February 20, 2019 Product

Vegan cosmetics range.

Some people find a hidden natural talent in the process of building their own business. Gemma Holmes discovered a strong ability for brand storytelling, whilst connecting with her customers.

Gemma was a single mum who had worked hard to earn her qualifications in hairdressing and makeup artistry. She loved her work but struggled with the constant exposure to a chemical-laden industry, and the fact that her art was dependant on applying these often toxic chemicals to her clients. It was time for disruption; time for a new player with a better product.

To develop her plans, Gemma knew her ideas needed help from people with experience. In 2016 she started NEIS business training with Holmesglen in Adelaide.

Gemma’s business idea was a natural mineral cosmetics range. All products would be certified vegan, high-end professional makeup products; from pressed mineral foundation, to lipsticks and concealer. The business was named Gemma Vendetta Cosmetics.

“The most important thing I learned from the NEIS program, is that with the right training, the right support, and the right level of enthusiasm, any idea can become a reality,” says Gemma.

“If it wasn’t for NEIS, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to jump in head-first, like I have!”

The simple yet strict criteria for cruelty-free, mineral-based products gives Gemma Vendetta Cosmetics a strong brand story. The website delivers this clearly, starting with the headline – “High quality, high definition, safe, gender-neutral, 100% vegan + cruelty free mineral cosmetics to those who care about themselves, our animals, and the planet.”

“I feel as though animal testing is an archaic and barbaric practice,” says Gemma. “We have the power as consumers to make ethical purchases based on our core values. No animal needs to suffer for ‘beauty’.”

Gemma Vendetta Cosmetics is very upfront with what makes their products different. The features are stated clearly and proudly to give customers confidence that Gemma means what she says. “Sans Nano-Particles, Sans Cheap Fillers, Sans Synthetic Fragrances, Sans Parabens or petrochemicals, Sans SLS or SLES, Sans Mineral Oil, Sans Palm Oil, Gluten Free, NEVER tested on animals, Certified Vegan + Cruelty Free by Choose Cruelty Free.” 

The unique and positive proposition of Gemma Vendetta Cosmetics has found a big customer base, open-minded and ready to embrace good ethical standards. Gemma has harnessed the power of Instagram, where she has cultivated this loyalty by regularly sharing not only beautifully styled images of her products, but also photos of herself and her customers, showcasing the brand as relatable and authentic.

Today Gemma Vendetta Cosmetics has a range of close to 30 items. Gemma has a couple of personal favourites. “The 2:1 Bronzer/Blush is complimentary to all skin tones, 100% natural, long-wearing and can also be used as an eyeshadow”, says Gemma. “Then there are my vegan mineral lipsticks with a hydrating formulation and long-wearing pigments – 8 shades, one for every aspect of your personality,” says Gemma proudly.

Since completing NEIS training over two years ago, the business has grown to supplying over 40 retailers in Australia and New Zealand. Stockists are growing at a steady pace, radiating from the original cult following in South Australia, where loyalty to a local producer with a fresh idea has been a big help and inspiration to Gemma. She has been made Brand Ambassador for the #IChooseSA campaign supported by the state body Brand South Australia.

Gemma keeps the message about her unique products flowing – publicity is vital for a new brand in the beauty world. By the number of articles and features, Gemma’s natural talent for telling her story is paying off.

Do you have a great idea for a new business? Tell us your story. NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. The program offers intensive training in the start-up phase and ongoing mentorship and advice for the first year of a new business. Use the postcode search tool to locate your nearest NEIS provider for a chat.

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