The Startup Diaries: Notes From The Very Beginning - The Grace Tales

The Startup Diaries: Notes From The Very Beginning

How and why did I start a shampoo line?

The short answer is that I was standing in the supermarket and couldn’t find a bottle I wanted to purchase. I was looking for Australian ingredients with a great smell and cool packaging. I went home and Googled and still couldn’t find what I wanted. Hence, Summer Stories was born.


The longer version is that I was managing social media for a large corporate. I’d worked for magazines in Sydney in the early 2000s and then New York City advertising agencies in the 2010s. Here I was here in Brisbane writing Tweets about salary sacrifice.

For the first time in my career, I wasn’t surrounded by writers, designers or creatives. I sat at a desk between a financial planner and a trained accountant. And I liked them. We chatted about Netflix shows, Alan Partridge and celebrity deaths.

Outside our 9-5 the accountant-slash-digital-strategist Tim and I would brainstorm business ideas. We’d text each other links and articles and documents found around the web.

The thing about the shampoo idea was that it was very easy to see. You could visualise it straight away. You could see, in your mind’s eye, what it looked like (maximalist packaging), how it smelt (dew-laden Australian bushland first-thing-in-the-morning), how to sell it (direct to consumers and to retailers; over the web on Amazon and on shelves in brick-and-mortar spaces).

In a pique of fury and I-hate-this-place, I quit my job at the super fund (nothing to do with my lovely desk mates). I was free to find a boutique manufacturer, a creative team to design the packaging and talk to friends on the other side of the world about the business of personal care.

I’ve had business partnerships and all kinds of forays before: a podcast with a friend (who I still count as one of my closest buddies) and there’s a mobile app I made on my own and a newsletter I send every second Wednesday night (subscribe here!). But this time around the venture feels different. It’s with someone with an opposite set of skills to me. Someone who knows how to register a business name, set up Quikbooks and buy a domain URL in a lunch break.

This week our designers came back to us with a mood board and we loved four out of five pages. Our manufacturer is due to supply us with a list of ingredients (the brief: all-natural, all Australian). From supermarket aisle what-ifs to pavement-wandering brainstorms: the baby steps of our biz are happening.

Words: Felicity Loughrey | Go to Summer Stories