The LDC Top 50 Alumni
Where Are They Now: Dan Williams, CEO of Orean
4 Oct 2023
4 Oct 2023
Orean boss and Ironman triathlete Dan Williams featured in The LDC Top 50 in 2019, when he had just completed an impressive turnaround of the private label cosmetics manufacturer, taking it from £3m turnover to £20m. He didn’t stop there. Despite the impact of Brexit, the Suez Canal crisis, supply chain issues, client cashflow crises and more, he has managed to take the business, which makes beauty products on behalf of some of the world’s biggest brands, to £34m in revenue.
Orean has also become B Corp certified, in recognition of being purpose-driven and operating as a force for good. “We ramped up growth in the US, dropped minimum order sizes to help smaller brands keep trading, and added an insights department to the business,” he reveals. The industry veteran, who has worked in beauty for 23 years, plans to grow the US business until it matches UK revenues. “I like shooting for big goals,” he says. “You don’t know what you’re capable of until you start aiming high.”
How is your US expansion plan going?
During the pandemic, the US division grew so fast that we had to relocate. We moved from Illinois to a site four times’ the size in Indiana, and had to manage the whole transition remotely. We originally set up in the US to help our UK clients get into that market. We didn’t realise that we’d soon have US brands knocking on our door too. Right now, the US represents around a quarter of our total revenue, but we think it will be 50/50 within five years.
How do you attract customers?
We have many strings to our bow. We have an insights team that provides free consultations to customers that are worth thousands of pounds. We also provide compliance and regulatory support as part of the package. But a really big thing we achieved was to become B Corp certified. We were already an ethical company, following B Corp principles – but we weren’t documenting anything. We became certified in December last year and that helped us to attract lots of new customers – and great staff too.
Have you faced many barriers to growth?
Over the past few years, times have been tough. There was a lot of uncertainty, so many brands cancelled or delayed orders. We were hit by Brexit, supply chain issues and the Suez Canal issue, it was one thing after another.
How do you deal with challenging times?
I am a blind optimist. The hardest bit is keeping everyone around you positive. I maintain my mindset by training 18 hours a week. I take part in Ironman triathlons, and that keeps me sane. I also do ice baths as a meditation practice. The idea is that you consciously put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, and that makes you better able to deal with problems that come up in real life.