Founder of oral care range Gem, Georgia Danos, shares how she got her range into Mecca & her advice for budding beauty entrepreneurs.
IAH: Can you share a bit about your career prior to Gem?
Prior to starting Gem, I worked at Remedy Kombucha. At Remedy, I learnt about the power of forming healthy habits and the power of the gut microbiome and its connection to overall health and wellness.
I took learnings from my time at Remedy and decided to put in an oral probiotic in Gem toothpaste (in order to reap the benefits of beneficial bacteria, something that I learnt at Remedy!) Specifically with toothpaste, if you nuke your mouth with chemicals (found in mainstream, supermarket brands) any bacteria (good or bad) can flourish. However, if you add in beneficial bacteria it really allows for a healthy oral microbiome.
My experience at Remedy was also hugely beneficial, as it gave me a glimpse into working in a small business.
When I started at Remedy, there was only really 4 people in the team.. This allowed me to have great insight into different elements of a start-up and what it took to make a small business successful!
IAH: What was the inspiration behind Gem?
The idea for Gem, really came when I was living in LA (working as a model) and surrounded by all these beauty products. I noticed a massive shift, in beauty, towards natural and better-for-you ingredients, that I didn’t see happening in the personal care space.. More significantly oral care. I couldn’t understand why customers spent their life avoiding certain ingredients (in their home, skincare) but would then brush with products morning and night, that contained ingredients that have actually been banned in hand soap (hello, Triclosan!).
I couldn’t understand why natural oral care products weren’t more popular… until I tried some! Lots didn’t foam up properly, they didn’t taste minty enough (sometimes gritty) and were packaged in outdated, ‘brown-paper-bag’ branding. I saw a gap in the market for a beautifully branded, efficacious range.
IAH: Can you talk us through the process of getting into MECCA?
It actually took us around 12 months to get into Mecca. When I launched, I only had one product. I knew I needed a bigger range to get the attention of a mass, Australian retailer. I developed our mouthwash, floss and sustainable toothpaste bites to sit next to our Crisp Mint toothpaste.
When I had more of a range fleshed out I stalked the Mecca buyer on linkedin, until I managed to land a meeting. I was so nervous! I put together a presentation, brought some samples.. and the rest, as they say, is history!
IAH: Do you have advice for budding beauty entrepreneurs?
Make sure there is a need for your product in the market. It’s so hard to stand out, especially in beauty as the category is saturated! Make sure you have a point of difference against your competitors.
Another tip of advice is to make sure your unit economics is sustainable from the start. You need to ensure you have the right margin (or fat baked into your margin) to allow for all the cost that comes with a business (warehousing/storage/logistics/staff/marketing and more!)
Lastly, make small bets, don’t over order on stock, and be conservative with your marketing.. It usually takes about 12 months to get a brand up and running, so be patient!
IAH: We're all about making life simpler & better for women, how do you do that for yourself?
It’s a constant battle! Managing social/personal and work life is something I struggle to do daily. Unfortunately I’m a control freak, which has led to my diary being absolutely crazy (as I’m in every meeting!)
Having a baby later this year will hopefully force me to let go, delegate and ultimately make my life a little simpler without the added pressures of work. I like to unwind with a tea, a good book and spending time with my friends and family.
Shop the Gem range at Mecca now