Qld makeup firm faces off against chemicals
A GOLD Coast makeup company is changing the face of the industry in Australia and worldwide with its organic product range.
TMF Cosmetics, which owns the Zuii makeup brand, was launched in the late 1990s by Rose Beesey as a contract manufacturer of cosmetics, including lipstick and mascara.
In the early 2000s Ms Beesey started exploring alternatives to the petrochemicals used to manufacture most cosmetics.
"Rose started to think: how else can we manufacture something with different ingredients so it is not so toxic?" her daughter, and Zuii sales manager, Abbi Kerr said.
"We thought there has to be an alternative, it is not safe to put these ingredients on your skin."
Mrs Kerr said the process to develop the full organic range of cosmetics took years of research and a significant amount of money spent on development.
"There is so much research and development that goes into testing a product to see that it is stable," she said.
"Because if you put chemicals in as a preservative, the product will not go off, whereas if you experiment with natural or organic alternatives, you need to test it for two or three years."
She said the other obstacle involved the importation of the organic powders, oils and mica.
"It was too early for people to have a need for those ingredients in Australia," she said.
"We spent a lot of money sourcing and warehousing them.
"We have millions of dollars of raw materials just sitting here because we have to bring them in by the pallet load."
Zuii uses a wide range of natural or organic ingredients including carrot seed and sunflower oil, nettle leaf extract and flowers such as roses and sunflowers.
In 2009, Mrs Kerr said they decided not to launch the brand in Australia but overseas first, which is the reverse for most companies.
"The market is small in Australia (compared to Europe) and we thought it was not ready for certified organic makeup products," she said.
"We weighed up the options and the distribution networks in Australia and they were really lacking.
"The alternative was to launch in a huge region with 350 million people that already has the networks and demand for what we make."
Mrs Kerr said the brand took off in Europe after they attended organic trade fair BioFach in Germany.
"Distributors and stores from all over the world go to this one place," she said.
"We went through and found lots of distributors from then on. We got our Canadian distributor from there. That was the main launch for Zuii."
She said Europe grew to become its biggest market with Zuii products placed in major department stores such as Sokos in Sweden.
The biggest obstacle had been making sure the cosmetics complied with varying regulatory regimes.
"There is so much work involved in terms of gaining entry for products into these countries," he said.
"There are different regulations for each country. In Japan, for example, we have to actually reformulate some of the products for the Japanese market because there are certain ingredients that are banned."
She said the future of Zuii lies in carving out new export markets and its skin care range.
The company, which manufactures from four factories at its base in Nerang, also recently launched a self tanning foam spray.