The first-time female investors backing Adore Beauty

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Both women are admirers of Adore Beauty’s co-founder Kate Morris, who launched the company with partner James Height from their Melbourne home 20 years ago.

Fast forward to October 2020, Adore Beauty became the most valuable public float of 2020 with a market capitalisation of $653 million – the largest ASX listing ever by a female co-founder.

For her part, Ms Morris tweeted that the addition of first-time investors onto the register was a highlight of the IPO process.

But while she finds the Adore Beauty co-founder to be an inspirational role model, Ms Howarth makes clear her investment was motivated by more than that.

“It’s less about backing a female founder and more about backing a great Aussie brand with amazingly relatable founder roots,” she says.

“I intend to hold my shares for a while and potentially add more to the portfolio.”

Battling the patriarchy

Summer Howarth is a fan of Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris.  Supplied

Ms Kane had no doubt about the company she wanted to invest in. However, she found the process of participating in an initial public offering far from simple.

“It felt like a complete gauntlet of information and completely obfuscated by jargon,” she says. “

“I had to lean on my incredibly supportive group of friends, having lengthy chat discussions with high school friends – all women with their own stock [portfolios].”

Controversially, she suspects investing isn’t made difficult by accident – instead, she sees it as a likely function of the industry’s male dominance.

“Like any industry or systemic infrastructure that is set up by men, the stock and finance sector can often feel completely unreachable until it’s unveiled in a way an individual can easily comprehend,” she says.

Her fellow shareholder Ms Howarth says she is grateful that the Adore Beauty IPO gave her a “push” into doing something about her wealth creation plans.

But it also made her realise how few female-led companies are listed on the exchange.

“Let’s change that,” she says.

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