Armed with a passion to deliver sustainable cruelty-free vegan beauty products, Sydney friends, Felecia Tappenden and Belinda Robinson are breaking into the cosmetic industry after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The duo’s eyelash enhancing serum, Long Lashes, is set to make a whopping seven-figures in its first year of sales, after launching in November 2017. Boasting to repair and strengthen your own lashes, leaving you with longer and fuller looking lashes in just 4 to 6 weeks, the product is blowing up the beauty market locally and internationally. Already, the pals have secured distributors in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Scandinavia, with more countries likely to follow in the coming months.
While breaking into the beauty business is no easy task, the friends managed to secure initial funding through Kickstarter for their natural vitamin-derived product.
The friends tell Kochie’s Business Builders they were inspired to create Long Lashes after experiencing their own issues with the eyelash serums currently on the market. Tired of experiencing irritated eyes or forking out loads of cash to have false eyelashes applied, they decided to tackle the problem themselves.
The pair soon discovered they were not alone in their problem, after learning the majority of serums on the market contained harsh ingredients. Indeed two global cosmetic giants have recently come under fire for their use of prostaglandins – an ingredient originally used to treat glaucoma.
One competitor has been pulled from Australian shelves and the other is facing a U.S. federal lawsuit. Serious side effects from the use of eyelash enhancing serums that include prostaglandins include changes in iris colour, eyelid drooping, eyelid discolouration, itchy eyes, eye infections and vision impairment.
“I was horrified to discover that the redness, itchiness and irritation I was experiencing around my eyes was due to the fact the eyelash serum I was using, contained potentially harmful ingredients that are actually banned from use in Australia,” explains Robinson.
Alarmed by this discovery, Tappenden and Robinson realised there was a gap in the market for a high-quality serum that didn’t have all the nasty ingredients or side effects of other eyelash serums. The idea for Long Lashes was born soon after.
“It was a light-bulb moment for both of us and we set out to create an eyelash growth enhancer that was safe to use – low irritant and containing only approved ingredients.” says Tappenden.
The process leading up to production of the first batch has been lengthy and complex, seeing them go through months of product development, followed by safe trials (on humans not animals), followed by a series of stringent audits to ensure they received relevant industry and government approvals.
“We have made it our mission to challenge this industry because we believe consumers deserve to be informed about the products they’re using and deserve to use a product that is not only effective but is most importantly safe.“ says Tappenden.