Meet Michelle Wang, founder of Arithmos, the Melbourne-based hand-blended body care range crafted with fresh, natural plant-based oils.
Accountant turned beauty brand founder, Michelle Wang’s, journey to founding Arithmos began when her search to help her daughter’s skin condition turned up nothing but products with complicated labels and ingredient lists that didn’t resolve the issue.
Wang began researching the benefits of botanical oils, seeking an alternative way to relieve her daughter’s skin issue. During her research, the idea for creating effective, natural skincare powered by plant-based oils was born.
Read on as Wang shares how Arithmos’s hand-blended formulations using only the freshest ingredients are like nourishing food for the skin and the amazing response the beauty industry has had to the brand five short months since it launched.
Tell us about when you started your business and how the idea came to be what it is today?
“It all started with my daughter who had a skin condition which made her constantly scratch. I tried a lot of products with her, but nothing really worked. I also found the ingredients and labels were very complicated, so I decided to do something about it myself.
I started going to organic skincare workshops to learn how to make my own skincare products. I did a lot of research on botanical oils and that resulted in creating products that not only alleviated my daughter’s skin condition, but saw her skin return to a healthy, supple state.
I feel like body products can be a bit of an afterthought, there’s a lack of high-quality body care products in the market. So Arithmos was born from a desire to create simple natural body care with seasonal ingredients that are highly effective and powerful.”
Tell us more about this ethos and how it guides your brand and product development?
“As consumers, we have a lot of information on what exactly goes into our food, but not so much skincare. An important part of my philosophy is to empower consumers by being completely transparent about the ingredients in the bottle and their benefits.
Our formulations are hand blended and produced in micro batches to ensure people are getting the freshest products possible and not a bottle that’s been sitting on the shelf for ages.
I also believe that body care should be a self-care ritual. Beyond the benefits for your skin, a multi-purpose botanical oil blend helps refresh the mind, indulge the body and uplift the spirits with mood-enhancing scents.”
Can you talk about the ingredients you use and where you source them from?
“The base for all three body oils is jojoba oil, camellia seed oil and rosehip oil. I picked these three because they are very high in antioxidants and fatty acids, and they help nourish and retain moisture and fight signs of ageing. They also brighten and restore the skin’s natural radiance. The essential oils also provide mood-enhancing aromatherapy benefits in addition to the skin benefits.
I source organic ingredients as much as possible. I work with my suppliers to get only the freshest batch of ingredients that they get from the growers. Our goal is to get the maximum benefit from every ingredient.”
How are sustainable and ethical practices incorporated into your business?
“I have paid a huge amount of attention to detail in every aspect of my business. From sourcing ingredients, to designing the packaging, to the production method. Our products are all micro batched, which is unlike most other products in the market that are mass produced.
By producing in micro batches, we ensure that there’s no waste because but also ensure the customer is getting the freshest products possible. And in terms of the packaging, we only use recyclable and biodegradable materials for packaging, including the recyclable glass bottle. Our products are also cruelty-free – they’ve only been tested on my friends and family!”
What is the importance to you of being made in Australia? And why is it so unique in the beauty industry?
“Australia is known for its abundant resources and natural beauty. There’s a huge focus here in Australia on incorporating natural ingredients in our beauty and skincare products and regimens. And I think consumers in the rest of the world are coming to appreciate the benefits of this.
As consumers become more discerning about what’s in their products and the impact on their skin and health, they will continue to demand greater transparency regarding the ingredients - I think that Australia is definitely ahead of the game here.
It’s also important for products to be made in Australia as I want the products to reflect our Australian lifestyle and environment.”
What changes have you seen in the Australian beauty industry and the ‘A-beauty’ category in recent times?
“I think the focus on sustainability, transparency and education are things I have seen change. Brands are more transparent and talk more openly about their sustainability initiatives, the ingredients they use in their products and their associated benefits – especially via social media.
I’ve also seen more brands showcasing and celebrating our own Australian botanical resources like extracts or oils that are being used in their products.”
What excites you about the potential and future of Australian-made beauty and skincare products?
“The greater use of high-quality and effective natural ingredients! I think we’ve done a pretty good job on this so far and consumers have become more educated about the ingredients and their impact on the environment. I can see beauty brands from the rest of world are heading in this direction.”
What is the one product you always recommend from your range?
“Well, it’s hard to just recommend one product from the range as each product can help with your mood depending on what you need. For example, in Uplift the main ingredient is Jasmine and Neroli which gives you that ‘perk-me-up’ feeling which is great in the morning. Whereas the Soothe and De-Stress blends are best used at the end of the day after a shower to unwind after a hectic day.”
What is your personal beauty regimen? Including face, body, hair, beauty treatments and anything else.
“I do clay masks twice-a-day to clear my skin and pores. I use cleansers both morning and night. I also use a toner and face cream and incorporate rosehip seed oil and sea buckthorn oil because they're great for anti-ageing. And of course, a body oil is a must after showering every day!”
What has been the most rewarding part of being a business owner? And what has been the most challenging?
“The most exciting part is to see your products come to life after two years in the making. I have also received so much recognition in the media, positive feedback from customers, and also endorsement from renowned beauty editors like Eleanor Pendleton. It’s been amazing for a brand that only launched five months ago!
Beauty and skincare are a very competitive industries, so the challenging part is just being patient and building up product awareness.”
What are your qualifications and what had you been doing in your career beforehand?
“I’m a cosmetic chemist now and studying to become a clinical aromatherapist. It’s very important for me that the products are formulated and produced by the person behind the brand – so that means having the knowledge to do this.
Prior to this I was an accountant in the banking industry for the past two decades - yes, it’s true! But, it’s great to now be doing something that I’m absolutely passionate about. It’s hard work, but I’m really enjoying it.”
Founder interview with Daniel Frank from The Day Ahead