Sarah Kirk would have been devastated if someone else had taken over the business her mum Jude Steele had begun in her backyard studio. It was 2015 when she went to Jude, who was then still making her natural and gently magnificent olive-based product on kitchen stoves and asked her if she could take over the business side of Olieve & Olie. Failure was not an option for this Melbourne University commerce degree graduate mum of two who is a great believer of the business working for “us, not us for the business”.
“When I first asked Mum she said no way! We are not going to get along.” We chuckle. “But it was about a week later when she came back to me and said, ‘When can you start?’ That was it. Mum is the product person and I handle the business and marketing side. It’s been working out well. We do get along mostly. Dad (Andy) and my brother Hal are on board too. We are a real family business.”
Olieve & Olie is a gorgeous handmade natural and chemical-free skincare product made right here on the Peninsula. Sarah continues. “I’ve believed in the product from the beginning, so started looking for a factory straight away. Mum is so clever. First, we used multiple saucepans, then went on to 80-litre kettles and will soon be using 500-litre kettles.” The giant shiny structures beam though the windows into the office where we are having a cup of tea. “It’s grown so quickly. We expanded to a second factory in March 2018 and are now stocking stores right across Australia and exporting to the US. We are set to export to China sometime this year. We had 40 stockists in 2015 and now have 250.”
Apart from the belief in their premium product, hard work plays a big part of Olieve & Olie’s success story. You don’t double each year for three years straight by sitting around and watching the olive trees grow or giving up just because you’ve made a mistake. Sarah plans two to three years ahead, sets targets and is a master of social media marketing, which has played a huge role in expanding Olieve & Olie’s committed customer base.
“I feel like I’ve blinked and the kids have grown up. My partner, Steve, is also involved in the business. You’ve got to be able to problem solve and not get overwhelmed. Things always go wrong; something breaks. That’s part of it.”
Drop by Olieve & Olie in Rosebud to begin your journey to no-nasty love the skin you’re in care. It’s well worth the drive. Or go online to view the full range and choose to say yes to ecologically sound beauty.
OLIEVE & OLIE
A: 7/16-18 Henry Wilson Drive, Rosebud
T: 5982 0992