NATIVE's Accelerator Mentee Experience - Industry Immersion Review
Initiatives to create a more inclusive A-Beauty Industry are about access and creating connections between emerging Indigenous brands and a range of leading industry partners. Transferring knowledge on how to navigate the cosmetic industry.
From The Riverlands to Northern Rivers
Beauty Industry Immersion
The NATIVE EXTRACTS (NE) team announced our first cohort of Indigenous Female Skincare Brand Mentees this past August. Since then, the aspiring skin-preneurs have finalised their products and brand extension strategy, set their brand guidelines and packaging, are in various stages of trials and/or stability testing their first formulations and are deep diving into the world of skincare product development, marketing, distribution, social media and more.
Early August, three young Indigenous women traveled from their homes in the Murraylands and Riverlands region of South Australia to visit NE Headquarters in Northern Rivers region, New South Wales, along with Dominic Smith (Indigenous grower and founder of Pundi Produce), their on-the-ground mentor and one of NE’s First Nation growers. Dom had approached Lisa to mentor young women wanting to build skincare brands, which was funded by an Indigenous Entrepreneurship & STEM Pathway Program, at the time by the Federal Govt and Food Futures.
Lisa Carroll (Director of NATIVE EXTRACTS) along with Dominic Smith are combining their efforts to leverage their years of experience, partnerships and network in mentoring these three women on their journey to launching their own individual skincare brands. During this first immersive mentoring weekend, all three mentees toured the Byron Bay region to get an in-depth understanding into the world of the skincare and cosmetics industry - from ingredient laboratories, contract manufacturing facilities, treatment rooms, stockists and potential distributors.
The four-day program was an enriching experience for mentees and mentors alike. The mentees received incredibly valuable insight from industry experts who shared their knowledge and experience with these three exceptionally motivated young leaders. The program has surpassed NATIVE's vision, taking our commitment to conscious-beauty to a new level! We’re committed to ethical supply and eco-conscious manufacturing, and supporting Indigenous partners across the supply chain as much as we can, but seeing these young women share our passion for improving inclusion and socio-economic change will have an exponential impact for the skincare industry and far beyond once their brands launch!
Day 1 Meeting with Retreatment Botanics
Hitting the ground running! After a full day of travel, the women and Dominic quickly toured the NE HQ warehouse facility and then began mentoring sessions with the co-founder and general manager of Retreatment Botanics, Trudi Jaye. She provided the mentees with industry insights and her firsthand perspective on what it takes to launch a brand (and what makes a successful one), along with beautiful product. The information and tips Trudi provided to the mentee’s was invaluable to their growth.
“Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge about the cosmetic industry. I value your time very much. Hearing about your struggles, set backs, the raw side of being in the cosmetic business, the achievements and the in between has helped me see my vision clearly! It has also given me hope. I’ve realised that it’s okay to get knocked down as long as you always get back up!”
Tenesha Pickering, Founder Graceful Tunkerri
Day 2 Exploring the Native Skincare Landscape
The team toured around Byron Bay’s commercial district, looking deeper into A-beauty product trends, branding, packaging, etc. It was all about discovering other brands and Lisa provided a tour across several stores to get an understanding of what products are on the market, really focusing on branding and packaging.
Day 3 Meeting with MUKTI
The group had an exclusive behind the scenes view into the world of Australia’s leading organic/natural skin care brand, Mukti Organics. Mukti was an early adopter of the unique Australian Native Cellular Extract range and the team visited Mukti Organics’ headquarters located in Mullumbimby. Founder and owner of the business, Mukti, gave the mentees an exclusive behind-the-scenes view of the backend manufacturing and production side of her business. From R&D, production, filling, packaging, fulfillment to the logistics of running a B2C brand. The mentees toured Warehouse & Production Operations - seeing mixing vessels, bottling and labeling machines, etc. and most importantly, Mukti shared her personal journey to building an award-winning beauty brand from humble beginnings that was inspiring to all.
Day 4 Getting Up Close with Australian Native Cellular Extracts
The final day of the mentoring program ended at one of NATIVE EXTRACTS’ laboratories. In this session the mentees got an up-close experience with the hero ingredients of their products. Getting a look into the production process of Cellular Extraction and a closer look at their raw botanicals, which included River Mint sourced from mentor Dominic Smith from Pundi Produce. They experienced the plant profiles harnessed from their own chosen extracts. They took the raw materials and built image assets for their future media and web campaigns.
The long weekend was a learning experience for everyone and we can’t wait to reveal the progress of the women’s brands in the next few weeks!
Lisa Carroll, NATIVE's Director share more...
“I am so impressed with how these young women approached the workshops and am really happy with the framework we have created so far given it is a pilot. Dom has done an incredible amount of “on the ground” work with the mentees, and our regular Zoom meetings tracking their progress prepared them well for the immersion. These 3 young entrepreneurs are incredibly passionate and hardworking, and now have access to experienced collaborators in the Australian Cosmetic industry who want to offer their support and expertise where they can, the mentees are developing products that translate their vision and culture into beautiful brands. These workshops are about supporting creativity, self determination, executing a vision, and commercialising a dream that will create positive socio-economic outcomes, and amplify the mentee’s stories that need to be heard. This experience confirms that this industry can be a powerful platform for brands to tell their stories, serving as catalysts for change. Working together creates bonds through important shared experiences and opportunities to learn about each other, I have mentored other young people in the past, and it is always an honor to be part of a young person’s journey in the formative stages and to see them take their vision and fly.”
Lisa Carroll, NATIVE EXTRACTS Director