We chat with the founder of Aussie natural skincare brand SEEH on what inspired her to start her own beauty brand and how you can start one too.
Sophie Hansson was born and raised in Tasmania. She now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband, their rascal cat Oscar, and are expecting their first child due at the end of the year.
She had an interest in beauty, from when she was very young. When Sophie was in primary school, she would spend time with her best friend making DIY facemarks using smashed up fruit, avocado, clay and honey. A regular activity on sleepovers.
When she was in year six, her mum bought her a three step skincare kit, to help manage her skin from a young age and combat any issues whilst growing up in her teenage years.
This was long before the days of beauty bloggers. Sophie’s influencer was her mum. Having similar skin types – both really dry and sensitive, it was easy for Sophie’s mum to help her with her skin concerns as she grew up. And even as an adult, Sophie raids her mother’s skincare cabinet for inspiration when she goes back home to Tasmania.
When she was twenty five, Sophie began to see annoying bumps developing across her jawline and chin. After trying everything from different pimple creams, exfoliators and even antibiotics, through trial and error, Sophie developed an understanding of her skin, realising she was actually reacting to products she was using. It wasn’t acne or blemishes after all.
The culprit causing this allergic reaction, was the sodium lauryl sulfate in her toothpaste. It was from here Sophie embarked on her natural beauty journey.
Starting on a crusade searching for the best natural skincare products for sensitive skin types, she struggled to find a range of skincare range which was gentle enough for her skin type, had no nasty ingredients, but also contained the right amount of active ingredients needed to actually do something for her skin too.
With a degree in Chemical Engineering Sophie already had an affinity for the science behind beauty, and in particular ingredients and how they work together.
Her mum, who has a TVSN addiction, gave her some of her UK based Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm to try whilst she was searching for a gentle cleanser without any foaming agents. This product literally changed her skin in one single use. She was hooked. But being a UK based brand it was hard to get in Australia and was always sold out online.
Sophie spent countless hours researching the ingredients similar to that in the Emma Hardie product, and eventually sourced the right ingredients she needed to make her own cleansing balm.
SEEH Skincare was formed, but by accident and without the intention of becoming a successful natural beauty brand in Australia.
She started with creating the cleansing balm for herself. This led to then making the balm for friends and family. And now you can purchase the SEEH Skincare’s CLEANSE Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm Australia wide.
Despite the success of SEEH, the business is still relatively new and small. Sophie so far maintains her real job as an engineer whilst her brand develops on the sidelines.
“I still juggle the day job and side hustle. But am very much looking forward to taking maternity leave at the end of the year to shift some more attention (hopefully – pending a sleeping baby) to the business.
Being an engineer I am very risk adverse, so starting up a hustle on the side was, and still is, the best option for me. While the business is small this is manageable for me, but as I grow so will my systems and outsourcing I imagine.
It is pretty full on to be honest. My day job is incredibly demanding as is the business so there is a lot of time management and teamwork involved. But the business uses a different part of my brain than my day job and I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of every five star review, and helping people grow their confidence”, She explains.
These are Sophie’s tips on how you can start your own beauty brand (or any other brand really) whilst managing a full time job:
“A beauty brand is about two key ingredients – marketing to attract your clients, and great products to keep them coming back for more.
There is no such thing as an overnight success and it’s hard to start out and stand out immediately in such a saturated market. Work out your niche, build your following as soon as possible and start as small as you can – side hustles are great for this as it’s important to minimise your financial exposure at the beginning (at least until you know for sure you’re onto something good).
Network and learn from other people, and outsource work in areas that are not your strengths. Look after yourself too, running a business is hard work and you need to be realistic with your expectations when starting out. Make sure you incorporate some ‘me-time’ and balance into your everyday routine.”
Sophie has some exciting plans for the rest of 2020 and so on for the brand. With some new products on the horizon, and of course welcoming a new team mate to the brand (the new Bub).
“This will be our first baby so the joys (and balancing act) of parenthood will be an exciting new challenge for the family. But I am hoping it will also give me the chance to focus more time and effort into my first baby, and SEEH Skincare.
We have something exciting launching in October, and then some more exciting developments later this year and early into next year.”