Samantha Brett is not your typical beauty founder. While you might recognise the Sydney-based journalist from her extensive experience in television reporting or picked up one of her best-selling books, from The Game Changers to The Juggle (to name just two of nine), it has been her determination to fill a gap in the beauty market that has quickly morphed her most recent venture into, arguably, her most successful yet. One she managed to do so quietly as a side-hustle that has since become her full-time gig.
“I have a huge entrepreneurial spirit,” says Brett. “I wrote my first book when I was 20 years old and tried to sell it to a publisher—I eventually got a publishing deal on a different book!—I was always working on my own ideas for television shows, books or products. It’s always been a huge passion of mine to see if I can create something from scratch.”
Brett has certainly succeeded, launching Naked Sundays earlier this year—a skin-loving, high performance, multi-purpose, hands-free SPF, which is infused with hydrating and collagen-boosting antioxidants.
It was admittedly Brett’s personal experiences, spending her days reporting out in the sun, that the idea for Naked Sundays first began to bubble.
Seeing that gap quickly became Brett’s “aha Oprah moment”, creating Australia’s very first over-your-makeup SPF 50+.
“I thought, ‘why hasn’t this been done?’ And I started setting out trying to create something and quickly realised why it hadn’t been done,” she admits of the daunting process. “Most chemists and formulators told me it was pretty much impossible. But as I continued to explore it, and we did about 5 billion different samples and formulations, finally we arrived at something and I thought, ‘this is it!!’ I posted about it on our official Instagram account a month before it was due to be released and the response was so overwhelming that we ended up launching two weeks early.”
Perhaps most interesting about Naked Sundays’ dizzying success, is that Brett decided to take her name out of the equation, launching her brand without herself attached, as she says, letting the products “speak for themselves.”
While the brand certainly made its mark—in its own right—this year, Brett decided it was time to focus solely on the business she had created, deciding to step away from her role at Channel Seven.
“It got to a point where I wanted to be able to give it my full attention, and I couldn’t be a news reporter covering breaking news stories about murders, floods, bushfires and COVID, and be a CEO of such a fast-growing brand at night,” she explains. “As much as I say it can be done, there just wasn’t time to do everything.”
You would have already come across the revolutionary product on social media, with its signature lilac and rainbow packaging having reached cult status—and rightly so. While sunscreen typically used to be a product many loathed putting on their skin, from the white cast it left behind to heavy and thick creams causing irritation and breakouts, the tide has been swiftly changing, with SPF brands such as Naked Sundays putting a focus on products that work with and under makeup, as well as revolutionary formulas that can be applied easily throughout the day.
“It’s been a complete surprise and a very humbling experience,” Brett says of the brand’s quick success. “To create an SPF is not like creating a normal brand or beauty product. It comes with regulations, years of stringent testing, different regulatory rules for every single country, and it all comes down to the efficacy of the product. So for me, the main thing we’re focused on is getting as many people who hated wearing sunscreen in the past, to start loving wearing sunscreen and having a product that is high performing and good for your skin. The fact that it’s achieved cult status is just a bonus for us and we are so grateful.”
Naked Sundays are also changing the narrative around wearing daily SPF, an area Brett has been happy to be a disruptor, encouraging a younger generation that the step is non-negotiable.
Speaking to how Brett hopes the conversation continues around sun safety, she says Naked Sundays’ ethos is simple: “By making sunscreen that is simple and actually enjoyable to put on, as well as multi-tasking and good for your skin. And so cute on your shelfie! Who doesn’t like a lilac, rainbow bottle sitting on their skincare shelf?”
As for the inspiration behind Naked Sundays’ name? Brett says: “Sunscreen is all about protecting your natural, naked skin. And Sunday is my favourite day, which is all about self-love, doing something you love and taking care of your skin. So I wanted the brand to reflect those two ethos; embracing natural, naked skin and enjoying every day like it’s a Sunday.”
Reflecting on the journey so far, Brett adds that seeing her business grow, and particularly the people that have become a part of her team, has been particularly encouraging since embarking to create what she has.
“Being able to hire people that I genuinely see a huge amount of talent in but who may not have been able to get their foot in the door for some reason or another has been really rewarding,” she says. “And then seeing them grow within the company.”
Taking a look back onto the hardships—which, many founders will tell you there are plenty when launching any product—Brett jokes “Where do I begin, adding, “keeping up with demand, constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to make people love SPF. And trying to switch off at night!!”
As for the advice Brett would give other women with game-changing ideas, she’s actually far ahead of the game—having released her best-selling book The Game Changers back in 2017. The book spoke to some of the world’s most successful women, including Arianna Huffington, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meghan Markle and Elle Macpherson, giving insight into their own rises to success.
Looking toward what the future holds for herself and the brand, Brett says it’s about “enjoying the ride.”
“So many things and yet also trying to take each day as it comes and to enjoy the ride. It’s just a blessing to be able to do what I do right now, I want to try and savour these moments."
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This article was brought to you by Her Black Book for Naked Sundays.