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Kirsty

Kirsty Gow-Gates On How A Failed Search For Baby SPF Led To Her Launching Lullaby Skincare

Kirsty Gow-Gates is the founder of Lullaby Skincare and mother to two boys (Archie, 9, and Jordi, 7). We spoke with Kirsty about how she got the idea for Lullaby and how, since it launched in 2017, it has enjoyed meteoric, global success.

Founder of Lullaby Skincare Kirsty Gow-Gates has entrepreneurship in her blood. “Both my parents had their own businesses while I was growing up,” she tells THE INARRA. “They worked hard and inspired us to do the same.”

Kirsty grew up in Mosman with two brothers, and their childhood was outdoorsy and active. “My childhood experiences have shaped me to be adventurous, to feel passionate about our environment and to cherish my family.”

Kirsty says she is also shaped by her incredibly philanthropic mother. “She owns an orphanage in Africa and adopted an African orphan when he was two years old,” she says. “Having empathy is what I feel makes the world go around.”

Empathy is something Kirsty hopes to instil in her boys as they grow up. “Raising brave, caring, strong, empathetic and inquisitive boys is so important to me,” she says. “Not only because I want them to carve out a beautiful life for themselves but so they can contribute to being positive leaders and to do their part in building a better, brighter world.

“Both my boys are passionate about climate change – they love the ocean, sea creatures, animals and the environment. I envision them in a world where their generation will be far more active in addressing serious global issues. 

“They have a deeper knowledge about cultural differences and respect for diversity than we were educated to have growing up. I am confident that their generation will be more passionate about equality and the environment.”

“My mission was to create a premium brand for babies, children and sensitive skin with high-quality ingredients that were free of any nasties – a beautiful range that I would fall in love with and a brand families could trust.”

When Kirsty was pregnant with her first son, she recalls finding it difficult to shop for baby skincare products that were “extremely gentle, safe, effective and looked and smelt beautiful.” This led Kirsty to look closer at the products on the shop shelves.

After researching that over 60% of what goes on a baby’s skin goes straight into their bloodstream, which then has to be absorbed by their little livers, I knew I wanted to use high-quality, natural ingredients that were stripped of harsh toxic ingredients on my own babies.

“It surprised me that so many international and national baby skincare products were packed with chemicals, synthetic fillers and low-quality ingredients. In fact, over 75% of them are still in contact with parabens, mineral oils and sulphates. 

“When I started researching the market, I also discovered that many skincare brands were marketing their products as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ even though the products only had a very small percentage of ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ in them.”

The discovery that there wasn’t a skincare brand out there safe enough for babies was solidified when Kirsty began looking for a gentle baby SPF50+ to use on her own face – “most of the sunscreens out there felt oily, gluggy, full of chemicals and caused breakouts” – and was surprised to find that there wasn’t a product in the baby category that was clean or effective.

It was this realisation that prompted Kirsty to begin developing Lullaby Skincare in 2014. In 2017, it was launched into the world.

“My mission was to create a premium brand for babies, children and sensitive skin with high-quality ingredients that were free of any nasties – a beautiful range that I would fall in love with and a brand families could trust.”

Lullaby is Australian-made using premium Australian plant-based ingredients. “The magic happened when I met Lullaby’s incredible Dermatologist and she recommended we use organic Aloe Vera as our base ingredient, as opposed to simply water like most skincare brands,” says Kirsty.

Lullaby
Lullaby

In 2022, Lullaby was selected to be one of just three baby skincare brands (and the only Australian brand) to be sold in the premium London department store Harrods, and the only SPF50+ for babies and children to be sold online and in-store.

Talking about the huge success, Kirsty says: “I felt it was confirmation that the business was going global and that all the hard work was paying off. What was amazing was that it was such an easy sell-in, which shocked me. I had been told brands work at it for decades to sell in Harrods, but Lullaby must have been exactly what they were looking for when it came to baby skincare. 

