Why Aussie skincare brands are dominating globally

By Patrick Forster

Aussie skincare brands are nailing it right now. Around the world, Australian skincare companies are dominating sales graphs and getting global recognition for their innovative products, stellar marketing, and ethical credentials.

Many of these Aussie brands started small. But through a great business strategy, these grassroots brands have grown from strength to strength.

Here we pick apart the best Aussie beauty brands to see why.

KORA Organics – No-Fuss Skincare (With Model Approval)

This Aussie skincare brand was set up by Victoria’s Secret Angel Miranda Kerr. Having a celebrity ambassador and founder is a good start for any beauty-based business. Indeed, KORA Organics has soared in popularity since its 2009 launch.

While many a model-turned-entrepreneur have attempted their own beauty brand launch, few have achieved the success Kerr has with KORA.

Funding for the brand has come entirely from Kerr. It is estimated the company is now valued at $13.2 billion — not bad for what started as a one-woman show. The skincare brand first started with sales limited to just Australia, but soon expanded overseas. This global expansion move saw the website sell five times the amount of product than it had in the previous year.

Why it works: the brand is all about no-fuss skincare – and their marketing reflects that. Its Instagram page is replete with minimalist product displays and gentle pastel colours. This reflects an uncomplicated brand with a wholesome ethos, and one its customers adore.

Jurlique – Natural Ingredients From An Environmentally Friendly Brand

Much like KORA, started its life as a small, niche skincare brand. It puts an emphasis on natural ingredients and sells products that are as environmentally friendly as possible.

Their business HQ can be found in Adelaide, Australia, but their products have spread across the globe, and you can find it on the shelves of virtually every major beauty retailer worldwide.

Jurlique started with biochemist Dr Jurgen Klein and his wife Ulrike (the brand name is a combination of their two names). The pair are testament to the fact that small, niche business ideas can grow into international successes.

When first looking to expand their brand, Jurlique set their sights on the booming French skincare market and have grown exponentially since.

The brand is now estimated to have around 500 employees, with a probable annual revenue of $100 million, proving that even the most niche market areas can grow beyond all initial expectations.

Why it works: Jurlique place a great emphasis on 100% natural, environmentally-friendly ingredients. While environmentally-friendly businessesare nothing new in the beauty world, Jurlique was one of the first. It owes its success to early identification of a niche, and then owning that niche.

KORAH Beauty – Scrappy Upstart Using A Low Risk Model

Founded in 2017, this scrappy upstart has already made plenty of waves in the skincare industry. Founded on the mission statement of providing skincare products at the most affordable price, KORAH Beautyare a brand that wants everyone to look their best.

What sets KORAH Beauty apart from the more established brands is the business model they use. Founder Zhouwen Yi uses dropshipping to source skincare and a range of other cosmetics products. This has made KORAH Beauty a low risk success story because stock is purchased by the business on an order-by-order basis – Zhouwen doesn’t hold any skincare products.

And how successful has KORAH Beauty been? The brand has over 23,000 customers, more than 17,000 Instagram followers, and has revenue of nearly $360,000 AUD in a little over 18 months (figures taken from these business listings in Australia). This makes KORAH Beauty one of Australia’s brightest new skincare brands.

KORAH Beauty shows that even a scrappy upstart run in your spare time can be a success. Yes, it requires time, effort, and commitment — but it’s possible.

Why it works: adopting a low-risk model doesn’t have to be low-reward. With smart marketing and savvy management, KORAH Beauty built a solid business from scratch.

Mecca Cosmetica – Game Changer

Founded by visionary entrepreneur Jo Horgan, Mecca Cosmetica is a global skincare empire with a focus on getting niche, nascent makeup brands to the masses.

Horgan first began running her skincare business with the support and help of her family and husband. Today the brand has over 2,300 employees. And in 2014, Horgan was listed in the top 50 most influential people in the beauty business in Women’s Wear Daily, her name appearing alongside high-fashion icons like Marc Jacobs.

Like all of these success stories, Mecca Cosmetica started out as just an idea. Horgan’s eureka moment came when she first noticed the growing trend of niche beauty brands.

She saw that, rather than sticking to the more well-known companies, women sought out smaller, more niche (and therefore exclusive) brands. With this in mind, Horgan left her job working for beauty giant L’Oreal and decided to strike out on her own with Mecca Cosmetica.

Naturally, this was a daunting decision, particularly coming from a cosmetics giant like L’Oreal. But Horgan succeeded, and today Mecca Cosmetica is a global brand that continues to expand.

Why it works: Horgan knows her customers. She saw that a significant portion of the market shunned traditional cosmetics companies in favour of indie brands. By catering for that market and owning it, Horgan created a skincare brand that dominates the scene.

Good ideas lead to good businesses, and Australia’s booming skincare industry is a shining example of this.

This article first appeared in the First5000 Linkedin group.

Patrick Foster loves to work with new businesses and help them reach their audience through a variety of entrepreneurial websites.

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