How a 29 Year Old Beauty Therapist Created a Million Dollar Skincare Business



Kayla Houlihan founder of vegan skincare brand Tribe talks about the 24 hour success of her business.

Launching only one product from her skincare range Tribe, at the age of 29, beauty therapist Kayla made 27K in under 24-hours on Instagram. The product, was a humble Face Natural Sunscreen Moisturiser called Protect Me! Day Moisturiser with SPF30 RRP $58

From eye creams, body washes to serum and then some, the now successfully selling beauty range is vegan, cruelty-free, natural and causing quite the stir on social media, as beauty influencers take to their accounts sharing their experiences with the brand.

This was the stepping stone she needed to kick start the development of more products in the Tribe skincare range, with a product now selling every five minutes.

“It been nearly three years since we launched, and the brand is growing at such a rapid rate. It’s exciting to see, but also one of the scariest parts of running Tribe Skincare. We constantly have to adjust the business model to ensure we meet consumer demand.” Kayla explains.

“I studied Beauty Therapy and begAn my beauty career working for Australia’s largest spa company, Endota Spa. I (then) ran a skin clinic specialising in microdermabrasion for three years, before launching my own personal skincare brand Tribe, just over 2 years ago. The whole experience has been very surreal.” Kayla explains.

Tribe Skincare is formulated specifically for (even the most) delete sensitive skin. Whilst the powerful active ingredients are very effective, they are also in their purest form and at levels tolerable for sensitive skin. 

The gentle, (and) calming range aims to reduce facial redness and minimise breakouts, dry patches and eczema. The brand is 100% natural, vegan, and free from harmful chemicals, allergens, parabens and artificial fragrances. 

So what makes her brand stand out compared to others and why has it been so successful? Kayla says it’s her understanding of (knowing) what skin needs in a product from her years of being a beauty therapist, which has contributed to the success, especially when it comes to ingredients. What they do and they can work for you.

With a giant hole in the skincare market which was only targeting sensitive skin at that time, Kayla grabbed at the opportunity to develop a product which would deliver outstanding results.

“Medical-grade skincare and actives are trending for sensitive skin, and they do work for some people. However, many people’s skin can’t handle the ingredients used in medical-grade products designed for sensitive skin. So whilst most of the skincare industry was strongly heading into one direction, Tribe went in the opposite direction.

This allowed us to find a niche and serve (the) customers in a more unique way, through social media. As a young, digital brand, we knew all of our customers were hanging out on social media, so we started hanging out there too. This allowed us to form our Tribe,” Kayla explains.

“It’s important to understand what sort of ingredients in your skincare can help balance your skin, helping it adjust to temperatures of the seasons in Australia and keeping skin at its healthiest.

Hyaluronic Acid holds 1,000x its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule which occurs naturally in the skin and it helps to bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin, so that skin can appear plumper, dewier, and more hydrated. Applying it to your skin creates a natural ‘plumping’ effect to smooth out fine lines and restore your skin’s natural glow.

Almond Oil is another great skincare ingredient in your skincare routine, for both face and body. It’s naturally high in Vitamin E which keepS your skin (stay) soft and hydrated,” She says.

Kayla’s recommendations from her Tribe range:

“Enzyme masks are ideal as they are made using natural acidic ingredients from the fruits which deeply exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells, without the use of harsh chemicals and they are receiving a lot of traction in the skincare business as the perfect replacement for microdermabrasion treatment.

This is because the acidic enzyme component of the mask works to remove excess dead skin cells and dirt trapped deep within the pores, much like a micro treatment would, to help you achieve healthier skin, and can also help to heal blemishes faster and prevent them also.” Kayla explains.

Kayla recommends using the Tribe Skincare Scrub Me Exfoliant RRP $58 which has both Papaya and Pineapple enzyme, mixed with purifying white clay, coconut milk and crushed oats, for a soft, but deep cleanse to the skin to remove dead skin cells and renew skin for Autumn.

Kayla took inspiration for the name and packaging as a way of creating a community of like minded peeps.

“I wanted a word that was east to say and remember, but also something which had meaning. Tribe is inclusive and is about community and looking out for one another.

Being an all-natural skincare brand, most would probably assume we would run with a more minimalist approach to the packaging. But in fact, I wanted something which would stand out from the crowd.

Skincare is a tactile product, so along with the tropical packaging and delicious scents which have been naturally derived from the organic botanical oils used in the creation of the product, we have created a lovely self-care experience to go with it.” Kayla tells us.

With so much to love about this brand, from the ingredients to the fun loving packaging and of course the idea of becoming part of a community connecting with the brand, it’s no wonder Tribe became an overnight sensation from selling only one product to start.

And Kayla has some exciting future plans for the brand, in the near future too.

“We are about to move into our new location in Melbourne, which will be our warehouse, office and showroom. This will be Tribe HQ. It’s super exciting actually, as local customers will be able to come in for an in-store experience, and the warehouse will help us better serve customers all around Australia by cutting their shipping costs.”

You can shop the brand here.

My Favourite Beauty Product of the Week:

Liquid Beauty Blender Blender Cleanser RRP $21

Beauty Blender Blender Cleanser

There’s always a risk to cleansing your blending sponges and makeup brushes. If you scrub to hard you risk losing little particles from the sponge or brush. If you don’t scrub hard enough, then bacteria and other dirt stays on the sponge yuck!

Beauty Blender have created the perfect Beauty Blender Cleanser, which not only works for the beautyblender® sponge but can easily clean other makeup tools as well.

The gentle cleanser which has been formulated with coconut oil and sustainable palm oils will remove dirt and makeup and kill bacteria in your sponge and other makeup tools you’re cleaning too. The cleanser has also been scented with lavender, which gives you a lovely calming experience whilst you’re cleaning all your makeup tools.

It’s real easy to use too. Check out the video below from Beauty Blender on how you can use your cleanser to clean sponges and makeup brushes.

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Rebecca Wilkinson


Say hello to Bondi Beauty's Beauty Columnist. Rebecca is a pescatarian, who may yet become vegan. She loves all things beauty, health & travel with a weakness for coffee. If she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's trying out the latest beauty craze like ice baths or rubbing smashed avo on her face. We know, what a waste of smashed avo. Reach out to her with your beauty questions.

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