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We are working with Urban Decay in their search for a Director of Digital based in Newport Beach, CA. This is one of the coolest digital marketing jobs in SoCal.

Urban Decay is beauty with an edge. It is feminine, dangerous and fun … appealing to anyone who relishes her individuality and dares to express it. From brazen shade names and an insane range of colors to innovative (and ultra long-lasting) products, Urban Decay has been revolutionizing the beauty industry for over 15 years. With an endless array of high-performance products that includes unique eye makeup, performance foundations, primers, and setting sprays that give makeup serious staying power, Urban Decay has always found new ways to shake up the prestige beauty world and excite beauty junkies and makeup artists alike.

Urban Decay is the leading, trend-setting cosmetics company that extends employment opportunities to those individuals who are just as passionate about working in the industry as we are. Our company’s success and growth allows us to search for highly talented and extremely dedicated individuals who are eager to join our team.

The Director of Digital will focus on Growing the Digital Commerce business through executing tactical online marketing tasks as well as functioning in a highly strategic capacity. They will work directly with the Social Media team to ensure cohesive messaging across all Digital channels.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: According to an April 2013 article in the Orange County register, Wende Zomnir exploded into the cosmetic scene in 1996 “like a punk princess crashing a debutante ball,” and the hues of the nascent Newport Beach company, Urban Decay, served as an antidote to the conservative cosmetic colors of the time. Urban Decay had been founded by Sandy Lerner, who co-founded tech firm Cisco Systems, and Lerner saw Zomnir’s creative potential immediately. Urban Decay’s first major client was Sephora, who decided to launch the edgy, high-quality upstart brand in its stores as a foil to the beige, reds and pinks that dominated the cosmetic space at the time.

Check out Wende talking up Urban Decay’s Revolution Lipstick in the following YouTube short. You can tell she loves the product and knows what she’s talking about …

In its 17 year life, Urban Decay has been owned by LV MH (2000), the duty-free company Falic Group (2002), as well as my private equity friends at Castanea Partners (2009), who sold the firm last December to L’Oreal for $300-400 million, according to Dow Jones Global Equities News sources.

With more than 100 years experience, L’Oreal (who’s getting deadly serious about ecommerce) is one of the world’s leading beauty companies with a portfolio of 27 complementary brands. With sales exceeding €20 billion in 2011, L’Oreal employees nearly 70,000 people worldwide.

According to L’Oréal’s president, Nicolas Hieronimus, “Urban Decay will beautifully complement L’Oréal Luxe’s portfolio of iconic brands. It is totally additional to our existing propositions and as such it will contribute significantly to the growth of the division in the years to come.” Given L’Oreal’s industry knowledge, distribution network, purchasing power, and human plus financial resources, Urban Decay’s best days lie ahead of it.

About the Industry

According to the Personal Care Products Council, the US personal care products manufacturing industry includes about 800 companies with combined annual revenue of about $41 billion. Cosmetics account for roughly 35% of that number. The industry is concentrated: the 50 largest firms account for about 85 percent of industry revenue.

The cosmetic retail space is nearly as concentrated, with the top 50 companies controlling 75% of the $11 billion that flow through America’s 13,000 cosmetics stores. Major competitors include department stores, mass merchandisers, drug stores, TV shopping networks, Internet retailers, distributors, supermarkets, manufacturers, and salons. In addition, some beauty stores compete with dermatologists and plastic surgeons in the high-end market for cosmetics and skin care.

About the Role

Urban Decay’s digital initiatives have been on the right track ever since we placed the firm’s current AVP, Digital, Katherine LaFranchise, in the role in 2010. Under Katherine’s stewardship, Urban Decay’s online revenues have grown at a healthy clip of 44% per year for the last three years!

Urban Decay’s online clientele can be segmented into in three primary personas, one of which spends north of $800 per year on makeup and is in tune with the latest styles and experiments with new looks on a weekly basis. The good news is that she can be extraordinarily brand loyal, but the challenge for is that this customer is also channel agnostic: She’s less particular about through which Urban Decay channel she buys, so long as the sales process helps her discover new things about the brand — and herself.

