Back in 2010, Joanna French was on a fruitless quest for the perfect lipstick.
“I always found myself looking for certain colours, saying, ‘This weekend I’m wearing that white dress, so I really want a really dark plum’ or, ‘I need a matte orange’,” French, a cosmetic marketing exec at the time, recalls.
“There wasn’t anything in the market that was cheap and chic, that was also good quality and had nice packaging.”
Rather than venting her frustrations on Facebook, French packed up her life in Sydney, moved home to Melbourne, and began working to fill that market gap.
“I was working three jobs at one stage. I just lived with my parents and saved every dollar for two years. It was so unglamorous,” the entrepreneur says.
“I’m sure people thought I was crazy, but no one really said it to my face.”
Jump forward six years, it’s abundantly clear the now-29-year-old was right on the money. Her company Shanghai Suzy, which launched in 2013, has now sold more than 200,000 lipsticks and is available in more than 600 stores nation-wide.