An Australian beauty therapist turned her passion for natural skincare into a multi-million dollar brand in less than two years.
Kayla Houlihan, 29, from Geelong in Victoria, turned her back on her teaching career to create specialised products for sensitive skin after spotting a niche in the natural cosmetics market.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Ms Houlihan revealed how she built her dream into a booming business which has made $1.3 million in the past year alone.
Kayla Houlihan (pictured) from Geelong in Victoria created the natural skincare line Tribe for people with sensitive skin
Ms Houlihan, who quit secondary school teaching to pursue her passion for beauty, trained as a skincare therapist for one year before opening a clinic with her sister in their native Geelong.
‘We had our own clinic for three years specialising in microdermabrasion,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘We were using medically formulated products with active ingredients which can be quite harsh, and we started noticing a lot of our clients actually had very sensitive skin.
‘We wanted to offer something more natural and gentle, with all the common allergens taken out.’
Ms Houlihan had a good idea of the ingredients she wanted to use in the products form her beauty therapy course, and teamed up with a cosmetic pharmacist to create her ideal formula for Tribe Skincare.
Tribe skincare products are specifically formulated for all types of sensitive skin, including dry, oily, combination and acne-prone (pictured, Australian influencer Brittney Lee Saunders with Tribe cleansers)
‘I wanted to use lots of anti-inflammatories like zinc and naturally soothing properties like aloe vera to make the products suitable for all sensitive skin types,’ she said.
‘A lot of brands on the market have a range dedicated to dry, sensitive skin, but we wanted to position ourselves as a skincare range exclusively for sensitive skin of any type – dry, oily, acne-prone and combination.’
Since launching in September 2017, the savvy businesswoman has forged relationships with major Australian influencers like Brittney Lee Saunders and Tully Smyth – who are both now brand ambassadors for Tribe.
And the fruits of her labour have clearly paid dividends, with Tribe making a whopping $1.3 million in the past 12 months alone.
Launched last Friday, the brand’s latest release – the Chill Out! Hydrating Mask – sold out in 24 hours, netting them over $43,000 in profit.
Tribe forged lucrative relationships with major social media influencers like Melbourne-based Tully Smyth (pictured with Tribe products)
Tribe’s best-seller is the Clean Me! Balm Cleanser, suitable for all sensitive skin types.
‘It’s unique because most cleansers are gel or cream, and ours is sort of in between,’ she said.
Asked about her personal favourite Tribe product, Ms Houlihan said it’s difficult to choose just one when so much passion has gone into the range.
‘It changes all the time, but I think right now my favourite is the Hydrating Eye Serum.
‘I’m most proud of that because of the packaging – it has a cold metal ball roller for application which makes for a really nice user experience, and it helps with lymph drainage!’
Looking to the future, Ms Houlihan has a clear goal for the next 12 months.
Ms Houlihan (pictured) hopes to see Tribe stocked in major retailers like Mecca Maxima in the next 12 months
‘We’re exclusively available online at the moment, so my aim for 2020 is to get into retailers. To be stocked in Mecca Maxima would be the dream!
‘We started solely with skincare for the face, and we’ve since brought out a mineral makeup range and body products for eczema-prone skin, so I’d love to work on expanding our offering further too.’
Ms Houlihan is also releasing a new podcast ‘The Bite-size BizRoom’ aimed at coaching aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Bite-size BizRoom launches on Apple Podcasts and Spotify on September 23.