Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland on Summer Fridays and Their Crazy Year

11.02.19

It’s no small feat to be called a “cult beauty label” a mere 12 months after launching, but that’s exactly what Summer Fridays have become.

Co-CEOs and founders, Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland, say they still can’t believe the success they’ve had since launching in March 2018 with a single product, the Jet Lag Mask. As beauty influencers and bloggers, the duo had tried almost every product on the market and yet still found themselves searching for something with good-for-you ingredients (cruelty-free, paraben-free and vegan) that gave their skin an immediate glow. With a team of industry experts they dreamed up their first product and the rest is history.

Now, off the back of the Overtime Mask launching in Mecca stores throughout Australia and New Zealand, the businesswomen and best friends took time out of their busy schedules to share with me their business advice, beauty favourites and the ingredients that set them apart.


Hi Marianna and Lauren! As co-founders of Summer Fridays, you must have been blown away by the incredible response you received when you launched the Jet Lag Mask in March 2018. What was the thinking behind launching with just one product rather than a range of products? Did you consult other beauty businesswomen for advice?

M:        Lauren and I are so overwhelmed as bloggers and influencers because we get and receive so many products, so we can only imagine that consumers are extremely overwhelmed when hearing about a new brand or a new product. When we launched Summer Fridays, we were introducing people to the brand and one product, so we really wanted to concentrate everything towards one launch.

We didn’t consult other people for advice but we definitely reached out to our network of friends and just asked if they had anything to share with us. Everyone was so giving and sharing with information, especially our friend Jen Atkin who has been so amazing to us as she had a similar experience when launching OUAI just a year before us!

L:         Marianna and I felt really sure of our decision to launch with a single product from the start. We spent nearly two years formulating our Jet Lag Mask, and it was created to be used in a number of different ways (as a traditional mask, an overnight treatment, and as a moisturiser/primer). We felt confident our community could easily add our mask to their skincare routine without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, launching with a single product really gives people time to get to know the brand. In today’s digital world, it actually takes most people a lot longer to remember a new brand because of how much information they see on an average day. We wanted to give people enough time to integrate our first product into their skincare routine before introducing a second product.

 

As an indie brand, a lot of the workload for Summer Fridays falls on the two of you, and yet you’re both still running successful blogs, “Life With Me” and “You + Lu”, and creating influencer content! With the brand continuing to explode globally, have you had to pass up on influencer opportunities and travel? How do you decide what to say yes to?

M:        I feel like I have had to step back a little bit as far as influencer opportunities go, just because they involve a lot of time and travel and I’m not able to do it all. Now I’m more selective about the brands I love and the opportunities that I say yes to, because I still genuinely love to share other brands when I love a product, including those that stock products outside of the Summer Fridays offering.

L:        Life has certainly gotten a lot busier!! But honestly, we LOVE the chaos of it all! Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the workload, I remember the days when Marianna and I dreamed of our brand coming to life. We are really grateful. Personally, on the blogging side, I commit to fewer projects now because we have so much work and travel on the Summer Fridays end of things. I am also a mum to a one-year-old boy who needs me right now, so I have to plan and prioritise carefully. The best part about social media is that I can still connect with my community every day and have one-on-one conversations with them about motherhood, wellness, life… the list goes on. So, even though I may be blogging less in the traditional sense, I feel that my relationship with my online family is stronger!

 

With educated consumers demanding greater transparency and higher quality ingredients from beauty products, where do you see the beauty industry moving to in 2019?

L:        We’ve made high-quality ingredients part of our brand from day one. We work really closely with our lab which specialises in clean skincare. I was pregnant at the time we were formulating our products, so we adhered to a strict “no list” on ingredients we wanted to leave out of our products.

Moving into this year, that will remain a top priority for us. Plus, we answer every direct message that comes through, so our community feels very connected to us and to the products we offer. I no longer think people buy a product *just* for the product itself — they want to feel connected to the brand, to its story, and to its founders in a way that’s deeper than years before.

M:        I think in 2019 people really love feeling connected to a brand. It’s no longer just talking to a brand, it’s more about having a relationship with them, it’s a two-way conversation and feels like a personal connection and not just a company who is trying to sell you things.

 

Summer Fridays has just launched its second product, the Overtime Mask, in Mecca stores throughout New Zealand and Australia! Who is the perfect candidate for the Overtime Mask and how does it fit within our beauty routines?

M:         Anyone who is looking to fix dull, congested or dry skin. Overtime is an exfoliating face mask but is also softening and brightening. In your beauty routine/night time routine you can remove make up with a cleanser and exfoliate with overtime mask. If you have sensitive skin you can apply the mask and then leave it for 10 minutes and then rinse off, and if you don’t have sensitive skin you can manually exfoliate before rinsing it off. We like to follow it up with Jet Lag mask but you can follow up with any of your favourite moisturisers.

L:         My favourite way to use our masks together is before bedtime — I first exfoliate with our Overtime Mask, which takes off dead skin cells and helps bring dull skin back to life! I follow up with a thick layer of our Jet Lag Mask, so it can really soak into my pores overnight. I wake up with hydrated skin, and it looks like I hit the reset button! Our Overtime Mask is meant to be used 2-3 times a week, while Jet Lag can be used every day (even twice a day, when used as a moisturiser).

Now for a few rapid fire questions:

It’s summer in New Zealand right now, what are each of your favourite face sunscreens?

M: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen

L: Same! Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen

 

In-flight beauty essentials?

M: Jet Lag Mask, lip balm, Slip Silk eye mask

L: Face wipes, Jet Lag Mask, Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

  

Beauty treatment you see the best results from?

M: Washing my face every night before bed

L: Incorporating face oils into my everyday routine

 

Favourite way to use the Jet Lag Mask?

M: As an under-eye mask or 10-minute mask

L: As an overnight mask!

  

Favourite ingredient in the Overtime Mask?

M: Apricot seed powder (a natural, mild exfoliant that isn’t abrasive like synthetic exfoliants).

L: Oat kernel protein (it has anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties that leave your skin feeling so soft). 


All images provided by Summer Fridays