Meet Leslie Barboza Leslie Barboza is a senior brand manager at American International Industries who…
For Luna Bronze’s founders, Rhiannon Hall and Maddy Balderson, the journey to creating a skin-loving sunless tanning brand began when they realized it didn’t yet exist. After Maddy was diagnosed with skin cancer, the duo searched endlessly to find the perfect self-tan to maintain their glow without harmful formulas full of chemicals. The friends soon realized that if they wanted a tan that ticked every box, they’d have to create it themselves — which is when Luna Bronze came into orbit. Learn more about Rhiannon and Maddy’s journey to starting their own business, their advice for those looking to get involved in the beauty industry and what beauty products they never leave home without!
- Our names are: Rhiannon Hall and Maddy Balderson
- My social handles are: @luna_bronze | @lunabronzeofficial
- Find my website at: www.lunabronzetanning.com
1. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start in the beauty industry?
Rhiannon: Maddy and I have been best friends for over 21 years. I have always worked in administration in the architecture and design industry and Maddy has had a very successful career working in accounting — a world away from the beauty industry. After Maddy’s cancer scare in 2015 we knew that we wanted to change the sunless tanning game for good. Luna Bronze was born as a result of us not being able to find a sunless tanning solution that not only emphasized the importance of skincare, but complemented our day-to-day beauty routine.
Maddy: Our journey here today was paved with purpose. After I was diagnosed with a skin cancer in 2015, we knew that our time spent under harmful UV rays was at an end. But as lovers of a natural bronze, we didn’t want it to come at the expense of a confidence-boosting tan. So, we searched high and low for the perfect sunless glow — without any luck. Every product we tried missed the mark. If it wasn’t full of chemicals, it had that synthetic faux tan smell. If it didn’t have the faux tan smell, the packaging was gaudy and remained hidden in the back of our bathroom cabinets. If we wanted a sunless tan that ticked all of the boxes, we knew we’d have to create it ourselves.
2. As the co-founder of Luna Bronze, what does a typical day in your life look like?
Rhiannon: Every single day is different. My schedule is all over the place as living and working in Australia means that I have to adapt to the time zones in the US, Canada and the UK. I might be up at 6:00 AM corresponding with our distribution centers overseas and then have some downtime from 9:00 AM where I always go for a run. Running is my non-negotiable daily activity where I clear my head and also when I get some of my best ideas. Our days are so different because Maddy’s strengths are my weakness and vice-versa. We really are each other’s ying and yang and make the perfect team because we each focus on different areas of the business. Each Friday we have a long meeting together (fueled by coffee) where we update one another on the parts of the business we are responsible for and then provide subjective feedback.
3. What sets Luna Bronze apart from other sunless tanning brands?
Maddy: We set out to create a natural looking sunless tan, so we’ve kept the color profile toned down in order to achieve that. We love hearing about our customers being asked by friends or family if they’d recently been on a holiday as their tan is so realistic! The fragrance is also an important aspect to our brand. We blended natural essential oils of Lemon Myrtle, Orange Blossom and Ylang Ylang for a fresh, vibrant and totally unique scent. Our customers love not having the tell-tale “fake tan” smell they are use to with other products.
Rhiannon: I love the fact that our customers do not look at Luna Bronze as another “fake tan” brand but as a skincare range that has the added benefits of tanning. A big difference between us and other products is the nourishing ingredients which assist to combat cellulite, improve the skin’s texture and work to restore hydration. We regularly receive feedback from our customers about how our products don’t dry their skin out like previous products they have used.B the perfect fit for our company. We have experienced so much and learned so much in such a short time.
Rhiannon: Work-life balance is a constant daily battle. Every day is different and every day we are faced with new challenges; some scary and some exciting but the number one reward is knowing that we are making a difference in the sunless tanning industry. If our story can inspire just one person each day to stop sun-baking or visiting tanning beds then we know our Tanning. Minus the Sun. journey is having a positive impact around the world.
5. What’s a piece of advice you would give to someone looking to break into the beauty industry?
Rhiannon: Do your research and create groundbreaking products that are unique to others in the same industry; there is no point creating a product that is already available. Make sure you test your products with a wide demographic and dig deep for the feedback, the good, the bad and the ugly. Also, make sure you are aware of the legal guidelines for each country you wish to distribute your products to. The laws in each country are different so it is to good to have a clear plan of where you would like to see your products and find out what is needed to sell them in those countries.
6. Okay we have to ask – what’s in your beauty bag?
Maddy: Our beauty routines are quite fuss-free as we like to keep it simple. My number one item I don’t go anywhere without my SPF 50+ from Clinque, my go-to sunscreen that I wear on my face each day. I also cannot live without fellow Australian brand Lanolips 101 Lip Ointment and any of their hand creams — they truly are the best.
Rhiannon: I am biased but I carry Luna Bronze Illume Face Mist with me at all times to give my skin a spritz when I need a pick me up. This comes in 100ml which is perfect for when my skin is dehydrated when I am travelling on long haul flights. I am also a HUGE fan of Lanolips hand creams. I have one on my desk and one in my handbag. My other beauty staple is Colorscience Sunforgettable Brush On 50+ Sunscreen — it is AH-MAZING!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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