Sunshine Coast, Queensland
What do you do?
Founder of natural skincare label, NEEK and mother to two sons
Top 5 handbag essentials?
I’m one of those people who always carry an oversized handbag full to the brim with ‘essentials’. I don’t like to be unprepared. But, when I have to reduce down to a clutch, my top 5 essentials would be: my iPhone (not just a phone, it’s my life – my computer, my calendar, my to do list, my everything), my credit card (obviously, plus I never seem to have cash on me), a compact (mirror and foundation for keeping my skin tone even), a NEEK Skin Organics lipstick in ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ (I use this one a lot because it doubles for a lipstick and blush), and mints (to fight off smelly breath from coffee and my other favourite snacks).
Congratulations on your new range, NEEK, a completely natural, organic and vegan-friendly beauty and skin care brand. Why was creating natural products so important to you?
Ever since I was little, I suffered from super sensitive skin. So I became very aware of what I was putting on my face. Once you start reading labels and becoming familiar with ingredients, you quickly realise that many ingredients – even those in some of your favourite brands – aren’t a healthy choice for your skin.
Back when I was younger (often getting around with a red, itchy and swollen face) there were limited options. So with NEEK, I wanted to create something that I would love to use. Thankfully, NEEK is part of a growing trend of natural makeup and skin care alternatives, as the industry is responding to consumers who are more aware and health conscious.
What’s NEEK’s main point of difference?
One thing I found in the early days of natural skin care is that while the products I was using weren’t aggravating my skin (definitely a win!), they didn’t smell particularly nice, and the packaging wasn’t appealing. I wanted to create a range of natural (and vegan) products that didn’t compromise on anything. So NEEK not only works well – it also feels nice, smells nice and looks nice.
Who would you most love to see wearing NEEK lipstick?
I’m really inspired by strong, savvy women, and we always include a quote on our packaging to celebrate them. I love seeing women with a bit of spunk about them wearing our lippies. For example: Lena Dunham, Cara Delevingne and Helen Mirren. I’d be thrilled to see one of these ladies sporting a NEEK lipstick!
Who is your current style muse? (and why?)
I love the ‘timeless’ look – a nice complexion, strong eye brow, lightly hued lip. Think Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, Grace Kelly in High Society or model Gigi Hadid.
What is your daily beauty and makeup routine?
I like to keep it simple. I always cleanse my face in the morning before applying moisturiser, as this helps to trap the moisture on the surface. I usually follow with some concealer to even out any darkness around my eyes, or redness around the nose area, then I shape my brows with a brush and pencil, apply lots of mascara, dab some blush on my cheeks, and finally add some lipstick.
At night, I cleanse my face and wash away any makeup before going to bed (I always use a cleanser that removes makeup properly). Then I apply a night cream to my face, neck and décolletage. Finally, just before I go to sleep, I pop on an oily eye serum around my eyes and rub a bit on my lips.
You relocated to London with your young family for a year, what do you miss most about living in London? (and why?)
London is a wonderful city. I miss the proximity to Europe, the exposure to so many different cultures, the people, the history and the other beautiful things. My children grew and learnt so much from the experience. But we’re happy to be home in Australia again.
What advice do you have for mothers wanting to start their own business as you did? How do you balance work with your family life?
I think you need to make sure it’s something you’re passionate about, and something that you know you’ll love living and breathing for the next 5 to 10 years. Particularly for the first few years, when you’ll be wearing the hats of every department.
I try not to look at it as ‘work’ and ’life’ because I think then it can be easy to begrudge work. Let’s face it: you spend so much time working, so you need to enjoy work and see it as part of your life.
Because NEEK is such a big focus in my life, I do make a very conscious effort to ‘switch off’ and be more present when I’m with my children. I’m careful to always actively listen and engage with them when they’re around. After all, they say quality is better than quantity, and that definitely applies to family time too!
My best friend would describe me as….
I cheated and texted my bestie, Nicole. This was her response: ‘Kind, fun, intelligent, an amazing Mum and one of the hardest workers I know. Someone everyone wants to be friends with’. I’m going to stop there because she’s being too sweet (one of the reasons she’s my bestie) and I’m feeling uncomfortable. But she should have also mentioned clumsy and messy…
We hear there’s skincare on the way for NEEK… What can we expect next?
We’re super excited about this range. It’s natural and vegan just like our lipsticks, but it has some amazing active ingredients that pack a punch. And it’s something that you’ll want to display in your bathroom. Our first three products are launching in November this year, so stay tuned!