#MOTHERMUSE: Saya McDermott

Introducing our next #MOTHERMUSE series. A collection of interviews with inspiring female founders of successful Australian businesses. The perfect series to allow you to gain insight into the ‘entrepreneur’ life and all the ups and downs that come with it. If you have ever wanted to start your own business - this series is made for you! 
Introducing our first guest Saya McDermott, the founder of Saya Skin. A natural, organic, sustainable & vegan skincare company.This interview is infused with so much great advice and knowledge. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tell us about Saya and the catalyst behind starting it? 

It all started over 20 years ago. Like a lot of teenagers I suffered from problem skin - I had bad breakouts, eczema and psoriasis. I tried so many products to help my skin problems but nothing worked, and it often just made my skin breakout even more. 

Like most people suffering with issues with their skin, I felt like I was getting nowhere, and it made me question the ingredients within the products I was using. That’s really what got me more interested in the benefits of natural ingredients - the more I researched, the more I realised there were better, and more natural options out there. 

At the time, what I was looking for wasn’t available on the market. So I found a local homeopath who taught me the basics of making skincare, which allowed me to create my own unique formulations. I was finally starting to see the results I always wanted from skincare. 

It was never my intention to create a skincare brand. I truly just loved creating and formulating for myself. 

What has been your biggest hurdle so far? 

Staying unique in an increasingly saturated market. When I started making skincare 20 years ago, being a natural or organic skincare brand was different at the time. Today, this category is so highly competitive, there are new brands popping up every month that share the same values as us - ensuring we remain different is something I’m constantly aware of. 

It’s great to see that natural skincare has gained so much popularity, and it just makes me push more into developing my brand further with my formulations, sustainability initiatives and social responsibility. This is what helps us stay unique. 

What have you learnt about running your own successful business, has anything surprised you or anything you wished you knew sooner? 

The first thing that comes to mind is not doing everything yourself. Starting a business from scratch is hard, and at the beginning as an entrepreneur - you have no choice but to do everything yourself. It was just Mum and I for many years until I slowly built the brand and was able to employ someone. This freed me up so much and allowed me to focus on other areas of the business. 

Thinking back, I feel like it was something I should have done a lot sooner, as it would have helped me to expand the brand faster. I would definitely recommend taking the time to identify where you excel in a business, and get people behind you who can bring their expertise in different areas.

What does a typical day of operations look like for you? 

My days in the office are all very different, I don’t usually have a set schedule. We have a Head Office in Noosa where I go in for meetings with my team. We’re working on lots of new things within the business, so right now my main area of focus is new product development, sustainability initiatives and formulations. I work directly with our chemist, manufacturers and suppliers every day and make sure everything is staying on track. 

 Do you have any must have rituals to help set your day up for success? 

I love staying active, so every morning I go to the gym at 5am. Exercising daily is key for me to help clear my mind, and start the day fresh. I also love doing my skincare routine - I keep it pretty simple in the morning with my cleanser, vitamin C serum, moisturiser and SPF. 

Can you recommend any good apps/books/resources etc that have massively helped you along the way? (either from a business POV or personal POV) 

I love listening to podcasts on the way to the gym every morning. The Green Beauty Conversation and The Glow Journal would have to be my favorites right now. I love listening to the stories of other entrepreneurs, where they were before their brands, and how they started. I find it very inspirational and they help me think about what I’m doing in my own brand, and where I want to take it. 

The best advice you have ever received? 

I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by very supportive people my whole life, and they’ve given me incredible advice over the years. They’ve been my mentors and helped me to persevere and be more resilient through some challenges I’ve faced along the way. 

One of the pieces of advice that’s stuck with me is to always embrace change. Especially being in an industry like beauty, this is key. You may have a successful product or business, but markets and consumer habits are constantly changing - you have to adapt to stay relevant. We are constantly looking for new or better ways of doing things, and this includes improving formulations with newly discovered ingredients, or improving sustainability efforts across the business.

Your favourite product from the Saya range? 

It’s hard to choose just one! I love them all. 

At the moment I am absolutely loving the Cleansing Balm and Glow Serum. I use them both daily. Keeping consistent with your skincare routine is key if you want to see lasting results! 

Since using the Glow Serum, I’ve noticed a massive improvement in my hyperpigmentation and overall appearance in my skin. It has really helped to even everything out. The Cleansing Balm is so effective in washing away impurities, makeup and sunscreen from the day. It leaves your skin feeling so hydrated and nourished too.

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