dialogue with our customers and take a very candid approach to our marketing. Communication is a powerful tool and cannot be underestimated.
Establishing our point of difference and our value proposition early on has also helped us. We bring the salon into the home, customers’ love being able to achieve salon results in the comfort of their own surroundings. Part of our value proposition is that our products are multi-tasking, our Liquid Gold for example works as your exfoliator, toner, serum and moisturiser.
Alpha-H begun as a family run business and is now an international success. How has the business grown and changed? Was this always what you had planned?
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine Alpha-H becoming the globally recognized “go to” solutions brand that we have become. In 21 years we have gone from one employee (that being me) to a team of 50 globally. We recognized quickly that to stand out in an overcrowded space we had to create and be the best. Our constant and steady growth has allowed us to build solid foundations and made it possible to implement our own manufacturing facility which enables us to more closely monitor the quality, consistency and standard of each formulation.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Our customers and their journey inspire me when they become part of the Alpha-H family. I also find inspiration from allowing our customers to be the best possible versions of themselves, without having to resort to more invasive procedures or feel the need to ‘be’ someone else.
I gain inspiration for new products through determining the needs of our customers. We understand that they expect to see immediate results, which is why I work closely with a team of cosmetic scientists researching breakthrough ingredients and developing powerful formulations.
As the brand’s owner and director how have your personal experiences influenced your decisions regarding development and direction?
It’s a responsibility and integrity to make a difference that we all share at Alpha-H. Alpha-H was born out of an aspiration and enthusiasm to make a difference and deliver the very best to every customer every day.
What are your goals for the future?
My number one goal is to continue to be a global leader in cosmeceutical skincare through research and continuous innovation and by doing so, change people’s lives.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
Be passionate, have a desire to want to make a difference. Also to learn from hardships and turn challenges into positives.
Isabelle is a writer who has a hundred-and-one side-splittingly funny stories about growing up at an all-girls boarding school, with a chocolate habit that requires constant monitoring. Follow Isabelle on Twitter.