Napoleon Perdis is the creator of a line of women’s cosmetics, aptly named after him, allowing women of all ages the opportunity to enhance their natural beauty and best facial features through a selection of colour cosmetics. Today, Napoleon Perdis is a respected, international cosmetics brand, with Napoleon’s makeup artistry skills hired for use on fashion shows and film projects, both in Australia and internationally.
The success of the Napoleon Perdis brand did not happen overnight. Having completed a Political science degree, majoring in business law and marketing management, and with a $30 000 loan from his father, Napoleon opened his first cosmetics store and make up Academy in 1995 on Oxford Street, Paddington. It is through his ability to connect with customers that the business grew so rapidly.
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The success of the business today is most effectively demonstrated by the number of Napoleon Perdis concept stores across Australia and New Zealand, 59, and the additional 800 locations which his products are available from, increasing the worth of the Napoleon Perdis brand to $81 million (BRW 2007). In addition to this, the Napoleon Perdis makeup academy has grown from holding 12 to 3,000 students. The Napoleon Perdis product range includes cosmetics and applicator tools for face, eyes, lips, body and nails, ranging from $5 for an eye pencil sharpener, to $400 for a silver makeup case.
The Academy provides both Certificate and Diploma courses for students in Australia and America wanting to learn the skills of makeup artistry. The Napoleon Perdis cosmetic range is designed to appeal to women of all ages and ethnicities due to the versatile colour range, including 9 different shades of foundation, designed to suit women of all skin types. Generally, the target market for Napoleon Perdis cosmetics is young, image conscious females aged 18-30, with a disposable income to spend on pampering, quality cosmetics.
This is evident from the higher price point, at $40 for foundation, as well as in the brands newest promotional campaign, featuring Alice Burdeu, from Australia’s Next Top Model, which is likely to appeal to a younger demographic who would be fans of the television series. The brand’s targeted appeal towards a younger female demographic is also evident in the youthful packaging, which is characterised by a butterfly symbol, and the media events which Napoleon is involved in, including the Movie Extra FilmInk Awards and the Emmy Awards.
The Napoleon Perdis brand, which belongs to the makeup industry, does not specifically target women in any particular geographic area, as the products are available in David Jones stores across Australia, which are accessible to the average consumer. Values are defined as ‘Principles held by people they deem to be important in guiding their behavior’ (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis 2005). Values are important because they give us something to strive for and something to measure our behavior by.
Based on the Sociocognitive Approach to determining personality type, by which Napoleon would be described as having an internal locus of control, as well as assumption inferred from interviews with Napoleon Perdis, I would conclude that Napoleon Perdis’ dominant personal values, as dictated by Scwartz, listed in order of personal importance are Security, Achievement, Self-Direction, Stimulation, Power, Hedonism, Benevolence, Universalism, Tradition and Conformity. Schwartz’s view of values indicates that universally we all have the same set of values, yet place these values in different priorities (Dollinger, Burke & Gump 2007).
Through Napoleon’s comments about his family in interviews, and through the fact that his wife, father and brother work in managerial positions alongside Napoleon, it is safe to infer that he places the safety of his loved ones high on his scale of values and, therefore, Security would be his top value. This is closely followed by Achievement. It is clear that Napoleon values personal success highly, through such comments as “I want to have 1,500 doors across the world. ” (Spicer 2006), therefore placing achievement as his second highest value.
Napoleon Perdis is perceived to be a very independent person, highly valuing creativity and the freedom to act, which are stated as characteristics of Self-Direction by Alice Ramos (2006). We can see that Napoleon possesses these qualities through his description of his personality when establishing his business, “I was very aggressive and assertive, and I was very positive with what I wanted” (Spicer 2006). From this information it is clear that Napoleon would consider Self-Direction of high importance.
This quote also reinforces the fact that Napoleon has an internal locus of control, meaning he believes that he is responsible for his own fate. Because of Napoleon’s dynamic and energetic personality, I believe that he would value Stimulation as of high importance to him, as he seems to enjoy change, excitement and stimulating experiences. Coming from humble beginnings it is clear that Napoleon intends to enjoy his life and the wealth that he has created, having not been exposed to many luxuries during his childhood.
Because of his upbringing, I feel that Napoleon would regard Power and Hedonism highly as values, as he appears to consider power and material possessions of importance. The importance of power to Napoleon is seen through such comments as “I want to be remembered for something”(Light 2005), while the importance he places on personal wealth is seen through his notoriously over-the-top personal style, and through such remarks as “I am absolutely not a minimalist! ” (Naughton & Miller 2005).
