Women in Beauty: Elizabeth Barbalich, Founder of Antipodes

Monday, January 27th 2014 0

Talking patience, perspective and plump skin

When it comes to simple, effective beauty, one of my favourite brands has to be Antipodes. Since launching in New Zealand in 2006, Antipodes have worked their way across the oceans and are now flying the flag for pure, natural products around the world.

I caught up with Elizabeth Barbalich, founder of Antipodes, for her words of wisdom about life as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry.

The aim when you started the brand was to “create premium scientifically validated organic beauty products”. Was your green ethic something that you were brought up with? I was brought up in a small town, so I was always aware of environmental issues. Antipodes’ green beauty ethos is a fundamental core value underlying the brand, and something that I am very proud of. A large amount of work has gone into ensuring we are genuinely green, with a low carbon footprint, and certified organic ingredients.

It’s easy to see why Antipodes has won so many awards for green beauty given your background in pure science. But when did your education start to develop into a business plan? My science background didn’t directly correlate to a business plan for Antipodes, as there were 20 interim years between university and starting Antipodes! However my science background has been invaluable and steered Antipodes into a direction of scientific research.

Elizabeth Barbalich Profile

Can you remember the first product that you created, and, if so, why did you want to begin with that? Divine Face Oil: Organic Avocado Oil & Rosehip. Face oil products were in vogue at the time (and still are), so this was a logical first product. It contains superior certified organic avocado oil and rosehip oil, renowned for its ability to help reduce the appearance of scars.

Which 3 Antipodes products do you use the most in your personal regime?

If you could invent a magic potion product, what would it do and why? Plump out the skin, whilst simultaneously tighten the skin – dehydration and lack of volume being major ageing skin concerns.

You mention having three teenagers on your website who must think you are the coolest mom in the world! Do you like to separate business with pleasure, or are they active in sharing thoughts and ideas on the brand? They are my greatest critics, and they do take an active interest in the business – from both a scientific and creative aspect. Both girls religiously use Antipodes products, which is very satisfying for me!

I was really touched that you dedicated a section of the Antipodes website called ‘fans’. What’s the most moving experience you’ve had with a fan of the brand? Last year we had an 80 year old who hand wrote a beautiful letter about the dramatic skin improvements she had experienced with using Antipodes. This was lovely, as I am believer that skin can look healthy and fabulous at any age.

Did you ever have a day where the business felt too stressful to carry on with? And, if so, what did you tell yourself to keep going? Yes often, we have a huge number of hurdles to overcome especially as this year we are forecasting to double our manufacturing. I always remind myself that I am extremely fortunate and have a healthy body and a healthy family, so this quickly puts issues in perspective. I am a person who can turn extreme challenges into opportunities, and I am also prepared to make calculated risks to take the brand to new levels.

Elizabeth Barbalich

What would you go back and tell yourself in the first year of founding Antipodes? Be patient!

What 3 tips would you offer an aspiring entrepreneur in the beauty industry?

  • Research your market very thoroughly.
  • Do not launch a ‘me too’ brand, a brand must be niche and cool to survive.
  • Be careful where you invest your money, a lot of things can be achieved in house and in a relatively cost effective budget.

It was a pleasure to interview Elizabeth – I hope you enjoyed her story as much as I did.

You can find all that you need to know about Elizabeth and Antipodes at www.antipodesnature.com.

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