“This has also recently been the case for a major department store in China – they said they had been waiting for a beautiful premium, natural baby skincare brand to come along and did not hesitate to stock all our products and gift sets.”

What Kirsty is most proud of is that Lullaby has helped people, especially those who struggle with sensitive and eczema-prone skin. “I am proud that Lullaby has helped so many families with skin conditions due to the beautiful and effective ingredients we use and that it has given so much joy to families with little ones.

“The feedback I often receive is touching and it’s a great feeling to provide such quality products for people who enjoy using them in their daily lives.”

The great work Lullaby is doing didn’t go unnoticed by luxury brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley. “We were thrilled to have been invited to partner with them for their global sustainability launch event in October 2023,” says Kirsty.

“It was a huge compliment to have been informed by St James’ House in London that international VIP members for both prestigious brands were asked to recommend their ideal brands to partner with for the event and that Lullaby had been chosen.

“What was most exciting was the launch of their elegant new sustainable coffee table book at the event, which features a two-page article on Lullaby’s brand story.”

The massive success Lullaby has enjoyed is even more impressive considering Kirsty was building the business whilst raising her two boys.

Before becoming a mother, Kirsty owned her own PR agency for 12 years. “When I became a mother I wanted to focus less on events and late nights and more on my children and what would benefit them.

“I have always wanted to be a ‘present’ mother and naturally running a business requires time and energy,” she says. “When I feel guilty, I remind myself that my boys benefit from seeing their mother working hard and I also try to involve them as much as possible. I share with them my day-to-day activities so they feel part of the Lullaby journey.

“They both love feeling involved in the business and chatting about ingredients, they often create new little concoctions for me to launch in my range!”

Kirsty emphasises the importance of surrounding yourself with the right team when you run a business – people who are inspiring and positive. She doesn’t have a business partner but has lent on mentors and consultants to help with ideas, finances and targets.

“It’s so important to me to stay true to your own vision – to stay in your lane. I’ve learnt to stay focused on my dreams and goals, to have patience and to see the bigger picture.

“No one is going to do it for you. If you really want a great business, I’ve learnt you have to be prepared to work harder than you ever have to make it a reality.

“I feel that following my intuition has stopped me from falling into the trap of self-doubt when it comes to being a mother or at work. When we slow down and listen to ourselves, we really do have the answers.”

Slowing down and enjoying the smaller moments is key to Kirsty’s success. “It is so important to remember to pause and appreciate the simple things around us! For me, it’s Vedic meditation, Pilates, a swim and walks at the beach and quiet moments with the music on and candles lit at home. 

“Our family dinner around the table helps me to unwind, and in the evenings before my boys’ bedtime, we each share our grateful prayer with each other and talk about something we enjoyed in our day.” 

Kirsty also gives credit to her supportive friendships and community. “Having a close tribe of women to openly share advice, war stories and laughs is so important in our demanding lives. We all need that healthy connection.”

When it comes to her personal style, Kirsty counts IRO, Isabel Marant, Marc Cain, Max Mara, Veronica Beard, Malene Birger, The Row and Zimmerman as her go-to brands for workwear.

For everyday dressing, she loves Venroy, Marc Cain (for their tanks and t-shirts), Ganni, Faithfull The Brand and Amber Maxwell (for their activewear).

“I love feminine clothes that are made beautifully,” she says. “I don’t want to wear items that are too structured or complicated.

“With summer around the corner, I will be wearing floaty dresses and skirts most days. I don’t think my style has really changed since becoming a mother, perhaps a little more relaxed and being a mum of boys I often add an extra bit of pink into my day.”

In her shopping cart right now are the Valentino Garavani Rockstud leather sandals, an Eres white Cassiope bandeau swimsuit, and Matteau shirred cotton midi dress

Looking ahead, Kirsty has a lot to be excited about. “I’m looking forward to more happy times with my boys and friends, travelling to interesting places for work and for fun, launching our new adult sunscreen and expanding Lullaby’s footprint globally!”

Words by Ellie Wiseman

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