The fact that Napoleon is a supporter of Amnesty International’s ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ campaign, and sells fundraising white ribbons during November in his concept stores, demonstrates that he regards Benevolence and Universalism as of value to him, but whether this support is simply a marketing ploy, aptly chosen to raise awareness for issues effecting his target market, is debatable. For this reason, I placed these values relatively low on Napoleon’s personal value list. Lastly, as values, Tradition and Conformity contradict his dynamic, enigmatic nature and, therefore, would not be considered of high importance to him.
A leadership style can be defined as ‘…a pattern of behavior designed to integrate organisational and personal interests in pursuit of some objective. ‘ (Hunt 1974) It is evident that the significant dominant leadership style that Napoleon Perdis employs is a Transformational leadership style. Transformational leadership is defined by the Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology as ‘…leadership that motivates followers to transcend their self-interests for a collective purpose, vision or mission’ (Feinberg et al. 2005 p471).
The source goes on to say that Transformational leadership generally encourages a certain level of trust and admiration towards the leader, which inspires employees to go beyond the levels of performance that they would normally be inclined to achieve. Napoleon Perdis’ refined vision for his brand and his dynamic, energetic nature motivates his staff to perform in order to accomplish his aspirations for the future of the business. I feel that there is one common flaw in the Transformational leadership theory in regards to the real life practice of the Napoleon Perdis brand.
This leadership theory maintains that a leader’s followers are so inspired by the leader’s vision for the company and feel trust towards the leader, therefore, motivating them to perform to higher levels than they would usually strive for. In this instance, I feel that, while this leadership style does apply to Napoleon Perdis, it has a strong correlation with the type of staff who are hired to work within the business, and cannot be solely attributed to the character traits and vision of Napoleon Perdis.
While Napoleon does demonstrate the characteristics that are common of Transformational leadership, including a presence of charisma, being inspirational and motivating to others, and having an understanding and consideration for the individual (Morales et al. 2006), I feel that the general type of employee who is hired to work in the Napoleon Perdis business has a higher likelihood and predisposition to willingly follow a character like Napoleon Perdis. For instance, people who apply to work in the Napoleon Perdis concept stores generally apply for such a position due o an existing interest in makeup and makeup artistry. These factors would also come into close consideration when selecting staff for the stores, as having experience in makeup artistry or a background in the makeup industry is preferred for the job. Conducting some primary observatory research through visiting a selection of Napoleon Perdis concept stores, I discovered that all of the staff I surveyed were studying makeup artistry, some at the Napoleon Perdis Academy, and many had hopes of working in the makeup industry as a makeup artist in the future.
It is for this reason that followers of Napoleon Perdis would likely be inclined to perform to a greater level then they generally would, not merely for a partial feeling of trust towards Napoleon himself, an inspiration drawn from his vision for the business, nor a ‘shared sense of what is important’, (Homrig 2001) but for an existing love and interest in the makeup industry.
On the basis of my personal research surveying staff at the Napoleon Perdis concept stores, and discovering that many of them have similar goals and needs, it would be a strategic move for Napoleon Perdis to utilise the Path-Goal Theory when relating to his store employees. The Path-Goal Theory states that leaders should consider follower’s characteristics and personal needs and demonstrate how these can be achieved through job performance (Mathieu 1990).
As a majority of the staff are aiming to work in the makeup and beauty industry in the future, demonstrating that working in a Napoleon Perdis concept store can give staff the knowledge, skills and experience dealing with customers that they require in order to practice makeup artistry, would imply to staff that working at Napoleon Perdis is a vital stepping stone to their future careers and, therefore, give them greater job satisfaction and a higher likelihood to perform.
While Napoleon’s leadership style shows predominant characteristics of Transformational leadership, it should also be noted that he displays leadership behavior which is linked to Benevolent Autocracy. Benevolent Autocracy is a form of leadership where the leader ‘…tells and explains, utilising positive reinforcement if the behavior is forthcoming. ‘ (Flippo 1961) Evidence of Napoleon’s use of this form of leadership is seen through the fact that he rewards staff members from his concept stores with Westfield gift vouchers, should they perform over budget.
The fact that budgets are set for staff can also be seen as having similarities to the Transactional style of leadership, which is described as providing goals and task clarity for staff, which increases the chances of the task being completed efficiently. (Jogulu et al. 2007) The term culture refers to ‘…the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people’, as defined by Li & Karakowsky (2001). The organisational culture of the Napoleon Perdis business is one of charisma and appeal, with a sense quality and luxury.
