At My Lilli Pilli you will find safe and effective vegan, organic skincare products for people with sensitive skin, in particular pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Their cruelty-free products are made from pure Australian native seed oils and extracts filled with favourable bioactive compounds that are beneficial for the skin. We spoke to Charlie, biochemist, mum of three and founder of My Lilli Pilli, to learn more about how she got started.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
During my first pregnancy, I wanted, in some way, to create an emotional bond with my little baby inside me before birth. Everyone told me to start talking with my little baby bump, but that didn’t work for me. However, I quickly realized the power of a gentle belly bump massage, as it over time turned into a relaxing ritual – a wonderful way of introducing my baby to my touch. To improve the bonding experience, I started to develop my own organic skincare range specifically for the belly bump – first a Belly Oil with Kakadu Plum, then a calming Belly Lotion and a soap-free Belly Cleanser. As an added bonus, these products kept my belly nicely smooth and hydrated, and all the itchiness caused by the stretching disappeared.
Besides suffering from crazy morning sickness 24/7 (especially when I was expecting my twins), I also found myself dealing with a lot of different skin changes due to the pregnancy hormones. My skin suddenly turned very oily and pimples started appearing everywhere on my face, neck and back – YIKES, back to puberty at the age of 31! All in all, my skin became more irritated and extra sensitive, which is quite normal when you are pregnant. To combat these skin changes I started looking for safe skincare options suitable to use during pregnancy and for when I started breastfeeding – but I couldn’t find anything that I felt comfortable using. I really wanted to take extra care of my body, as I was ultimately responsible for the safety of the precious baby that was growing inside me too.
A big advantage is that I’m a biochemist by trade, and I have previously made the mathematical formulas needed to produce skincare – so why not create your own safe products, when you can’t find what you are longing for? When this realisation hit me – the business idea of My Lilli Pilli was born.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
As all beginnings it started out small. My Lilli Pilli started out being a very enjoyable side hustle, while I was working in the corporate world.
After receiving amazing feedback on the skincare products from friends, who then started to spread the word to their family and friends, it kind of triggered me to summon some courage for me to take My Lilli Pilli a step further. I wanted to make it more accessible, so more people could enjoy the products. So why not set up your own website? How hard can that be, right? After few months I managed to con my husband into helping me with this “little” website building project, and I got him to read a book about WordPress (Disclaimer – not very exciting book! You might fall asleep), and we slowly built the My Lilli Pilli website.
During this whole exciting process, I quickly realised that I needed to learn more about how to run a business in general, as I was quite green and had no clue. So, I did some few “Start Up” courses through the universities. Luckily, I managed to stumble upon some amazing mentors through these courses. Mentors, who steer me in the right direction and who can actually slap me out of my self-doubting tendencies.
I started looking for safe skincare options suitable to use during pregnancy and for when I started breastfeeding – but I couldn’t find anything that I felt comfortable using. I really wanted to take extra care of my body, as I was ultimately responsible for the safety of the precious baby that was growing inside me too.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Firstly, the main thing that keeps me passionate about running My Lilli Pilli, is all the great responses I get from the customers. Being able to help people with their various skin issues in a non-toxic way, makes it so worth it. Therefore, the biggest breakthrough is definitely being able to develop SAFE organic skincare products that can help alleviate common skin problems, especially during pregnancy.
Secondly, I’m constantly trying hard to create innovative skincare products that are not on the market yet. For example I have made a soap-free Belly Cleanser, which is an amber-like gel that is activated by water and turns into a silky cleansing milk – how cool is that? This gentle cleansing product will, besides making the belly nicely hydrated, also turn your shower routine into a relaxing bonding session with your baby.