Welcome to The Visual Diaries, where we talk to like-minded visual-oriented businesses and downright inspiring people. We chat all things from humble beginnings to future aspirations. We get to the nuts and bolts of how they got to where they are today, the ins-and-outs of their craft, and thought you might like to come along for the ride.
We sit down with beauty pioneers, Maddy and Rhi, our long-time clients and founders of Luna Bronze. We chat about how the business came to be, what it's like working with your bestie, and how they're both adapting to boss Mum and Mum-to-be life.
Hey guys! Before we get into it, can you share a bit about yourselves?
MADDY: Hiya! I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and moved up to the Northern Beaches in 2011 after meeting my husband Matt on a Contiki tour in France in ‘09. I’m Seinfeld over Friends, margaritas over wine and love bulldogs (the dogs, not the footy team). We live in Dee Why with our frenchie, Mindy and our whole world has changed recently with our new addition, baby Zoe born in August.
RHI: I’m Rhi! I too grew up on the Mornington Peninsula and copied Maddy by moving to the Northern Beaches when I met my husband Dylan. Funnily enough we are also expecting our first baby in 12 weeks. I love my Richmond Tigers and AFL (you can take the girl out of Melbourne but you can’t take Melbourne out of the girl). My drink of choice is Aperol Spritz and I am Friends over Seinfeld.
What led you to create Luna Bronze, tell us about that journey?
MADDY: In 2014 I had a form of skin cancer, an infiltrating Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) diagnosed & removed from my face. The location of the BCC on my jaw was quite close to my lymph nodes and there was a very real possibility of requiring radiation therapy to ensure that it would not spread. The surgery to remove the BCC left an ugly inch long scar and was a real wake up call for me about the damage that I was doing to my skin & my health by sun tanning and from being so blase in my approach to sun protection. After that experience, I swore off baking myself in the sun but I knew that I still felt better being tanned.
RHI: Maddy mentioned to me that she just wanted a fuss-free tanning product that she could use daily that left her skin feeling hydrated, and didn’t have the awful fake tan smell. Luna Bronze eventuated from that one casual chit chat between mates!
What’s your favourite part about having your own business and how do you find working with your best mate?
RHI: We are able to read each other so when one needs a break, the other is able to step in and pick up any slack. I am incredibly proud of the working relationship that we have and how we challenge each other on a daily basis (without the other taking offense). Maddy is the ying to my yang and we have created such a great friendship and business partner balance.
MADDY: Having come from a corporate background, the freedom that working for yourself brings is something that I don’t take for granted.
Rhi & I have been mates since 1999 so we know each other well enough that we’re pretty much on the same wavelength on most things!
I love the whole Luna concept, how did you come up with the name?
MADDY: As our driver behind developing the brand was to create an attractive natural alternative to sun baking, we wanted to convey the feeling of tanning by night, or the moon, rather than by day under the sun.
RHI: We also wanted to flip the whole standard fake tanning thing on its head and avoid words that conveyed “sexiness” or glorified sun tanning. We wanted our products to be something you’d happily use on a daily basis which is why we are all about combining skincare with sunless tanning benefits. By providing ultra-hydrating and beautifully scented products we aim to encourage people to self-tan safely with Luna Bronze, rather than under the sun.
What does a usual workday look like for you both?
RHI: I try to stick to a daily routine and like to work out of our office as opposed to working from home as I feel more productive there. I always start my morning with a run which is now a waddle at 7 months pregnant. I get to the office by mid-morning and then I hit the ground running. When the baby arrives I will spend a lot more time working from home until it can come to the office and hangout with Zoe.
MADDY: A bit all over the place for me at the moment with a new babe but we’re working it out as we go along! I’m lucky she’s a chilled out baby so I’ve been getting back into the mix a lot earlier than I thought I would’ve. In terms of work environment, whilst we have an office space in Warriewood, even pre-COVID we’ve worked from wherever we are as all we need are our laptops. I’ve worked from bed while pregnant, beside pools in Bali and lately have been working from the beach front with a coffee and Zoe asleep in the pram next to me!
Your proudest moment to date?
MADDY: The last 12 months have been an amazing period of growth that saw us hit some of our financial targets. We’ve been reinvesting back into the business since day one so I’ve been so proud that we’re seeing some pay off for all of the hard work that we’ve put in.
RHI: Maddy and I are both guilty of not stopping and celebrating achievements along the way as we are so busy and always onto the next (10) thing(s). I have to say though that I am so proud of how far we have come in 2020. This year has been very interesting and has presented us with a lot of curve balls. We have been able to think on our feet and work out solutions quickly so that there has been minimal impact on our business.
What does the future look like for Luna Bronze? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
RHI: We just launched our new product, Good Night Face Bronzing Serum that we are in love with and think it will be a customer favourite too. We’ve been working super hard on this product’s launch and had a few hiccups along the way (cheers COVID!) so we’re really looking forward to finally introducing Good Night to everyone!
MADDY: Over the next 12 months we’re continuing to grow our team and refining and embedding our processes (it doesn’t sound exciting, but it is - promise!). We’ll also be launching into a US based fulfilment centre in November which means we’ll be able to better service our large base of North American customers. In amongst this we’ll be improving packaging across some of our existing products and working on developing more beautiful products to add to our range!
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