[EXCLUSIVE] Sarah Hamilton Of Sand & Sky On Ingredients And Insta-results
With its millennial-pink packaging and insta-results, Sand & Sky was a recipe for beauty brand success. Boasting the powers of Australian Pink Clay which refines skin immediately (you don’t have to wait weeks!) and other Australian-native ingredients, it was just this one product that launched Sand & Sky onto beauty lovers’ radars and took it from Australia to international waters. With warehouses around the globe to meet online orders, Sand & Sky is also now available in Malaysia and Singapore via Sephora. We took a minute to speak to the founder Sarah Hamilton about the lightbulb moment for creating the brand from one product, and how it grew to so many parts of the map.
We honestly would just like to know first off how it all started out for you and your twin sister — what made you create Sand & Sky?
It started out with me and my twin sister Emily and we wanted to create an Australian brand. Where we grew up, it was idyllic – beach, bush, outdoors. When we looked to create a brand, we thought, “How do we transport people to Australia, how do we show off what Australia’s got to offer?” In beauty, that’s ingredients. We looked to the market and we thought of what products we wanted to create and the Australia Pink Clay mask won the hearts of our focus group of four and that was the first product to be launched in April 2017.
How did you discover the amazing Australian Pink Clay and the wonders it does for skin?
We went to a manufacturer and we had an idea of the ingredients did and they helped us come up with a product which they helped to test for results. It had to work quickly and look good on social media so it iterated from there.
And why just the one product — what was your vision for the business?
I’d love to tell you that we had a massive plan but we didn’t. We were blown away by the results. We sold 60,000 units in about 8-12 weeks and it was the customers telling us that they wanted it. Really for us, it was then trying to keep up with demand and expanding globally.
Speaking of expanding globally, you have a warehouse in Singapore and now you’re in Malaysia via Sephora. How does it make you feel seeing S&S all over the world map like that?
Extremely humbled. It’s so funny when I meet people, it’s humbling when people know all about Sand & Sky. So for us it’s about growing from here. Seeing the global footprint was always part of the plan but seeing it coming to life via retail partners like Sephora it’s a kind of pinch yourself moment.
We love how the brand has such a personal feel to it, as though you yourself are speaking to your customers! How many people work in Sand & Sky?
It’s still quite a tight team, we have marketing girls, social media and influencer marketing and we work with PR agencies. We have girls working operations. We also have a whole team on the operational side. A huge amount of people bringing hopefully a successful brand to the world.
So, we’re amazed how the company has this strong ethos to stay cruelty- and nasty-free, would you say there were challenges in doing or maintaining this?
It was hard at the start because we wanted to have all the ingredients sourced in Australia and actually grown in Australia and this was something other beauty brands weren’t looking for. We look at the Australian lifestyle in our products and really thinking that cruelty-free and being as natural as possible, which was a big part of what we wanted when we were working with our manufacturers and formulators. And that would run through the product as it continues to grow.
We absolutely get the Aussie feel of the name Sand & Sky but what is your story behind the name?
It’s quite funny because it was our second choice and I’ll keep quiet on our first choice. But definitely everyone sees Australia as a beach, so when they see sand and blue water, they think it’s the idyllic lifestyle. Really, it was almost that simple, and we brainstormed in a small group.
Our readers are always so inspired by women like you, as a working woman/mum, tell us what a day in your life looks like.
It’s busy – mornings I try to spend with the kids or exercise and drop them off at school and I try to be home before bedtime. So I try not to be on my phone when I’m with the kids. Look it’s just creating boundaries where I just push that part of my life. It’s busy but chaos, but I love it.
Okay so we’re sure people know a lot about the product but how about talk us through it and would you recommend for all skin types?
Yes you can. The Australian Pink Clay is really purifying and it helps draw out those toxins and refine pores. Kakadu Plum helps brighten skin. We’re really impatient people – we wanted it to show immediately results. Not 2 weeks, just one go. All the ingredients embody that results.
Press play to see our video interview with Sarah. This interview was also previously published in the Sept/Oct 2019 issue of CLEO.