How ModelCo’s Founder and CEO created a beauty empire

There are few brands that can herald the arrival of summer like ModelCo. For more than a decade, the Australian brand has tanned and streamlined the bodies of bronze-worshipers across the globe. Starting out on on the sunny shores of Sydney, ModelCo was originally a small collection of self-tanning creams (one of the first of their kind, mind you) available at the local salon, but they’ve now expanded into an international beauty empire that can claim hundreds of thousands of followers.

The brand has been the recipient of multiple awards, partnered with a bevvy of high-profile it girls and helped establish the modern beauty frontier. CEO and Founder Shelley Sullivan is behind the brand’s rise to fame, so it’s safe to assume that when it comes to the business of beauty, she knows what she’s doing. We sat down with her to talk all things business, heated eyelash curlers and going with your gut instinct.

Can you please tell me a bit about your business?

ModelCo Cosmetics is an iconic Australian beauty company, now in its 15th year, renowned for innovative products and brands with excellent value to both the luxury and masstige consumer.

Recognised for its premium, quick-fix cosmetic, self-tanning and natural skincare collection, the company’s product range delivers smart beauty solutions for glamour-on-the-go.

Why did you create your business?

I always had a strong desire to create my own business, this feeling was innate in me from an early age. I love a challenge, love being creative and love the thrill of building a business I can be proud of.

Eight years into being a model agent I was continually listening to what my models wished they’d had in their beauty regime that all the luxury brands weren’t providing. I was also looking at the way they applied make up and tanning products and I was inspired to launch a heated eyelash curler.

At the time I launched the heated eyelash curler it was a pet project, I had no idea it was going to become the phenomenon that it is or evolve into being the global ModelCo beauty brand we know today!

What are the positives of starting your own business in the beauty industry and what are the negatives?

Positives would be that there are seemingly endless opportunities available in the beauty industry for talent, creativity and innovation. Understand the business that you are going into.

Surround yourself with people who have more knowledge than you and who can guide you through the process. I found it tricky at first to negotiate the manufacturing of the product as this was an area of business I was unfamiliar with to start.

I relied heavily on advice and my gut instinct. I think a negative would be the same in any start up – work out the funds you need to start your business then double them!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own beauty business?
My motto is to never give in, never give up and never take no for an answer. I think this is what enabled me to build my business and succeed beyond my wildest dreams.

On a practical level I always believe that work experience in the industry is invaluable and doing an internship gives great insight into a company or brand that you want to work for.

Click here to discover ModelCo’s range



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