Meet Felicity Loughrey and Tim Dwyer, founders of A-beauty shower essentials brand Summer Stories
With a background in media that spans a decade writing for Vogue Australia and working at multiple digital and creative agencies in New York City, Felicity Loughrey has attended her fair share of beauty launches, read countless press releases and met many brand founders. But it was during an out-of-hours brainstorming session with her then colleague, now co-founder Tim Dwyer while working in the corporate world back in Brisbane that the idea for Summer Stories came to life. "We felt there was an opportunity in the market for a maximalist shower essentials brand made with Australian ingredients," the pair tells us. Having lived in the United States, Loughrey realised how precious Australian ingredients are and felt it was time to share them with the world. "We also wanted to celebrate Queensland, the state where we live and so all of our products have Queensland place names."
Here, Loughrey and Dwyer explain the importance of being made in Australia with native botanicals and why A-beauty is filled with optimism and opportunity.
Your products are cruelty-free, biodegradable and made with Australian botanicals. Tell us more about how these credentials guide your brand and product development.
"This is pretty much our starting point. It was really important to us that our products were cruelty free (we test on ourselves) and we opt for botanical ingredients. We just love Australian botanicals so much. There are so many interesting native plants here. Why wouldn’t you use them?"
How are sustainable and ethical practices incorporated into your business?
"We’re very conscious of sustainability. When we ship products to The Day Ahead, we use a carbon neutral carrier. We’re not perfect when it comes to sustainability. Our packaging can all be recycled but we would like to do more in the future with refills and earth-friendly packaging. If anyone has a great eco-packaging contact, please hit us up!"
What is the importance to you of being made in Australia? And why is it so unique in the beauty industry?
"The answer to this ties in with the sustainability question above. Why would you ship ingredients and products across the seas to use in Australia when we have so many amazing, locally-made products here? It just makes sense to use Australian ingredients and manufacture here."
What changes have you seen in the Australian beauty industry and the ‘A-beauty’ category in recent times?
"There is so much optimism and opportunity. There are so many great local brands and there’s a camaraderie between folks. We’re big fans of Dunkle Authentic, The Great State and Bodibar. I think we’re also realising what we’re capable of producing: we can create, package and market great products here."
What excites you about the potential and future of Australian-made beauty and skincare products?
"Australia has many natural advantages. We have botanicals that grow here with incredible potential. Our grandmother’s generation leaned into native ingredients such as eucalyptus and tea tree oil—both have antibacterial properties—and were used around the house, home and on the body and hair. While native ingredients like kangaroo apple and finger lime caviar extract are just getting started in the beauty and skincare space. I also love Australian packaging and design. I know that’s not strictly the product, but how it looks in your bathroom matters and we have so much exciting design talent here."
What is the one product you always recommend from your range?
"Definitely our Mooloolaba Body Wash. It’s made with cypress and lemon myrtle. Just mention the word lemon myrtle to anyone and see their face melt—it’s such an incredible, invigorating scent. It’s so perfect for the shower and feels like summer. Plus, I get a kick when my American friends ask, how do you pronounce Mooloolaba?"
What has been the most rewarding part of being a business owner? And what has been the most challenging?
"The most rewarding and most challenging part is that you can wake up each day and make it up as you go along. It really is the most open-ended adventure."