Anna Lahey took a massive leap into an untapped beauty segment in order to develop her range of marine collagen powders, Vida Glow, in Australia five years ago. Then in her mid twenties and with no relevant experience, it started as a side hustle that quickly turned into a booming business.
Vida Glow is now a leader in the growing “ingestible beauty” category, and well ahead of the growing trend of collagen in Australia, which is believed to help nail, hair and skin health.
Still just 30, and now with two young children (including two sons under two), Lahey and her husband started wholesaling Vida Glow to health food stores within two years of launch, and the company went global when they won the love of Chinese consumers in 2017.
“It’s hard work, But when it’s your own business and you’re so passionate about it, you just have put in what it takes,” Lahey says.
But as well as hard work, a number of other factors have aided that success — including coming up with a brilliant idea for a product that wasn’t readily available in Australia.
It started with a holiday in Japan, where Lahey discovered marine supplements.
She’d been struggling with chronic hair loss, a problem that got so bad she says she’d have to, “Put the dogs out and pour acid down the shower drain” every couple of weeks.
In Japan she noticed the popularity of collagen and collagen-based supplements, noting how readily available they were and how frequently they were offered — in everything from soups in restaurants to waters being handed out in gyms.
She asked a pharmacist about the ingredient and learnt that it had been used by Japanese women for 300 years to aid skin, hair and nail health, along with other secondary benefits.
Lahey concedes that she took the comments with a “grain of salt”, but decided to take some home to trial it for herself. She noticed a reduction in hair loss within a few weeks and saw that her skin had improved. “I became a marine collagen addict, and that was the idea for the start.”
When Lahey realised she couldn’t easily purchase such products in Australia, she decided to bring the product to the market, using a work ethic she developed from her parents, who brought their family to Australia from Brazil in 1994.
Now innovating on an extended range of products, Lahey attributes the success she’s achieved to a number of factors: the product itself which she’s still heavily invested in and using every day, her team, hard work and asking for help.
“All of the Vida Glow products I believe in and am taking or using on a daily basis,” she says. “I am proud to be involved in every process at Vida Glow, from concept to production, product development, and customer service.”
She also says she regularly asks for help.
“For me as a mother the juggle is real, like ever working mother. I have to have help,” she says.
“You can’t do it on your own. I’m here [doing this interview], who would be looking after a six months old and a two year old? There are a lot of moving parts.”
Watch Sarah Harris’ interview with Anna Lahey below, as she shares why she started her business, along with how she juggles her children while experiencing rapid growth.
This content is published in partnership with The Carousel’s Game Changers Video and Podcast series.