Sarah and Emily Hamilton, twins and co-founders of Sand & Sky, were entrepreneurial from an early age.
“Role models and natural risk-takers were all around us growing up,” explains Sarah. “Gender was always irrelevant – all that mattered was the hustle. Work hard, don’t be scared, show up, and success will follow.”
In the years following their university studies both women took on corporate roles overseas – New York for Sarah and Singapore for Emily – and it was in these roles they realised a gap in the market for beauty products aimed at time-poor women.
In 2011, the hardworking sisters launched Bella Box, a subscription-based beauty box delivered to customers’ doorsteps. It was during this time, while deep-diving into the beauty and skincare industry, they both had a lightbulb moment: beauty brands that celebrate the beautiful, botanical and native ingredients only available in Australia.
“We were raised in the bush, surrounded by idyllic, clean, and natural beauty,” says Sarah. “How could we capture this in a product? No one else seemed to be doing this.”
From this ah-ha moment, Sand & Sky was born and Sarah returned to Australia to get the ball rolling. A unique skincare brand boasting products packed with Aussie botanicals and made with 100 per cent natural and organic ingredients. When the Melbourne-based brand launched five years ago it was a pioneer in the clean beauty space.
International Women’s Day is a date that Sarah celebrates, conscious of the importance of hers, and Emily’s business success in an industry still heavily dominated by men – from the investor side to the producer side.
“We are a female-owned, female-majority company,” states Sarah. “As an e-commerce-based brand, we always think in the first person, which I believe is a uniquely female approach to business. We truly understand our customer, and what drives them.
Regarding challenges faced as women – and working mothers – both Sarah and Emily are adamant about normalising women leaders in business. In fact, when Sarah leaves to speak at a panel on “women in business” she explains to her daughters that it is simply a panel on business.
“The “women in” part will hopefully be irrelevant by the time they come of age!”
As for advice to other women, especially mothers, hoping to launch their own big ideas?
“Just do it. Be open, be determined and go for it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, just turn up each and every day.”
In fact, Sarah and Emily have been turning up so regularly that it’s no surprise they are filling their calendars with business panel discussions.
“We launched beautifully – and at the ideal time,” reflects Sarah. “Our Pink Australian Clay mask told our story so well and we were blown away with its success — we sold 60,000 units in the first eight weeks!”
Indeed, Sand & Sky’s famous mask was such a hit that, upon starting working with Amazon US in 2018, the product immediately hit the number three face mask spot, and today it’s not uncommon to have a day where a mask is sold every 10 seconds across all our sales channels.
“Working with Amazon in Australia has been incredible,” explains Sarah. “It’s the place where beauty enthusiasts’ shop. Not only are our Australian products exposed to a all of Australia, but we also have exceptional brand and seller protection as we trademark internationally.
“Meanwhile, our ability to spotlight our products through sponsored listings — with stunning execution — is second to none. We feel so lucky to be able to do something we love and to have the support of not just our customers, but of the Amazon Australia team too.”
To shop from women-led small businesses, head to www.amazon.com.au/internationalwomensday