Exclusive interview with Taher Khaliq, CTO at trin
Trinny London launched in 2017 and is now one of Europe's fastest-growing beauty brands. From a small start-up we’re now a team of 150+ people working for a company with a truly international reach, shipping to 180 countries. Our range has expanded too – we had 16+ launches alone last year and launched a new skincare line earlier this year.
We’re predominantly an e-commerce business with physical touchpoints such as concessions in selected retail stores across the UK and abroad as well as pop ups. As a tech-first business, our website is key to reflecting our brand ethos. We take a personalised approach to makeup and skincare and have an online recommendation tool, Match2Me, which allows the customer to build their own profile. We want to educate and support the customer to decide what’s best for them. In short, if someone walks away from our website with a better understanding of themselves, that’s a win for us!
It’s exciting times at Trinny London, but this growth brings with it some challenges - namely how can we improve our systems while continuing to deliver an innovative customer experience?
When start-ups reach the stage of heavy growth, there’s a need to maintain the core ingredients behind the company’s success: the nimble thinking and innovation. However, the risks are now higher - we can’t simply freeze the business in order to evolve our systems.
How we address this is to find the right tools for the job, but ones that offer the flexibility to personalise around our needs. For example, many of our applications are headless. We steer away from one size fits all, but the flipside to this is increased costs and challenges. Relying on multiple suppliers means you have many dependencies for change and it can be more difficult to quickly make adjustments. The answers to this lie in having expertise in house. The majority of our tech team are in house and currently make up a quarter of the entire company. Therefore, we try to take on as much ownership as we’re able to of third-party systems and acquire the tools to self-manage. Even though this translates into an increased workload, it gives us the ability to be more transformative and agile.
Engaging staff and creating the right company culture support these efforts. Our recruitment process helps us to hire colleagues who are a great fit for our existing culture and can shape what our business will look like in the future. We want to cultivate cross departmental collaboration where colleagues have communication and visibility of what’s happening across the wider business. Every team is involved and knows where they fit in. The idea is to create a series of ‘mini startups’ where colleagues aren’t restricted by a significant amount of processes and are empowered to innovate and make decisions with guidelines.
It's this drive to innovate that’s at the core of our future plans at Trinny London. We’re looking to evolve the web journey, expanding the personalisation element as a value add to our customers. There are also plans to further expand the product range and reach – watch this space….
Taher Khaliq, CTO at Trinny London, is one of the speakers at IRX @ DTX+UCX takes place on 12 & 13 October at ExCeL London. Register – for free – here.