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Q&A: A sustainable skincare brand developed by teen siblings

Two sibling entrepreneurs in their teens – Daisy and Tilly Johnson – are the founders of skincare brand One Summer Skincare.

The products of the brand are made from 100-per-cent-natural ingredients and offer a unique cartridge refill system that promotes sustainability and eliminates waste. Despite the brand launching in the middle of the pandemic last year, the brand managed to achieve growth thanks in part to the family playing on each other’s strengths, with Daisy concentrating on the product development side, Tilly on the marketing aspect, with their dad and brother helping out as well.

What motivated you to launch your own range of skincare products?

DJ: As sisters, we’re very passionate about skincare, but noticed that the beauty industry is responsible for a lot of unnecessary plastic waste. We saw an opportunity to create a brand that uses natural ingredients to create high-quality products that are also 100 per cent vegan, but also contribute to the beauty industry’s circular economy.

TJ: We wanted to create products that appeal to a really broad demographic as well, so whilst they’re made by teenagers, they are not just for people in our age range and are suitable for those in their 20s and 30s as well.

Why do you consider sustainability to be such a vital element of your brand?

TJ: We wanted to make sure One Summer Skincare didn’t contribute to the plastic waste problem, so we developed our unique cartridge refill system. This allows customers to return a product’s cartridge insert once empty. We then clean, refill and reuse it for future orders. Customers can then keep the exterior product container and only need to purchase a cartridge refill, rather than a whole new product. Empty cartridges can also be recycled if they’re not returned to us.

DJ: Sustainability is an ongoing conversation and through our refill system, we hope customers will start to think twice the next time they make a decision between sustainable and unsustainable practices.

So far, what has been the most challenging aspect of the business for you and how did you get past it?

TJ: We’ve learnt a lot about working with suppliers and balancing our brand’s vision with their practical expertise. Sometimes it’s been frustrating when we have a clear idea on what we want something to look like, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t turn out the way we like. We’ve learnt to trust that we’re working with people who know what they’re doing but as the brand founders, we do want to stay true to our vision.

DJ: It didn’t hurt having our Dad along for the ride either! He has many years of experience working in the beauty industry for leading brands, so he’s been a great source of advice. As a teenager, managing my time has been a challenge as I go to school, run One Summer and also have another job elsewhere.

Despite the young age and lack of experience, what do teenage entrepreneurs offer that makes them stand out?

DJ: People can overlook and underestimate teenagers, but we think we offer a unique perspective and passion, especially around things like sustainability. Our dad also tells us we have blind confidence that adults can sometimes lose over the years. We believe in our product and the story we are trying to tell.

What do you hope to learn and achieve with One Summer in the next few years?

DJ: We’re looking forward to continuing to get the word out there about the brand and seeing more sales come through, especially over the summer months.

TJ: We’ve also collaborated with Foreo on a great gift pack for Christmas, which will be stocked at David Jones. That was a huge win for us being such a new brand so we’re excited to see our product in stores during such a busy time in retail.

What advice can you give especially to other young people who are aspiring to set up their own brand?

TJ: If you have an idea that you think is strong and you’re passionate about, go for it! Age doesn’t matter, as long as you’re hard-working and willing to learn along the way, anything is possible.

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