Lauren Gores-Ireland isn’t afraid of thinking big. It’s exactly how she and her friend-turned-business partner Marianna Hewitt created Summer Fridays, turning their idea for a hydrating face mask into one of the world’s most beloved beauty brands.
The pair, who met in L.A. more than a decade ago, dreamt up the product that they so desperately needed—something that was ultra nourishing but still versatile enough to use on the go. Ireland was a new mum, and both women were frequent travellers. They needed a skin care product for women who didn’t have time for 10-step routines.
That product—the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask—is now bought once every two minutes.
Since its launch in 2018, Summer Fridays has evolved to include face oils, serums, cleansers, sunscreens and tinted moisturisers, and is stocked in more than nine international retailers, including Mecca in Australia. Ireland and Hewitt haven’t made sales figures public, but it was reported the brand turned over US $4.8 million (AU $6.8 million) in 2020.
How Two Friends Turned An Idea Into A Multi-Million Dollar Skincare Brand
A lot of people come up with business ideas but not everyone turns their idea into a successful business. But for Ireland, 35-years-old and Hewitt, 36-years-old, there was no alternative.
“Even from day one, we always did operate formally like a business,” Ireland explains. “I think we always have this motto of think and operate big before you’re big.”
And while for many of us, adopting this mindset might sound like a fast track to the land of imposter syndrome, Ireland assures us that a lot of the pair’s confidence does come from their careful planning and preparation.
“It happened very slowly,” Ireland explains, “It wasn’t necessarily a moment of an idea and then within a matter of months, we were launching a business. We did have quite a long time to make sure that this could be something that we felt very confident in.”
And as for the rest of their enviable confidence? According to Ireland, that’s born out of the beauty of not knowing whether things will work out but trusting that they will.
“Had we known everything that it takes to create a business and start a business before we had started it? I don’t know that we would have necessarily had the courage to do it,” Ireland says, “I think there’s a magic to not knowing too much and I think that gave us the confidence to just begin.”
It’s hard to imagine that someone so confident would also have periods of doubt but Ireland points out that she had to prove herself, too.
“In the beginning, it was an influencer founded skincare brand and that was sort of the story.” (Between the two of them, they have almost 1.5 million Instagram followers, while Summer Fridays account has 591,000.) “And now, five years later, it really does feel like the brand has grown up and we’ve proven ourselves that we’re here to stay.”
And this influencer-turned-business-woman’s secret for overcoming imposter syndrome? Remembering that no one else knows exactly what they’re doing either.
“I think that the longer we have been in the business, we’ve actually sort of learned that even the most experienced people don’t always know what they’re doing,” Ireland says, “there is usually not one right answer or one wrong answer. It’s having the ability to evolve.”
When it comes to building a business, Ireland firmly believes that it’s just as important to know what you’re good at as it is to know what you’re not. For the pair, this means working with labs, chemists and even bringing on board a CEO and president.
“We never felt like we had to hang onto a certain title,” Ireland explains, “we didn’t have business backgrounds. We didn’t have business degrees and we’re not chemists but we brought in who we felt were the best teammates and talent to help in areas that we didn’t know.”
For Ireland, confidence really comes down to trusting yourself.
“In hindsight, I don’t know if a hydrating face mask would have been on paper the most exciting product yet we felt so strongly intuitively that this was the right product to launch with,” Ireland says.
And if Ireland’s past intuition has been anything to go by, we’re certainly excited to see what comes next.
Summer Fridays’ Top-Selling Products
Summer Fridays Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream, $63.00 at Mecca
Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint With Hyaluronic Acid + Squalane, $63.00 at MECCA
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, $39.00 at MECCA.