Twins with no experience in the cosmetic industry who launched a natural skincare brand three years ago are now selling 8,000 products a day.
Women all over the world have been using the first-ever Australian pink clay mask to brighten and clear their complexions since it was brought to the global market by Sarah and Emily Hamilton in April 2017.
The Melbourne sisters worked in media in London and New York before building their booming beauty empire Sand & Sky, which operates with a near-constant waitlist of 20,000 women desperate to buy its best-selling face mask.
Early entrepreneurial inspiration came from Birch Box, a New York City subscription service founded in September 2010 that ships boxes of beauty and skincare samples to customers across the US once a month.
Nothing like that existed in Australia at the time, so the twins created their own.
Running Bella Box from late 2011 taught the Hamiltons how to market other brand’s beauty products, which led them to wonder why they couldn’t just sell their own.
And so Sand & Sky was born.
Women all over the world have been using Sand & Sky’s pink clay mask to brighten and clear their complexions since it was brought to market by Melbourne twins sisters in April 2017
Twin sisters and business partners Sarah and Emily Hamilton, 43, have built a booming business by making beauty products laced with Australia’s native flora and fauna
After a year of research and development, Sand & Sky’s Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask was born
In their first weeks of trading, the twins shipped out more than 60,000 masks.
They sold out six or seven times before switching to larger orders from their manufacturer.
Such was the scale of the sales, it was two years before they got around to launching a second product.
‘It was so out of control we considered being a one product brand,’ Sarah told Daily Mail Australia.
Almost four years later, the pink clay mask remains the top-seller on the website.
On the back of its incredible success, it’s since been joined by $74.90 Dreamy Glow Drops and the $93.90 Super Bounce Mask infused with Australian Emu Apple, a native plant packed with ‘healing’ antioxidants and vitamin C.
Packed with three times more antioxidants than blueberry – renowned for its fortifying ‘superfood’ status – Emu Apple is one of Australia’s ‘best kept secrets’, the Hamiltons claim
Every product compliments another – the pink clay range detoxifies skin, clearing impurities, while the emu apple range hydrates and enhances natural radiance
Every product compliments another – the pink clay range detoxifies skin, clearing impurities, while the emu apple range hydrates and enhances natural radiance.
Packed with three times more antioxidants than blueberry – renowned for its fortifying ‘superfood’ status – Emu Apple is one of Australia’s ‘best kept secrets’, according to the duo, who claim it ‘brightens, plumps and protects’ almost instantly.
‘We want our products to be cult products,’ Sarah said.
‘To be easily understood, fast acting and fun. Quintessentially Australian.’
The products, primarily manufactured in Australia and supporting facilities in Switzerland and Italy, are all made with natural ingredients sourced from flora and fauna native to the Land Down Under.
Sand & Sky products are made with natural ingredients sourced from flora and fauna native to the Land Down Under
Feedback and customer transformation photos on the brand’s website stands testament to the results of Sand & Sky creations
Skin benefits of Australian pink clay
– Absorbs dirt and impurities
– Draws out toxins and combats pollution
– Restores the skin’s natural defence shield
– Tightens & refines pores
– Gentle enough for sensitive skin
– Clear complexion and youthful glow
Feedback from customers on the brand’s website stands testament to the results of Sand & Sky creations.
‘I am absolutely in love with the new Dreamy Glow Drops. I replaced my daily vitamin E serum with these drops and the difference is phenomenal,’ one woman wrote.
‘I used this mask twice a week for two weeks and my skin really felt like it got that extra boost of hydration,’ added another.
A third said: ‘The mask showed results after just two applications. It reduced the redness on my cheeks so much.’
Makeup artists have even recommended using the face masks as a ‘base for foundation, and Sarah believes there’s a direct link between these type of endorsements and continuously skyrocketing sales.
She feels the growing trend for wearing less makeup is driving sales of skincare products, as women prioritise their complexions over what they’d normally cover it with.
‘Getting feedback from our customers is the most exciting part of the job,’ Sarah said.
That seems to be where demand is driven from, with sales spiking with every genuine customer review and transformation photo uploaded online.
As Sarah says, ‘the results speak for themselves’.
Sales spike with every genuine customer review and transformation photo uploaded online
Sarah believes the growing trend for wearing less makeup is driving sales of skincare products, as women prioritise their complexions over what they’d normally cover it with
Still, 2020 was not without stress for the twins turned business partners.
Retailers in their droves pulled out of purchase orders as coronavirus swept from Asia to Europe in late February, leaving the Hamiltons desperately concerned about the impact on their still relatively fledgling business.
‘We were freaking out,’ Sarah recalled.
But once lockdown shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms across Australia on March 23, something unexpected happened – sales started to soar.
‘It just went crazy,’ Sarah said.
As nation after nation downed tools like dominoes, profits for beauty and skincare companies went sky high as millions retreated into isolation.
‘Italy locked down first, and Amazon went nuts from there, then France and the same happened there and so on,’ Sarah said.
‘It was so interesting to see that happen and great to see people turn to self-care treatments during the crisis.’
The Hamilton twins tips for success
1. Be determined and ‘just for go for it’
2. Plan, but never over plan – be prepared to adapt to change at a moment’s notice to cope with logistical difficulties and industry crashes
3. Dedicate time – business is a commitment and you need to be ‘all in’ if you want to succeed
4. Put the customer at the heart of everything you do
5. Think outside the box – find creative ways to connect with consumers to standout in a crowded marketplace
A network of warehouses across the US, Canada, Singapore and Australia allowed the twins to fulfill international orders even at the height of the pandemic
Sand & Sky sales peaked at 8,000 a day during the first coronavirus lockdown, which lasted until late May across most Australian states.
Sarah said she ‘definitely cried’ on multiple occasions from the stress of the shutdown.
But a network of warehouses across the US, Canada, Singapore and Australia allowed the twins to fulfill international orders even at the height of the pandemic, when other businesses buckled under the pressure of logistical nightmares.
New products are slated to launch towards the end of 2021, all ‘complimentary’ to the existing skincare collection.
And if past form is anything to go by, they’re sure to sell out in minutes.