The impression of quality and luxury is portrayed throughout all areas of the business from the packaging and naming of the product range, with one of the ranges being named Chandelier Shine, implying a sense of luxury, to the decor of the concept stores, with walls decorated in thick black and white stripes, and decor including chandeliers and vintage lamps, a look that Napoleon describes as “Dorothy Draper meets European baroque” (Brown 2006 pg 11).
It is the view of LaGuardia (2008) that employees are likely to adopt the same feelings of luxury and quality surrounded by that atmosphere, thus reinforcing the organisational culture. In addition to this, staff who work at Napoleon Perdis concept stores are granted a $500 makeup allowance every 6 months to spend in store, ensuring that they arrive to work looking immaculate. Even Napoleon himself serves as the most prominent marketing tool for his business, always dressed and preened impeccably, associating a sense of luxury and leisure to the culture of his organisation.
This sense of quality and luxury is consistent across all aspects of the Napoleon Perdis brand creating cultural alignment which, according to O’Brien, leads to higher levels of performance (1998). The business also appears to have a charismatic and motivational culture, notably due to Napoleon Perdis’ own personality. I feel that McNamara’s definition of organisational culture as being ‘…the personality of the organisation’ (2008) applies very strongly to this point.
This culture is fostered through rewarding staff with Westfield vouchers for excellent performance, thus nurturing a sense of goodwill among the staff and giving them something to strive for, encouraging a collective effort. The fun, youthful culture of Napoleon Perdis is maintained through the organisation’s involvement in such events as Australia’s Next Top Model and the Hair and Beauty Expo. In addition to this, a themed staff Christmas party is held every year, where every employee receives a gift, and trivial awards are appointed, including the ‘Best Dressed’ award, thus reinforcing the youthful, fun culture of Napoleon Perdis.
The fact that staff in concept stores are required to wear a uniform, consisting of a black Napoleon t-shirt with the recognisable butterfly symbol, reinforces cultural alignment among employees, as do compulsory training sessions in anticipation of new product ranges. Reference List Brown, Women’s Wear Daily, 2006, Vol. 192 Issue 84, p11 Burke, Dollinger, Gump, 2007, ‘Creativity and Values’, Creativity Research Journal, Vol. 19 Issue 2/3, p91-103 Burke, Feinberg, Ostroff, 2005, ‘The role of within-group agreement in understanding transformational leadership’, Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p471-488 ‘Young Rich List’, 2007, Business Review Weekly Clegg, Kornberger, Pitsis, 2005, Managing and Organisations: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, Sage Publications Flippo, 1961, Principles of personal management, 4th edition, McGraw Hill Book Company Garcia-Morales, Llorens-Montes, Verdu-Jover, 2006, ‘Antecedents and consequences of organizational innovation and organizational learning in entrepreneurship’, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 106 Issue 1, p21-42 Homrig, 2001, Transformational Leadership, http://leadership. au. af. il/documents/homrig. htm Hunt, 1974, Interpersonal Strategies for System Management: Applications of Counseling and Participative Principles, Brooks/Cole Publishing Company Jogulu & Wood, 2007, ‘Power struggle [staff empowerment]’, Engineering Management, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p36-37 Karakowsky & Li, 2001, ‘Do We See Eye-to-Eye? Implications of Cultural Differences for Cross-Cultural Management Research and Practice’. The Journal of Psychology, p501-517 LaGuardia, Organizational Culture, 2008, Vol. 62 Issue 3, p56-61 Light, 2005, Money Magazine, Issue 10, p18-20 http://web. bscohost. com. ezproxy. lib. uts. edu. au/ehost/detail? vid=4&hid=112&sid=5a66f380-b951-4254-98d3-46ecf9757125%40sessionmgr109 Mathieu, 1990, ‘A Test of Subordinates’ Achievement and Affiliation Needs as Moderators of Leader Path-Goal Relationships’, Basic & Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p179-189 McNamara, Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision, 1997-2008, http://www. managementhelp. org/org_thry/culture/culture. htm Naughton & Miller, ‘Napoleon out to grow US business’, Women’s Wear Daily, 2005, Vol. 90 Issue 38, p6-6, 1/3p http://web. ebscohost. com. ezproxy. lib. uts. edu. au/ehost/detail? vid=4&hid=112&sid=5a66f380-b951-4254-98d3-46ecf9757125%40sessionmgr109 O’Brien, ‘Does an Ideal Organisational Culture Exist? ‘ http://www. rodanderson. com. au/views/does. htm Ramos, 2006, ‘Social values dynamics and socio-economic development’, Portuguese Journal of Social Science, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p35-64 Spicer, 2006, ‘What is an Entrepreneur? ‘ http://www. dynamicbusiness. com/articles/articles-entrepreneur-profiles/what-is-an-entrepreneur-napoleon-p-3. html