In an ever-evolving world, people are looking for products that provide quality, purpose, and function with minimal impact to our planet, our health, our resources, whilst still providing beauty and luxury.
So often we compromise our purchases thinking we cannot have it all with the essential products in our lives.
Meet Emma Davis, a highly passionate thought leader, who has been persistent in her pursuit of finding everyday products that meet her exacting needs and values for home and work.
As a busy makeup artist, Emma’s work required her to be regularly disinfecting her hands before working with clients. After exhausting a search for a sanitizing product that was hydrating, natural, quick drying without sacrificing quality, feel and function, she realized that she would need to formulate her own product. So her quest began to create of the first in a range of essential products that will not compromise on any of her values and provide a much higher level of trust for users. Enter Esst. – where luxury meets science meets clean beauty. esst. = ‘essential’ products using ‘essential oils’.
Emma’s innovative approach to product development has taken her on a 3-year journey of discovery about the very best way to deliver it all, without compromise. The result is the launch of her first product of many for the esst brand – esst. Sanitizing plus antibacterial hand/skin cream.
This product is the first of its kind. It presents as a superior luxury hand cream that is non greasy, quick drying and highly absorbent, with the added benefit of a nourishing antibacterial function. With a fresh and alluring scent of proprietary blend Australian botanical essential oils (Created by Emma herself) and stunning low impact packaging, (manufactured by a facility that runs off a full solar powered farm), the product stands proudly as Australian owned, independently lab tested, sustainably sourced, vegan, nontoxic, cruelty free, natural, antibacterial with recyclable packaging.
Their innovative product takes advantage of key natural ingredients including silver and our signature Australian Botanical Essential Oil Blend, creating a strong antibacterial formulation that is calming, useful against microbes, bacteria, fungus with anti-inflammatory properties with variable results for acne, rosacea, couperose skin, eczema, and psoriasis all in a fresh uplifting aroma.
esst hydrating plus antibacterial hand lotion is safe for everyone on the planet, babies, the elderly even your pets.
Check out our full coversation with Emma below!
Claire: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us. To start, I am sure our readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get here? What is your background?
I’m a Makeup Artist so sanitising my hands in between clients and in front of them has always been non negotiable to me. I lost 4 friends in one year to cancer so I became curious about the products I was using often (essential everyday products) and how I could make them better. I thought google would find a cream that sanitises but after an exhaustive search I realised I was wrong, so I started the journey of finding a chemist and doing it myself.
Claire: Tell us about your business. What do you do, and what is your startup’s origin story?
esst is a play on the word essential – essential products using essential oils. esst started when I needed products to satisfy my own needs for my makeup business Emma d Makeup which I started in 2009 in Melbourne. They had to be health focused, and environmentally friendly and look good in my studio. The idea for esst was born in 2017. I used to be a researcher in my TV Production days so picking up the phone and talking to people and getting leads came naturally to me.
Claire: What’s unique about your company? What are the key differentiators between you and other players?
esst does not rely on alcohol as the key ingredient to kill bacteria. For this reason esst is multi purpose – can also be used as an after-shave moisturising balm for both gents and ladies, as well as a soothing foot cream, aid for chafing, and even to help calm acne and rosacea. esst has become the ‘go to’ healing product for assisting with cold sores, minor burns or in times of overwhelm, cup your hands and breathe in the essential oils to help bring back a sense of calm and grounding. When travelling, apply just inside your nostrils to aid your body in dealing with incoming germs. esst promotes ‘informed beauty’ ensuring safety is at the forefront of how we formulate. We like to educate our customers about what ingredients we use and why. There’s alot of misinformed information on the internet and people get confused. We want our customers to be able to choose an esst product with confidence knowing they don’t have to go down the rabbit hole with the ingredients list.
Claire: Can you take us through a typical day in your life?
I usually start with a coffee around 7am, walk my schnoodle, come home and do some yoga or pilates, make a green smoothie and then I’m on for the day. I’m a list person to keep me on track because I’m also an Aquarian so I can easily get distracted. I like early mornings and early nights as much as I can.
Claire: What are some of the critical steps you have taken to grow your business?
Employing an ecommerce business to take care of my socials and making sure all the back end is in check before wasting money on ad spend.
Claire: What has been the most challenging part of growing your company?
Getting people to understand and appreciate what I have created. When something is innovative and then they hear the word sanitiser I feel like they just switch off and don’t hear me. I was doing this long before Covid was a thing so I’m not capitalising on Covid and Covid has made sanitising a cheap and nasty word. It’s all education and building that trust.
Claire: What are your best sales and marketing tips?
Be honest and transparent. Don’t worry about likes, followers and what others are doing. Stay in your lane with why you have done what you have done and always go quality over quantity. Don’t take the first offer that comes up if it’s not the right fit even though as a start up you have thousands of dollars of bills and desperately need the money. So yes don’t be desperate if you want to be in for the long haul.
Claire: Do you have a book, podcast, or YouTube channel you recommend to other Entrepreneurs?
I loved and still love podcasts – Lady Brains, Hack your own PR, Glow Journal, How did you get into that. I love hearing all the stories, trials and tribulations they all kept me going forward.
Claire: If you could go back in time to the day you founded your company, what advice would you give yourself?
Put your helmut on and hang on tight. Let ‘no’s’ make you hungrier. Find a good mentor that has done it before as you can save alot of time and money.