WHEN Aaron Breckell left the navy, he had a valuable skill set and his family’s small business background but no formal qualifications.
Looking for a new opportunity, he was inspired by his wife, Phoebe, a software engineer who was pregnant at the time, to create the organic Happy Skincare range, a business that has swiftly built a strong Hunter and national clientele.
‘‘He came up with a belly balm,’’ says Phoebe, keeping a watchful eye on their two-year-old son, Corbin, ‘‘which we eventually turned into an anti-ageing facial cream’’.
It’s been a steep learning curve for the Adamstown couple, who research organic ingredients and mix and test potential products in their home kitchen before sending them to a cosmetic chemist to formally develop.
‘‘We looked into what was on the market and we noticed there is growing popularity in home-grown organic extractions that we have in our own backyard,’’ says Aaron.
The basic philosophy of Happy Skincare, says Phoebe, is that if you feed your skin as well as you feed your body nutritionally, you will reap the benefits.
‘‘Having essential fatty acids and vitamins is just as good as synthetic ingredients because you are treating your skin nutritionally rather than using cosmetic options, like fillers and the like,’’ she says.
‘‘We’re not a pretentious brand; we’re into honesty and simplicity and wanting people to feel good about using our product and happy about themselves, because let’s face it, problem skin can make you feel pretty bad.’’
The company’s second product, TLC Intensive Repair Oil, was developed for a client who had dry skin after undergoing extensive chemotherapy, and is now recommended by many breast cancer support groups in the region.
The Happy Skincare range has now grown to include a facial range with local stockists including Adamstown’s Goodness Me Organics.
The Breckells say what separates them from their rivals is five-star personalised customer service and a full satisfaction guarantee.
‘‘We help customers with questions relating to their skin; we provide more than just skincare,’’ says Phoebe.
The company wants to expand online and overseas and planning is afoot for a suncare range.
The branding is quirky if not cheeky: the Woohoo Cream was developed for cyclists or athletes who suffer chafing.
‘‘I could never find a cream that was 100 per cent organic,’’ says Aaron, a keen cyclist, ‘‘and ours is 70 per cent organic.’’
All ingredients they use are natural, and certified organic ingredients are used where possible, though the couple have not had their products certified as organic, at least for now, with the expense too great for their small business to meet.
‘‘[Certification] would drive our prices up, and we prefer our customers to be able to access our range which is the most cost-effective among other organic ranges,’’ says Phoebe.
LEGAL FIRM HIRES LOCAL
ANOTHER Novocastrian is joining national law firm Slater & Gordon’s Bolton Street team, with Doug Williams responsible for personal injury services across the Hunter, Central Coast and Far North Coast.
His appointment follows the promotion of Newcastle-based Stuart Barnett to the position of NSW general manager.
Other senior appointments in the Newcastle office include Kim Healy as principal lawyer; Gemma Bunner as senior associate; and Caroline Grainger as associate lawyer.
CLOSE TO THE ACTION
SEAN Morgan and business partner Cathy Thomas have set up their new traffic engineering consultancy, Seca Solution, at The Business Centre in Newcastle.
Mr Morgan said being close to NSW Transport, Roads and Maritime Services and Newcastle Council, and within walking distance of many clients, helped them make their decision, so too the support on tap at the King Street business incubator.
NSW’S TOP ADVISER
ELLIOT Watson, an adviser at Newcastle Financial Planning at The Junction, has taken out the state title in the Value of Advice Awards run by dealer group Charter Financial Planning, which has almost 800 financial planners operating under its licence.
He was selected as a finalist for his role in helping a Newcastle woman, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and discharged from her police officer role in Sydney, save $70,000 and potentially half a million dollars.
HANDY PLACE TO SHOP
NORTHUMBERLAND Handyman Supplies – best known in the trade as NHS – has been named best building material centre by the Timber and Building Material Association. The family-owned business beat six finalists selected from more than 800 TABMA members nationwide.