Hi, my name is Samantha and I am the founding partner of Samantha Sona Ethical Beauty and this is my story...
Where it all started...
I have always been interested in skincare but my love affair with sunless tanning began when I was 16 years old and on holiday in Cape Town. It was there that I used my very first tanning solution: It was orange and streaky, but never mind - it was better than being pale! Over the years I tried hundreds of different tans and watched the industry evolve.
After university, I took the corporate route and spent years doing a job I probably wasn't cut out for. I started my MBA and just felt that I should be doing something else but I wasn't sure what. A colleague jokingly asked me, "yeah, but what else do you know about Samantha? Fake tan and skincare, that's about it!".
To be fair, she was right. I probably knew more about skincare than most people. I was obsessed with it, in fact. And as for self-tanning... I probably knew more about sunless tanning than anybody in the world, given my years of using it. I figured that if anybody could make a career of it, I could, so I packed up my suits and high heels and embarked upon a career in sunless tanning...
Fast forward a few years and with my own tanning business. I spent my time tanning Russian oligarchs and visiting celebrities. Business was booming. My client list contained people from editors of glossy magazines to fitness pageants. I loved my job making women (and the occasional man) look healthy and beautiful. However, ever the perfectionist, I felt that we could go one better than the tans available on the market. I had a checklist in my head of everything I wanted in a tan, but none that I tried could satisfy every requirement.
There are many tans out there and each and every one I tried had a flaw: too orange, too ashy, too green (eek!), too expensive, too full of chemicals, tested on animals (a no-no for us)... I was always on the lookout for the perfect tan. Just when I thought I had found 'the one' I would discover something about the ingredients that would make my heart sink. There had to be another solution. Literally. There had to be another tanning solution for the market and I was going to make it.
The concept stage...
I had been researching Australian botanical products and was looking at ways to incorporate botanical ingredients into our products. Also because Australia is one of the most regulated countries in the world, we have great trust in Australian products. I undertook a Cosmetic Chemistry course and came up with my Brief.
- Natural & Organic
- Not tested on animals
- Containing Australian Botanical Ingredients
- Beautiful color
- Fades evenly
- Does not smell.
After a year of trials, I finally had a product that I could be proud of. Not only did it fit all of the criteria above, but it was the best tan we had ever tried.
Ours was the first organic and palm oil-free self-tan on the market and being certified by Orangutan Alliance was a defining - and very proud - moment for us.
Our next step was to look at preservatives. It was important for us to use natural preservatives. Although they are much more expensive than the synthetic kind, we took the decision to absorb the cost and not pass it onto our customers.
In time, we decided to expand the range to include skincare that would not compromise our beautiful tan. We developed our skincare and body care products with the same high standards that we had applied to our tanning products: luxurious, vegan, organic, palm-free, not tested on animals, containing local Australian ingredients…
We finally launched in December 2017 at the Sydney Vegan Market and I am so proud of how far we have come. I hope you like our products as much as we do.