Colder weather may bring with it a time for knitted jumpers and nights spent huddled in front of the heater but it also brings dry hands, cracked lips and dehydrated skin. Enter Kirsten Carriol, the founder of Lanolips.
Here at CLIQUE Mag, we love ambitious women who take on the world in the pursuit of success, especially if they hail from Adelaide. Kirsten grew up in South Australia and spent much of her childhood on her grandparents’ sheep farm in Lucindale, where she cites it as her inspiration for launching her brand.
Having never been able to find and adequate lip balm for herself, Kirsten embarked on her own range and Lanolips was born.
We had a chat to Kirsten about all things Lanolips, living interstate and finding the perfect balm for dry lips.
Where did the idea for Lanolips stem from?
I was inspired by my grandparents who were sheep farmers in Lucindale and my dad who is a Professor of Genetics. The smell of the lanolin is what I grew up with because of my families farming background, but also the no nonsense approach that my grandparents had to life. I remember my grandmother making her own soap and basically making use of everything that they had, making everything themselves, and being really no nonsense about things and not wasteful. They used lanolin from the sheep’s wool they grew. Quite independently my father also used lanolin.
In 2003, after 10 years working in the beauty industry I had my lightbulb moment. I was about to board a long haul flight from Paris on my honeymoon and was dreading the dryness that my skin and lips would undoubtedly suffer. I remembered the lanolin my father had used on me as a child and realised that after all my years in beauty there was nothing available that was as good as lanolin, and I kind of looked around and realised I wanted to bring lanolin to bring it back into the world’s skincare regimes.
I believe skin products don’t need to be complicated and in reality you don’t need five steps for one face. You need one or two really effective ones.
Prior to launching the company, you studied Marketing & Business at the University of Adelaide and were working in marketing; how important was the experience you garnered here in ensuring Lanolips’ success?
The industry showed me how much of the beauty industry is marketing with little substance behind it. It was at this point that I realised what I was really interested in was simple, honest ingredients and products like those I grew up with on my family’s farm. This is how I managed to come full circle, and back to my own lanolin-based products.
The number one thing I remember from my marketing studies in Adelaide was the ‘4 P’s’ — Product, Place, Price and Promotion. These 4 P’s still drive any decisions I make today.
How important was it for you to make your hero ingredient, lanolin, fashionable to a wider market?
Very important! I really had to work to change people’s perception of the ingredient. Lanolin was unfairly marginalised as an allergen in the ‘80s and that perception was hard to change. When you look back though, lanolin was widely used as a moisturiser in the 1970s — Oil of Ulan, now Olay, was a huge brand. However people were using cheap, impure lanolin full of pesticides from farming, which can be dangerous and it was incorrectly tagged as an allergen. People that grew up with lanolin, like I did, remembered it as the wondrous moisturising ingredient that it is, however a lot of people were cautious of the ingredient.
We use the world’s purest lanolin, which is ULTRA medical grade lanolin, even higher grade that the lanolin used in hospitals around the world – which means it’s safe, creamy and pure.
Lanolips are proudly Australian made and cruelty free; how significant was this to you when forming the brand?
This was integral, for me I need to ensure the quality of the ingredients is the best available in the world and they are ethically sourced. We are proudly Australian Made, natural and animal cruelty free, and this really shapes who we are as a brand. I use the most expensive lanolin you can buy in the world because of the quality and ethics of the supplier.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting Lanolips?
There is nothing more rewarding or fulfilling than receiving emails from happy ladies who I have been able to help through the use of my products.
What’s your favourite product in the Lanolips range?
What do you miss most about Adelaide while living interstate?
The Central Markets. There is nothing like it in the entire world! I never realised how lucky I was!
Lastly, what’s next for Lanolips?
Skin cleansing. This September we are launching Lano Skin Cleansing Bars which I am very excited about as cleansing really felt like the natural next step for Lano and completes the skincare regime circle for us. I grew up with my grandmother making soaps for the family and about 18 months ago I started playing with my own formulations inspired by generations-old family soap recipes; this resulted in a Lanolin & Egg White Beauty Bar and a Lanolin & Sulfur Salts Deep Cleansing Bar. They are naturally formulated for dry, sensitive skin; designed as a simple skincare solution for a back to basics, no fuss, and natural skincare routine.