The major issues for are 1.) How can management use digital to grow Urban Decay’s overall business? and 2.) How can the site increase its share of the customer’s wallet in a way that’s pie-enlarging, not pie-rearranging? According to Katherine, “We’re preparing to launch exclusive products available only on, and once we ramp up our CRM initiatives, we plan on developing innovative programs to reward different customers differently.

This delicate trade-off has required Urban Decay to think differently about how it evaluates success: Until Katherine arrived, Urban Decay was only ROI-driven in its online marketing. Today, even though UD meticulously tracks its marketing ROI’s, the firm is balancing those ROI targets with “softer” indicators of success. According to Katherine, “We strive to integrate branding initiatives in a smart way, while still delivering ROI on other key initiatives such that the blended ROI makes financial sense.”

What kinds of projects await the new Director?

For starters, Urban Decay’s new Director of Digital can plan on working with the company’s vendors to examine customer biases and develop insights about the brand’s most meaningful customer segments. Next, the new Director will be challenged to develop triggered, sequenced e-mail campaigns that sell to different customers differently – the way these customers want to buy.

Of course, such an initiative would involve the integration of CRM, e-mail, mobile, and personalization technologies, and it would require the new Director to bring an analytical bias to the way they evaluate these things. This isn’t just about creating harder hitting e-mails. It’s about making sure that Urban Decay gets smarter about every customer’s needs and values every time the customer touches the organization – regardless of where that customer touch occurs.

Should you apply for the job?

I seem to be saying this a lot lately: We are looking for a business person. Katherine and I seek a Director who has led a team and managed a P&L. We want someone who has a teachable point of view on online retail KPI’s and can debate the relative strengths and limitations of traditional online KPI analysis. This would require you to understand cost drivers and revenue drivers as well as the mechanics of an integrated supply chain in a highly branded consumer retail category.

We’re looking for someone who can negotiate skillfully with internal and external resources as well as “sell” (both up and down the organization) the hard and soft benefits of a highly integrated omnichannel ecommerce piece. We’re looking for a builder; of people, of teams, and of businesses. If that’s you, then we’d love for you to apply below.


  • Develop innovative and effective promotional strategies that encourage shoppers to convert to buyers, purchasing in-line basics along with seasonal merchandise.
  • Create and execute digital merchandising and promotion strategy. This includes monthly calendar development and ensuring product availability internally.
  • Analyze click-through data, interpret trends, draw conclusions and make thoughtful recommendations.
  • Uncover, analyze and interpret KPI’s. Monthly/weekly reporting to key stakeholders.
  • Execute test, analysis and optimization plans for on-site features; including home page and content slots, as well as email marketing campaigns.
  • Ensure that all promotions are set up properly in the system and tested, working with Customer Service Manager on website operational issues.
  • Enhance the user experience by improving the quality and relevance of search engine results.
  • Work with AVP, Digital on management of external digital agency.
  • Work with AVP, Digital on developing a comprehensive content strategy for the website and email programs.
  • Formulate markdown/off-price strategy with other business units to ensure a cohesive and profitable program.
  • Manage inventory allocation and work with Operations to secure appropriate inventory for new product launches, ongoing promotions and promotional products.
  • Plan and execute sampling strategy to increase customer interest and conversion into full-size products.
  • Work closely with the Social Media Director to convert a large social fan base into shoppers and buyers.
  • Collaborate with internal teams to leverage promotions and launch activities that are successful at retail.
  • Manage Content Editor and process of content creation on site and for web marketing assets.


  • 5 to 7 years of experience in digital, ecommerce or agency required.
  • College degree is required with a focus in Marketing or Management preferred
  • Ability to multi-task and succeed in a performance-based environment. Strong attention to detail combined with the ability to prioritize and meet aggressive targets and deadlines.
  • Hands-on experience with campaign management and iteration.
  • Experience managing complete conversion funnel process from lead generation to revenue creation.
  • MS Office
  • Experience with Demandware or CMS preferred
  • CRM software experience preferred


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