There are a lot of beauty brands out there. But amidst the noise, there's a new player that's standing out from the crowd for all the right reasons – thanks to its kid-safe, natural-organic formulas and social justice agenda. We're talking about Lovekins.
Lovekins was founded in 2012 by Amanda Essery – a sixth generation Australian Chinese woman who was born and raised in Darwin. Essery's light-bulb moment came when she was pregnant with her first child. Concerned about what she was putting on her skin and the potentially harmful chemicals in cosmetics, she began to mix her own natural skincare products. Safe to say, she (and her baby Ethan!) were pretty happy with the results. However, it was when Essery's second child Heidi was born with eczema that her homemade preparations really came into their own; she found that she was able to manage her daughter's skin condition without using prescription medications. This prompted Essery to put her corporate career on hold and create her very own family-friendly beauty brand.
A lot has happened in the nine years since Essery first launched Lovekins – and just quietly, 2021 is shaping up to be the brand's biggest one yet. In this interview with Now to Love, Essery shares her journey from creating DIY kitchen concoctions to managing a burgeoning company:
Now to Love: What separates Lovekins from its competitors?
Amanda Essery: "Our unique differences include the attention to detail in our products, our passion for natural and Indigenous ingredients, and our commitment to the environment and community. All of the Lovekins ranges are certified vegan and toxic-free. The products are infused with ethically sourced Australian ingredients and made without harmful chemicals or animal by-products. We have a huge focus on sustainability with our tubes manufactured in a solar panel facility and made with carbon neutral sugarcane PE. We have also invested in forestry infrastructure to offset carbon as well as promoting wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. At Lovekins, we believe in giving back and will endeavour to continuously support local businesses."
NTL: What has been the most important piece of business advice you have received so far?
AE: "Stay humble and grounded. Work hard and be kind to others."
NTL: The past 18 months has been difficult for many businesses. How did Lovekins fare through this period?
AE: "Like many businesses, the pandemic has taken its toll and impacted Lovekins as a brand. Social distancing measures meant participating at events and expos were no longer an option and the border restrictions have affected the shipping of raw materials and sourcing of componentry, bringing our attention to maintaining agility and readjusting our supply chains. We were able to increase production to support the booming e-commerce platforms, while expanding into local channels to make Lovekins more accessible to the public, meeting the demand of 'pandemic buying'.
"Seeing that the world has moved towards a deeper recession in times of crisis, we identified the opportunity to diversify our export market portfolio to meet the needs of markets such as Europe, UAE, and USA. It is all about pivoting.
"We are so thrilled to be launching into Myer this August so that more Australians can get their hands on Lovekins."
NTL: Lovekins recently partnered with Share The Dignity, promising to raise at least $10,000 for the charity in the next year. Can you tell us a bit more about why you partnered with Share The Dignity?
AE: "Growing up in an Indigenous community, I have witnessed first-hand the struggles and disadvantages the Aboriginal community often face – social alienation and lack of resources that led to breaks in schooling and education, all of which are real Australian issues commonly associated with period poverty.
"To help close the gap and end the stigma and shame around menstruations, we partnered with Share the Dignity and became a Champion of Change workplace. For us, kinship means the responsibility to look after the community. This is why at Lovekins we strive to pay forward every step of the way. We started a conversation by hosting a DigniTea in May this year to voice a topic that needs to be amplified via different mediums. As a business, we are in the position to utilise our platforms to fundraise. Throughout May, all purchases of sanitary pads made on the Lovekins website were matched dollar for dollar with donation to Share The Dignity. In one month, we achieved 50% of our annual fundraising goal to raise $10,000 for those experiencing period poverty. We're also working on a Share The Dignity vending machine initiative to bring accessible period care products to women in need and we working independently with more than 5 schools by providing them with pads for their students so they don't miss out on their education."
NTL: At recent PBC expos, Lovekins has been overwhelmed by the response from women wanting to learn more about the products. In this environment, what are the most common questions you receive? And why do you think women flock to Lovekins?
AE: "The PBC Expo is the longest running parenting expo in Australia that allows consumers to engage in direct conversations with brands while exploring premium care products for their family. Some of the common questions we received are, 'Is your skincare safe and natural?', 'At what age can I use a certain product on my baby', and 'Where can I find your products?'
"I believe that women gravitated towards Lovekins for the experience – whether it is the sensory aspect of being able to touch and feel the products or interacting with our expert team who provided exceptional customer service to a discerning clientele – the Lovekins experience is 'pure, nurture, protect' and to create a simple, natural, and toxic-free routine for all family members."
NTL: What has been the most rewarding part of the journey so far?
AE: "I would say it's knowing that we've been true to our brand as Lovekins thrives. I am content knowing that we are reaching out to more families and helping them live a healthier life."
Sponsored by Lovekins.