One small step for man … one giant leap for boutique Australian skincare company ONNE.
With a firm foothold in the local market, ONNE now has ambitious plans to expand its horizons off-shore.
The all-natural skincare company is partnering with investor Co Brand Partners Limited as part of a major push into the lucrative US, European and Asian markets.
Carlia Ashton, who founded ONNE Beauty in 2015, recently signed a partnership agreement with Co Brand Partners, which has taken an equity share in the company.
Through its existing offices in Shanghai, Sydney and Los Angeles, Co Brand is providing ONNE with global reach and support.
“This partnership represents the next step for ONNE and will help us fast track our international expansion plans,” Ms Ashton told Dynamic Export.
“They will be an important partner to assist the company in achieving our growth aspirations through connecting ONNE with leading North American beauty experts.”
Organic 100% natural ingredients
Co Brand will also provide support through associated investments across digital and consumer marketing sales and distribution platforms in the US and China.
At the forefront of the eco-luxe movement, ONNE products use 100% natural ingredients that are also certified organic.
Each product guarantees to be free of synthetic chemicals, petroleum-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, GMOs, parabens, and sulphates – as well as being 100% cruelty free.
With a background in design and marketing, Ms Ashton decided to launch the all-natural brand after a six-year stint working at a creative studio in the Middle East.
Big career change
“I’ve always had sensitive skin,” she explains. “And while the Middle Eastern climate better suited my skin, the only skincare products available at that time were laden with harmful synthetics (chemicals).
“I searched online for alternative products but found that many products claiming to be ‘all natural’ still contained synthetics.
“So, I decided I might as well do it myself … it was a huge career change.”
She began working on branding and establishing an eco brand ethos before finding industry professionals who could help her to source the most suitable natural ingredients.
The name ONNE was chosen as it signifies simplicity – one simple skin care solution.
After nearly two years of intensive research to find the “perfect” natural formula, Ms Ashton launched the ONNE brand.
“We had to make sure we had something that was really marketable and effective,” she said.
While sourcing the finest ingredients across the globe, Ms Ashton remained adamant all products should be made in Australia.
“I loved the idea of using Australian Native ingredients in the collection,” she says.
“We were keen to ensure each product contained at least one Australian native ingredient.”
That includes Kakadu Plum, an Australian native which boasts the highest levels of Vitamin C of any fruit in the world.
Ms Ashton acknowledges that conquering new markets is not easy.
“It’s harder than it looks,” she concedes. “With plenty of challenges.
“To be competitive you must have a strategy in place and stay focussed.
“You have to research the market and most importantly seek good advice.
“The main thing is to surround yourself with people who know the market and can give you sound advice … people who can talk to buyers and find out exactly what they’re looking for.”
Ms Ashton says her main focus this year will be on the US – a market with strong demand for natural products – and no language barriers. That means no additional costs for re-packaging, labelling or translation.
Europe and Asia will be the next targets.
The ONNE product range will be sold through key e-commerce sites and selected niche retails outlets.
“We’ve found a distributor in the US that can place our range into stores offering all-natural products,” she says.
“As far as Asia is concerned, we will be looking to market the products in China through e-commerce outlets – and possibly through brick and mortar stores in other Asian regions.”
Product market testing
Ms Ashton says the initial response to her products in the US has been amazing.
“We did some extensive market testing in the US last year before launching the product to make sure it was a good fit.”
That included exhibiting the product at a number of high-profile US health and wellness exhibitions.
“The feedback has been very positive. We know we now have something we can really push going forward.”
Passion for the environment
Co Brand managing director Tim Smith says Ms Ashton’s drive and passion for the environment and for producing and formulating quality natural products, is unmatched.
“As a partner, our job is clear,” he says. “We need to connect ONNE to our global network of e-comm platforms, social and digital marketing, and industry experts so that ONNE can flourish on the global beauty scene.
“Co Brand Partners will support a steady and sustainable global roll out, as well as continuing to develop and invest in new natural product formulas to suit the needs of our customers.”