Tell us what inspired you to launch MineTan? 
I saw a gap in the market more than a decade ago when it became obvious to me and some contacts of mine in the beauty industry that a lot of tanning products on the market weren’t meeting the needs of all tanners. They didn’t look natural and took so long to develop. With the sun being so harsh in Australia and sun safety being so important to me personally, I knew that there was a place for self tanning and spray tanning products that looked as natural as a sun tan, took less time to develop and delivered real skincare benefits to the skin. So I developed it myself!

How difficult was it to set up your own company? 
Starting from very small beginnings, developing a new product and establishing a brand absolutely had its difficulties; my first batches were all poured, packed and posted straight from my own garage at the time. Though I do consider myself lucky to have grown up with business-owner parents and then going into the beauty industry as an Event Manager myself because I was quite immersed within the industry and had some insider knowledge into what creating and managing a business would look like. Over the years I’ve then also grown a really fantastic team (including my husband and business partner Cameron) who have all helped MineTan grow into a global operation.

Anything you wish you had known when starting out?
Can I say all of it? It would’ve been a dream to have known everything starting out but the real reward is learning and teaching yourself everything as you go just by sheer motivation
to actually make it work. There’s a lot that I still wish I knew this many years on as I’m absolutely still learning a lot to this day and I’m sure I’ll never quite know it all as the business and beauty world changes constantly, you’ve got to be ready to adapt and always learn along the way.

Were there any mentors in the industry that you looked to for advice?
Working as an Event Manager in the beauty industry before MineTan meant I had a lot of contacts who could really help me get started and are still hugely motivating today. From other business owners who had developed their own products before to the professionals in salons who would eventually be using my product down the line, everyone played the part of a mentor at one point. I’m also super lucky to have my husband and business partner because he is my biggest supporter and mentor on the business side of things as well as balancing it all with mum life!

Kirstie noticed a gap in the market a decade ago.

Tanning is such a big business in Australia and the world in general – how have you seen the industry change?
I think the tanning industry has grown tremendously! There has been a lot of innovation within it pulling inspiration from cosmetics and skincare in terms of product development and marketing. There’s been huge change in how products are formulated in terms of giving consumers a larger range of product options to tailor their results to their needs, much
like cosmetics and skincare. MineTan has drawn from that by creating colour correcting tans and tanning treatments that deliver real skincare benefits. Formulations have also gotten a
lot cleaner as the beauty industry as a whole moves towards greener, eco-friendly beauty. For example, we use 100% naturally derived tanning actives (which greatly improve tan results) and have recently switched our Pro Spray Mist bottles to 100% post consumer recycled plastic to reduce our (and our MineTan professionals) overall impact on the environment.

What sets your company apart from others on the market?
With MineTan, our products are based on so much more than just light, medium and dark tan results. Our focus has always been based on customisable formulations based on your skin tone or needs and the overall desired skin finish outcome. This tanning philosophy was born from our rich Australian salon heritage as the original MineTan products were professional solutions. All of our tans are developed with skin-true shades that always look natural and deliver a tan that’s unique to you while our clean and skin loving ingredients really look after your skin while you tan. We are constantly challenging the industry with innovations that move with and ahead of the trends such as incorporating tan formulations with key trending skincare ingredients such as the hyaluronic acid and vitamins in our new Wonder Tan.

What has been a career milestone for you? 
Honestly, the entire journey with MineTan is like one big ongoing milestone! Looking back to where it all started, filling and hand labelling bottles in a small garage to now manufacturing our own products in our very own state-of-the- art facilities and watching as MineTan’s availability just expands further and further across the globe just feels like my big career milestone just keeps on giving.

Any “pinch me” moments along your career journey?
Well, presenting the MineTan range on television multiple times were huge believed you if you had told me all those years ago at the beginning that I would be showing the products on TV in Australia and in the United States! Even just travelling to trade shows all around the world and meeting other beauty professionals who know of or use MineTan in their salons never gets old and always sparks huge excitement every time.

How do you get your tanning message across to the market?
We’ve always had a big focus on digital marketing as it gives us so much access to directly communicate with all consumers on what they love and what they want next – both retail and professional customers. We have a marketing team with members in Australia, the United States and Europe to really get the MineTan message out there on all social platforms and in the media. We work with influencers who genuinely love the brand and also work with professional ambassadors within a growing program, as our salon owners and beauty workers are by far the most influential in the industry.

What makes a great tanning product? 
At MineTan, we pride ourselves about what goes into our products just as much as we care about the results that come out of them, which I do think is what keeps our customers coming back and trusting our brand. Tanners aren’t only looking for amazing colour results, they’re also looking for ingredients that will really look after their skin while they’re tanning. Consumers also really know their ingredients now and aren’t just buying into anything, they know what hydrating, skin loving ingredients will help their skin feel and look great while delivering stunning, even, long-lasting tan results.

How has COVID affected your business? 
A big part of how COVID has affected our business has come down to how it has affected our professionals. We’ve had to adapt to the changing times of course, but we’ve made an effort to help our professional base also adapt and rebuild. We’ve had a number of initiatives to help salons and mobile spray tanners manage their bottom line so their return to business after lockdown was easier and we have more ongoing plans to continue to support in a variety of ways in future.

Do you have any future expansion plans you can share?
can’t share anything just yet… but you can rest assured we’re constantly working on new ideas and innovations at the MineTan HQ. We do have some new amazing products about to drop this summer but you’ll have to watch this space or find us on social media (@minetanbodyskin) to be the first to know!

Do you have a mantra that you live by? 
“Old ways won’t open new doors.” I think this one is relevant to both the MineTan brand and the whole team.

This article first appeared in the November/December issue of Professional Beauty magazine. Download the issue here.

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