Originally launched in Melbourne in 1991, Red Earth has since become a global name, and it's all thanks to CEO Tingting Zhong. A fan of the beauty brand since she was a child, Zhong jumped at the opportunity to become the official owner and CEO.
With roots firmly planted in Australian customs, Red Earth prides itself on natural ingredients, while branching out to encompass creativity and innovation within its product offerings.
We spoke with Zhong about the brand's evolution and ever-changing inspiration. Read on for the full interview.
what was your first job?
My first part-time job was actually selling apples on the streets in Shanghai. My first "real" job was working for an investment bank.
tell me about the brand. what inspired you to launch red earth?
It was started in Melbourne almost thirty years ago. I actually bought my first lipstick at Red Earth back in China as a kid.
As a young girl growing up in Shanghai, Australia possessed an exotic and romantic allure with its open skies and endless beaches. At that time, I couldn't imagine that I would one day have the opportunity to become the owner and CEO of Red Earth.
After 15 years in the world of finance, and having two daughters, I yearned for something more; to pursue the life she always dreamed of; genuine, simple, and filled with passion. So, when the opportunity to buy the brand came up, I took a leap of faith and went for it.
your brand was conceived in melbourne. how has australian culture influenced the brand's philosophy when it comes to ingredients and messaging?
Natural, free-spirited, and open-minded! At Red Earth, we seek to collide the exotic and natural Australian spirit with the modern and practical needs of an urban woman. This is why you will find many ingredients native to, and exclusively found in, Australia, such as the Kakadu Plum found in our Brightening Series and the Tasmanian Sea Kelp found in our Hydrating Series.
can you speak a bit about the importance of ethical practices and natural ingredients within the beauty industry?
At Red Earth, natural ingredients are the core of our formulas. There are so many amazing, active ingredients that the earth has to offer, that promote skin health much more than synthetic alternatives.
Our Brightening Series is made using Kakadu Plum from Australia, which is one of the world's richest natural sources of Vitamin C. I think the industry is changing and companies are starting to put a greater emphasis on using natural ingredients in their products. Consumers are more educated and are no longer fooled by icky ingredients hiding in their skincare cabinet.
As CEO, I try to make ethical choices whenever possible. For example, all of our product boxes are made out of recycled materials. This cost us more, but there is so much waste created from packaging, and if there is an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint, I think it's worth the investment.
red earth has been around since 1991. how has the brand evolved over the years?
We've become a lot more global. We're always looking for the best suppliers to work with, and we produce our products all over the world.
For example, our lipstick is formulated in Italy, much of our skincare is made in Australia, and we have a new line launching this summer that is made in Japan.
Our team continues to expand globally as well! I live in Hong Kong, but travel weekly to our Head Office in Shanghai. We also have team members from Korea, Canada, the U.S., and more.
what makes red earth different from other skincare brands?
All of our products are designed under two principles:
1. Functional formulas, using non-toxic ingredients that blend nature and science to create products which serve a purpose and deliver results.
2. Easy to use (finger application preferred) and easy to access products that are simple to apply, fun to use, and easy on your wallet.
red earth features products such as your on-the-go lipstick matches. where do you find your inspiration?
I found inspiration for the Lipstick Matches from a vintage picture on Pinterest. Someone handmade a lipstick matchbox in the 50s, and I found it very interesting.
what's next for red earth?
We're always working on new things! A lot of great new collections and partnerships in the works. You'll have to wait and see...