How Did The Ultra Violette Journey Begin?
Ava: We had a lightbulb moment during our time at MECCA and realised there’s nothing sexy about sunscreens; from the way they look and feel and smell to where they’re sold. And they’re the most important product in a skincare and beauty regime; the one thing all dermatologists will tell you that you need to wear every day. But nobody is making that a nice experience. We also felt that sunscreen was rarely considered in context of what is layered before and after, and how women actually wear these in real life. To us, it felt like an afterthought for a lot skincare brands, rather than the VIP that they should be. So from there came the seeds of Ultra Violette. We wanted to create a range of facial sunscreens that looked beautiful, spoke to you in a way you could understand, felt so nice to wear, contained some great ingredients and really played well with the rest of your skincare and makeup products.
Bec: We created Ultra Violette to be a “wardrobe of SPF” that covers as many people’s needs and avoids as many pain points as possible in an easy to understand range. Both Ava and I have a background in beauty, so we had come across the key things people were looking for in skin care and we chose to apply this to our sun protection range such as having an appealing fragrance, a beautiful texture that works well with the rest of your routine including makeup, a non-whitening formulation also providing both chemical and physical SPF options. We call our products Skinscreens as they are a mix of skin care and sun screen.
Ava: I call it the brand for people who hate sunscreen! We always wanted to be the brand that coaxed non-users into wearing SPF – something that would catch their eye (literally with the bright packaging) and force them into daily use! Nothing makes me happier than reading/ hearing someone say that they now wear SPF daily because of one of our products. It’s why we do what we do.
Ultra Violette Has Quickly Gained A Cult Following. Why Do You Think We Are So Attracted To It?
Bec: We officially launched Ultra Violette in January 2019 and since then we have sold directly to almost 10,000 customers as well as many thousands more through Adore Beauty and now Sephora. I think the brand has really resonated with women (and some men) as they were looking for an SPF that they actually liked wearing and most importantly it works. Add to that a brand that doesn’t patronise, or freak people out with scary statistics, and you have something people want to wear and engage in. We have been lucky that our products have really hit the mark with so many people.
Ava: We definitely had a lot of support early on from some key titles and influencers which really helped put us on people’s radars. I also think the packaging really helps us stand out – in a sea of white shelfies, there’s UV - big bad bold and blue!
How Crucial Has Social Media Been To The Brand's Success?
Ava: Critical! It’s our number one sales channel (for sales direct to our website), an amazing marketing tool through influencer seeding and has allowed us to access other markets we wouldn’t have been able to as a small Aussie start up. It’s created a borderless market for us and allowed us to be seen not only by customers and influencers but also domestic and international buyers just through Instagram. It also allows us to control the conversation, educate and communicate directly with our customer – this helps us with future product development, what needs to be tweaked in our current range or communications and what’s working or not.
Your Products Often Have Double Uses - What Is The Thinking Behind Hybrid Products?
Bec: We call our products ‘Skinscreens’ which is basically a word we invented - but that doesn’t mean it’s not a thing! Ha. It’s a combination between skincare and sunscreen - which is how we’ve designed all of our products. It’s not just about providing the bare minimum of sun protection anymore. Sunscreens need to do more - they need to include other ingredients to keep your skin hydrated, to protect from the full solar spectrum and contain other skin-saving antioxidants (Green Tea, Kakadu Plum). SPF is the one product you need to wear daily, so it’s important to think just beyond the realm of traditional sun filters and include other benefits to the skin too.
We also knew most people wanted products that were quick and easy to that could replace a step in their morning skin care or makeup routine, such as a primer or moisturiser. None of us have a huge amount of time to spend on something we do every day, and therefore to qualify as a regular product in your routine, a hero product has to be super easy and even better… replace a step you’re already doing eg. Primer or moisturiser. The easier we could make ‘getting out of the house each morning’, the more people would be wearing sunscreen every single day, which is our ultimate goal.
Are Different Products Better Suited To Different Skin Types? And How Would You Describe Them?
Bec: Because of our beauty background, we really approached the formulating of our range from a different starting point to most other sunscreens on the market. We knew that everyone has different skin and different concerns so having one product in our range was never going to be an option. We needed to cater for people wanting anything from a radiant to a matt finish, and incorporated products that worked for various skin sensitivities.
Ava: Our range includes a wardrobe of SPF that caters for as many peoples individual skin needs as possible. And we will continue to develop our products with this in mind.
Queen Screen: This is our best-seller (and my personal fave). It’s best for normal/dry/dehydrated skin. It’s just different to anything out there, and has a really lightweight serum-like consistency with a lot of glow. And it’s also basically invisible on skin so really works for all skin tones.
Supreme Screen: This is our all-rounder. Great for combo/normal/dehydrated skin – and also the product that is most suited/purchased by men. More of a satin finish than Queen Screen so if you’re a little oilier and don’t like a “glowy finish” this is for you. Also super hydrating so can (and does) replace moisturiser easily. Makes for a really good primer too – it’s our 3-in-1!
Clean Screen: This is best for super oily/ acneic skin. Or skin that is sensitive or easily inflamed - so anyone with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. It’s more of a matte finish and really good at managing oil flow. Very soothing on skin and contains Green Tea, Cucumber extract and still hydrating but if you were in need of extra hydration I’d look to the other two.
What's Next For Ultra Violette?
Bec: We are just getting started with Ultra Violette, having launched just over one year ago. We recently launched into Sephora stores across Australia and New Zealand which means our customers now have the chance to try our products before they purchase - something we are constantly asked about! We have launched 6 products this year so far and have 2 more products in the works for the first half which will aim to close some gaps in our range and make sure we have something for everyone who is looking for a skinscreen to wear every day.
Ava: So much!!! It is great to finally have a physical retailer for our products in Sephora which SOOOO exciting because there’s a lot of distrust around sunscreens – so many of us have been burnt in the past (pun intended!!) – so only being available online has been a bit of a barrier for some. And we’re looking at overseas markets next. 2020 is going to be a big one!