Hi Rach, welcome to our career series... I am so thrilled to chat to you today! Let's get straight into it, tell me all about yourself.
Well my name is Rach and I’m 26 years old and I live in Sydney. I started my career in marketing when I was 20 and have absolutely loved it ever since. I started in a bit of an unusual industry, working in medical devices for distribution company. It was a super corporate environment that taught me so much, a lot of which I still apply in my job today. I remained at that company for just shy of 3 years, and at the age of 23 I decided to jump out of full time corporate work and throw myself head first into starting a skincare company. It wasn’t something I had ever planned on doing, it was more a case of the right opportunity coming up at the right time and I naively grabbed it with both hands and never looked back.
To know me personally is to know that I am an extremely extroverted person, I derive a lot of my purpose from the close relationships I have in my personal life. I would say I am a very spirited person and I never do anything in halves. When I commit to something I throw myself in wholeheartedly, whether that be starting a business or planning a dinner party!
Tell me about your career journey so far…
I graduated from Macquarie University in 2018 and started out in my career in an industry that was very different to where I had ever pictured myself ending up. I started out my first full time job in a digital marketing team within a medical devices distribution company - think joint replacements, hospital equipment etc. It was a very corporate environment and taught me a lot commercially that I still carry with me today in business. Whilst I loved my time in this industry, I have always been an avid beauty consumer and always wanted to get into the fashion and beauty space eventually. It just so happened that the opportunity to start a skincare company came up, and I decided to grab it with both hands.
How did the concept for tbh come about?
I was lucky enough to come across the technology that is now in our hero product, our acne hack cream, when I was working in the medical devices industry. The medical research and development company that we partner with had created a novel technology that could break through biofilm. Now, without getting too technical, biofilm is basically a colony of bacteria that has a very hard to break through protective layer, and it plays a key role in treating bacterial infections, so this technology has a large application across hospital and healthcare, but it also happens to have a very important application in skincare - specifically in relation to acne. I actually ended up trialling the acne product out of the lab on my own skin and this is really where the spark for tbh Skincare was born. After using it on my own skin and loving the product and technology, I realised there was a massive opportunity to bring this patented product to market and create a brand and product line I could have only dreamt to have when I was dealing with the worst of my acne as a teenager and still in my early twenties. Skip forward two years and we have now created an entire skincare range that is perfectly crafted for the breakout prone customer, and we have created a shame free space where customers who suffer from acne can enjoy and have fun with their skincare.
Once you had your concept, what came next?
Once I realised that we had the opportunity to bring this technology to market, I partnered with my Mum, Bridget, who is my co-founder and we set up the basics of the business. Bridget sits on the operational side of the business, and I sit on the marketing side. We founded the company in September 2019, raised money amongst family and friends, and launched the business 6 months later with 3 products, including the hero treatment product. That 6 months included branding, packaging, website, setting up fulfilment… absolutely everything! And then unknowingly, we launched into the very start of the COVID19 pandemic.
Tell me more about tbh and why we need to try it!
Tbh Skincare is a shame-free, science backed skincare brand for the acne prone customer. It's there to make your flare ups fun, give you products you can trust and enjoy using, and deliver on the promise of treating your acne without damaging your skin or making you feel bad about yourself in the process. If you are someone that is prone to suffering with breakouts, tbh Skincare is the staple that you need in your skincare cabinet.
What are the key benefits of the range and results customers see?
Our treatment products, our acne hack cream and our anti-bacterial cleanser, are the biofilm fighting goodies that get to the root bacterial cause of your breakouts. We have had customers who have come to us completely desperate having tried the majority of topical treatments and even oral prescription products on the market, and they are able to achieve results within the first few weeks of using the products. Of course, that is the dream scenario, not everyone sees results as quickly as that, but we have really had the privilege of seeing so many amazing results which is super special.
The rest of the range includes an SPF, a moisturiser, pimple patches and a barrier support serum. They are all products that have a purpose in your daily skincare routine, and they have all been formulated to suite acne prone skin. This means they are non-comedogenic, non-greasy, non-fragranced and gentle on damaged skin. It's about giving the breakout prone customers the products that they want, without the fear that these products will break them out.
