A lot can happen in 25 years; trends can change, new products are made, brands come and go
and we see the wheel of the beauty industry turn around and reinvent itself to bring something fresh and new.
From humble beginnings on the Gold Coast of Australia, Elleebana (meaning peace, tranquillity and beauty in Australian Indigenous culture) was born. The brand has now grown into an international juggernaut in the world of lashes and brows. Elleebana has distributors in over 60 countries around the globe and growing, due to not only the exceptional quality of the products but also the people behind the brand and the education. The people and their passion is a special part of the magic that is responsible for creating a truly special offering from the land of Oz and making Elleebana the global family into what it is today.
Elleebana has had an incredible journey, the brand predominately spent the first 15 years in business focusing on the Australian market and slowly but surely creating a great base of loyal customers across the nation. Elleebana has not been an overnight success by any means, I remember around 15 years ago walking through the streets of Sydney knocking on the doors of salons and telling people about our products and offering free in salon demonstrations. There was no social media that we could use to promote our products and everything was either advertised through magazines, newspapers, trade shows and travelling door-to-door, so having to develop those face-to-face, person- to-person skills was very beneficial to me as we grew on our journey.
There is a joke around the office saying that I was born under the massage table and to be honest it’s not far from the truth. My mother (Suzette Barlin) was a pioneer in the beauty industry and co-wrote the very first government accredited Diploma of Beauty Therapy in Australia.
Back when I was born, Mum had a successful salon and was busy building her dream business, she basically didn’t take much time off after having me and took me straight into work with her where I’d quietly sleep under the massage table while she worked with her clients. Soon after my mother started the Gold Coast Training Academy which taught many thousands of Beauty Therapists over the years and I spent every afternoon there after school seeing all the ins and outs of how to run a Beauty College. Straight out of High
School, I was at a loose end so I enrolled in my mother’s college to study make up and thought I would have a shot at working on special effects and film. I did a few photoshoots and weddings and pretty much ran for the hills after that as I was a little scared and thought perhaps I would be better suited working in another industry, possibly cars or building houses!
Fast forward another 10 years and after various odd jobs in hospitality and entertainment, I
really started to take the beauty industry more seriously. I developed a passion for learning how to master eyelash and eyebrow treatments given our importing business in Australia solely focused on eyelash tints and eyelash perms. I really had
to know how the product worked inside and out so I spent many years practising and perfecting eyelash perming, eyelash extensions and lash & brow tinting. To perform the treatments alone was not enough either, so I decided I needed to lift my skills and knowledge further in the art of personal- care formulation. I completed my diploma in personal care formulation and advanced cosmetic science and set forth on mastering the art of formulating and creating innovative products that ultimately our clients would love.
The success story grew as our products developed an excellent customer base and cult following throughout the nation. Along came Youtube and of course Facebook and social media in general, this was the launching pad that we were waiting for. Once the interest started developing there I thought maybe it’s a good time to actually start flying overseas and offering my services for free to speak at various conferences and beauty exhibitions, I would go and provide onstage live demonstrations and educational sessions at these events to try and spread the word about our amazing products. This was a huge investment and a bit of a risk but something was telling me that I had to do it, as I started doing these events after every single event I would have somebody come up to me and say “Otto I really enjoyed your session, do you have a distributor here and can I work with you and your products”? From there, it all came together and a new wave of international business was formed.
Everything really started taking off and I was getting asked to speak at many different events around the world, travelling from London to Moscow, then to the USA and all through Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Everybody was saying who is this guy from Australia talking about eyelashes and I guess that was my niche, as there was only a few other men doing something similar. I am predominantly known around the world for developing the Elleebana lash lift system, I have studied the art of eyelash extensions and brows for years, but lash lifting has grown into a specialty for me. Lash lifting has become a global phenomenon for its simplicity but it’s amazing results delivered in a short amount of time. Elleebana has been extremely influential in the worldwide market, we have an incredible team that help me develop our systems, products and education around the globe. One thing I know for sure is you need to surround yourself with people that bring their talents to the table, that is a crucial part of how we have been able to grow the business the way we have. We
now have an extensive team of highly trained educators around the world and we focus heavily on inspiring our team and connect regularly at our global symposiums in Europe and USA where we all come together to develop our programs for the months ahead and perfect our skills and delivery as industry professional educators.
Since I started touring and working at events, I witnessed dozens of lash lift brands come and go into the market and rise and fall. Our formula was the first to be fast acting, which really helps the salon owner and the client as it gives instant gratification with minimal after-care required, clients really love to walk into a salon and walk out with results they can see straightaway.
Elleeplex Profusion by Elleebana is our newest range that incorporates the latest technology with amino acids and plant based ingredients to strengthen and repair eyelashes or brows after a lash lift or brow lamination procedure. My focus with Elleeplex Profusion was on making the system simple but using quality and pure ingredients, using no thioglycolate’s and only Cysteamine HCL which gives incredible results without all the fuss of packing hundreds of ingredients into one thing that might not even be necessary. One thing I have learned with formulating products is it is not always about how many ingredients you have in a formula, it is about the quality and the results you actually achieve as consumers want results, not marketing fluff. Our Re-Gen formula that is combined in the treatment does contain a generous offering of
ingredients but they really do their job, clinical trials showing it increases the elasticity of the hair by 24% and increases strength of the hair by 23% and is comparable to the effects of Hydrolised Keratin, however with Re-Gen we are using a plant based alternative which is vegan friendly. The consumer demand for vegan friendly products has grown substantially over the last decade and this new system meets all the requirements to be cruelty free but also have the speed and results that customers have grown to expect when using Elleebana.
Additionally, we have launched a brand new permanent lash and brow colouring system that boasts eight luxurious colours and incorporates our new Re-Gen formulation to help repair, strengthen and protect the lashes and brows during the colouring process. This new treatment process enriched with amino acids and plant extracts leaves brows and lashes tinted with extra definition but soft and voluminous, giving the brows and lashes more lustre and luxurious feel.
This article first appeared in the September/October issue of Professional Beauty magazine. Download the issue here.
Visit the #BEAUTYSTRONG hub at https://www.professionalbeauty.com.au/beautystrong/
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