How this 28 year old will be making millions by solving one problem

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Kayla Houlihan (28) from Australia is the Founder of Tribe Skincare, a company dedicated to serving women with sensitive skin.

Read how Kayla is changing her life and the lives of her clients:


Name & Surname: Kayla Houlihan

Age: 28

Industry: Skincare

From (which country & city): Geelong, VIC, Australia

Company Name: Tribe Skincare

Favourite Quote to live by:

‘Do more of the things that have you saying “Hell yes!”’


1.    Please give us a short background of who you are and what you do

My introduction to the skincare world began when I studied Beauty Therapy. I was absolutely captivated by the results people were getting with their skin conditions by using the correct skincare and I became obsessed with learning about different ingredients and their skin health benefits. My sister and I had a skin clinic in Geelong for 3 years specialising in microdermabrasion (my absolutely favourite skin treatment) and we could not believe how many Australian women were suffering with sensitive skin symptoms. But we couldn’t find an appropriate skincare range to recommend to them. We had doctor formulated skincare ranges at the clinic which had some products for ‘sensitive skin’ but the price point was high and the skincare was still too active for their skin to handle. So I set out to create the perfect range for sensitive skin. I knew exactly what needed to be in the bottles and all of the common irritants and allergens that needed to be left out.

Tribe Skincare started off as my ‘side hustle’ to the clinic, but very quickly took over as my full-time job. I am now the Marketing Manager in the business and answer all of the customer service enquiries too.


2.    How did you initially start your business?  Where did the idea / Lightbulb moment come from?

The ‘gap in the market’ became evident to me when I was looking for a skincare range for sensitive skin to stock in our salon and recommend to customers. We couldn’t find a single range on the market that specialised in sensitive skin which seems crazy when 60% of Aussie women identify with having sensitive skin. I had a fabulous team of people help me from concept to ‘shelf’. It’s been such a whirlwind 18 months and I have learnt so much along the way.

3.    What was the problem you wanted to solve for your clients and how did you do it?

The skincare industry was so focused on ‘active’ skincare, but a lot of woman were finding their skin couldn’t tolerate it. This would lead to their skin becoming ‘sensitised’ resulting in redness, itching and discomfort. We solved this problem by creating an all-natural skincare range for sensitive skin that relieves the symptoms of sensitive skin. The range is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients that decrease redness, breakouts and dry patches, while rebuilding their skin’s natural barrier.

4.    Comparing the first 3 months since starting your business, to the last 3 months of where you are now, what is the difference in your business and you as an entrepreneur?

Oh wow, there have been so many changes in just a year! I guess the main difference in me is that I am now more confident and capable of deligating tasks. I used to try to do everything myself from customer service to product development. I now know my strengths are in digital marketing and other experts can help dramatically improve the brand as well as improving my sanity.

5.    What type of marketing do you use most of, and what advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?

‘Social proof’ is the best way to gain customers trust and interest and generate sales. We use a lot of ‘social proofing’ methods on social media including the following top 3.

‘Before and after’ images: New customers track their results with the skincare at home. They begin by taking a ‘before’ photo clearly showing their skin, and then they take progress shots after 2, 4 and 6 weeks. It’s the best evidence that the products really work!

Influencer marketing: This is a fast and cost-effective way to generate brand awareness and increased sales. If the social media influencer has an engaged audience and is a good match to our target market, we can make a return on the investment in just 24 hours.

Reviews: As mentioned in my favourite apps, we use a fully automated review system to generate customer reviews. We then repost the most effective reviews on our own social media channels as a way of generating brand trust and website traffic.

6.    What was the biggest mistake you made in your business and how did you bounce back from that?

We were originally called ‘Lifesaver Skincare’ and had to change our name to ‘Tribe Skincare’ after a trademark infringement. It was early days, but we had to take the brand off the market, completely rebrand and essentially start again. I am now a huge advocate for small businesses trademarking and protecting their IP right from the beginning to save any issues down the track.

7.    Name 5 of your most favourite software/apps you use in your business all the time?

Shopify apps:

Candy Rack: ‘Add-ons’ that appear when a customer adds a product to their cart. It’s a great upsell tool and about 80% of our customers add extra items cart this way. We have $7 Makeup Removal Mitts and while it’s a small amount for the customer to add, it really adds up for us and has increased the average customer spend.

Judge.Me: A fully automated review system that automatically contacts your customers via email to request a review and then feeds the reviews straight onto your product pages. You can choose to curate the reviews or allow it to be fully-automated.


Airy: This computer program (downloaded from the internet) allows you to download and save Youtube videos. It’s perfect if someone features or reviews your product in a Youtube video so you can save the content, crop the video to the relevant section and repost it on your own platform.

Later: This social media scheduling app allows you to plan and store your future posts and prompts you to post on your scheduled dates and times. It has helped us forward plan and keep our Instagram grid looking great!


Instagram: We generate majority of our sales organically through Instagram. We post a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ content and information about skin and skincare and generate over 500K Impressions a week with our audience!

8.    What is your goal for this year?

We would love to sign with a big retailer in Australia to get the range in store. Selling online has allowed us to reach such a huge audience and grow the brands popularity. It would be great for the customers to be able to test the range and purchase in-store as skincare is such a tactile experience. The packaging is stunning and really stands out, but the photos online can’t do it justice. It would be such a great range to have on the shelves of a department store.

9.    What are you going to differently in 2019 that you did in 2018 and what lessons did you learn in 2018 that you will apply in 2019?

We are moving into a larger commercial space this year. The business growth has been expodential in the last 12 months so we are constantly adapting our systems to be as efficient and high quality as possible.

Personally, I learnt in 2018 that I can’t do everything and be all over every aspect of the business. So we have separately job roles and tasks now and I finally have weekends back. My goal for 2019 is to have more down time rather than working 24/7. So far, I have been really good at switching off at 5pm and not responding to emails and enquiries at night or on weekends.

10. With markets getting saturated day by day, what is the best advice you can give other female entrepreneurs that want to stand out in their market in 2019?

Having a ‘niche’ is a scary thing to do! At first, you feel like you are really limiting your audience, but your ‘niche’ is vital to your survival. It shapes your unique selling points and ensures you stand out in a crowded market.

You are much better off being the perfect business/product for someone rather than trying to be something for everyone. Our niche is ‘skincare for sensitive skin’ and while this limits our audience, every woman with sensitive skin knows we are the perfect skincare brand for them and their skin.

Get in touch with Kayla