A Melbourne mom fed up with the ‘horror’ reaction caused by tanning products decided to make her own – and it’s gone global.
Liz Agresta had grown so tired of how badly her skin would react to certain tanning products that she decided to make her own.
In the three years since she launched Australian Glow, the parent company has made a whopping $4 million in revenue.
Liz had always been a religious tanner, but when she turned 30, her skin began to suffer from reactions on her face from the harsh chemicals that other tanning products contain.
She said it got to a point where she would feel self-conscious instead of feeling confident.
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“I did this to look great, but it had the opposite effect,” Liz told news.com.au.
“I had very sensitive skin, so I often reacted to everything I used on my body.
“My skin would break out, I would have redness, breakouts and just horrible reactions and it was the same with my tanning regimen.
“I was very aware of sun damage, so I resorted to self-tanning products, but again, my skin would always react.”
It was at this point that Liz had a lightbulb moment and began to look for a solution.
“I looked at products on the market and realized there was a lot of them,” she said.
“The ingredients are often the same and then I went to trade shows and started to get more interested in the beauty industry.”
Liz contacted a local Melbourne manufacturer who also had a drug store and from there they set out to develop the 1 Hour Express Dark Self Tan Mousse.
It is a natural, organic and nourishing self-tanning lotion that is “super moisturizing”.
“I wanted a product that didn’t contain nasty chemicals,” Liz said.
It contains ingredients such as Kakadu plum, Goji Berry, aloe vera and avocado oil.
“At the same time, I never wanted a product that wouldn’t give you that beautiful bronzed look, so it had to be super moisturizing and good for your skin.”
The product also contains DHA, the ingredient for color in tan products.
“All tanning brands use DHS, but it’s all the other things they put in that make all the difference.”
Australian Glow’s Instagram page has 238,000 followers, but if you haven’t heard much about it yet, there’s a reason.
Liz decided to launch the brand abroad for the first time in 2019, following the huge interest it generated at Cosmoprof, one of the world’s largest beauty fairs in Bologna, Italy.
“I couldn’t compete with what was going on here in Australia – the market was saturated with tanning brands,” Liz told news.com.au.
“I decided to go to a trade show abroad and we got a lot of interest from major retailers who wanted to sell our products.”
Liz launched the 1 Hour Express Dark Self Tan Mousse and its refills, the latter being the big difference that buyers go crazy for – especially in the Nordic countries where sustainability is a huge thing.
“Instead of buying a new bottle, customers would just go to a store and buy a refill pack – they use 80% less plastic than a standard tanning bottle. And it was a big hit abroad.”
Following success overseas, she launched the Down Under brand in 2019, with Priceline being the first major retailer to jump on board.
It has also expanded to the US, which now accounts for more than 75 percent of sales. Some of the major retailers worldwide include Macys, Revolve, Douglas, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropology.
Liz and her team of eight are also in the final stages of closing a major US pharmacy with more than 8,000 locations.
This deal alone will be worth $7 million a year for Australian Glow’s profits.
Liz has invested $25,000 in the company and has sold 300,000 units since its inception.
But it has not been an easy journey with Liz who says she has had many challenges along the way.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride – I’ve made so many mistakes. It’s my first time doing something like this and besides, there are so many beauty export regulations abroad that I wasn’t aware of.”
Despite the hurdles, Liz said it was an incredible experience and often can’t believe the rapid success of her small business, which is reportedly worth $15 million.
In line with her ethos to change the industry for good, the 37-year-old has taken a bold step to provide a completely transparent ingredient list.
The world’s first initiative aims to empower customers to make informed choices when it comes to their skin.
Each ingredient is listed and explained in detail why it was used.
And of course, Liz hasn’t experienced any horror reactions since using her own products, with 15 more to launch by the end of 2022.
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