Talk me through tbh's brand values and why these are important to you and your team…
The brand is shame free. I think this is so important when you're dealing with something like acne. I understand first hand just how difficult the skin condition can be to deal with. Customers are too often clinically treated without the emotional or mental aspects being taken into consideration. We know there is a clear link between a person's quality of life and their symptoms of acne. We are always striving to start meaningful conversations around this and remove the shame around acne. 85% of the population suffer with it at some point in their lifetime, so it should totally be normalised within the broader beauty industry.
The brand is science backed. We deliver on the promises that we make. We didn’t come here to just create a fun, marketing lead brand. We wanted to genuinely change people's skin and their confidence that comes with that. We make sure what we are offering is new, innovative and high quality so that we can build that trust with our customers and deliver on a great experience for them.
The brand is sustainable. Our broader impact on the community and environment is always at top of mind when it comes to all decision making within the company. Our tubes are manufactured using sugarcane resin which is a renewable resource, our serum bottle is made from 50% recycled plastic, and we try and make all elements of our packaging recyclable. We also sponsor a plot of 1500 pine trees in Impact International's Sustainability Forest which offsets 1.5 million regular plastic tubes each year. We are always looking for new ways to innovate and improve in this space and as we continue to grow we hope to be able to continue to do more.
What has been the most rewarding part of creating your brand and business?
One hundred per cent just being able to see it in the hands of customers. When I speak to people about their experience using the products and find out how much it has changed their skin and their life it is just the best feeling. It will never get old!
What has been the most challenging and an important lesson learned?
There have been so many lessons learned. I think the biggest for me is that there is always a solution to everything. Sometimes as a founder you can feel like you are absolutely climbing an impossible uphill battle, but I think you have to maintain a solutions focused mentality in these tougher times. Majority of the time there is always a solution, you just have to remain optimistic, persistent, curious and resilient in order to find it.
What business advice do you have for women who are wanting to start their own business or are on their business journey?
Number one, make sure you are clear about what you are setting out to achieve. Do you want to run a small business to provide you with some independent income? Or are you setting up a business that one day you want to see in national retailers? Are you building a business you eventually want to sell? I think you need to be clear on what you are setting out to achieve because this will guide you in many of the business decisions you need to make along the way.
My next piece of advice would be to make sure you have enough funds to go out and successfully achieve whatever it is you have planned. If you are too tightly cash constrained from day one it is going to be immensely difficult for you to grow your business. Think about what budget you require to see success with your business, or otherwise consider where your next round of funding is coming from and what you need to achieve in order to be successful in raising more capital.
And lastly but probably most importantly, back yourself. I think too often as women we undersell ourselves, doubt ourselves and always operate very conservatively in business. I think being self assured it is a really important part of strong leadership and creating a clear vision for your business from the beginning. Don't doubt yourself. Trust your gut and just go do!
Any future plans, products and launches you can let us in on?
We have quite a lot in the product pipeline but I will have to remain tight lipped about it for now. The only clue I can give is that no matter what new products we develop, we always have the same end customer in mind - our breakout prone besties. When we go to create new products, it's always about what this customer group needs or wants the most at this current point in time.
Aside from that we are planning on broadening our distribution in the near future so hopefully you will be able to find us in store very soon… and that's all I will say for now!
What is your one non-negotiable each day?
I think my one non-negotiable each day is to make sure I always have something to look forward to. Time to do something that 'fills my cup'. Often that includes something like exercise, cooking, or spending time with friends. Finding purpose and joy outside of work is really important to me, so allocating time to do something I enjoy each day, separate to the work that I do, is the way I make sure I stay balanced in my day to day life.
What are you reading, watching, listening to right now?
I am currently reading “Women at Work: You, the Leader” by Harvard Business Reviews. I am always reading business books or otherwise enjoying a romance Colleen Hoover novel.
I am watching Welcome to Wrexham at the moment. It is a Disney documentary that follows the football club that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney purchased. My favourite TV show of all time was Ted Lasso and this is like the real life version of that so I have been absolutely loving it.
And I am always listening to the 'Shameless' podcast or again a business podcast, at the moment that is the 'Ad Spend' podcast or the 'Diary of a CEO'.
Where can we get our hands on tbh and connect on socials?
Thank you for chatting today Rach and sharing your amazing advice and the epic Tbh Skincare range. The brand values are something you should be so proud of, and I am honoured to share them with our community!