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Women in Business - Chatting with Alysha and Shanah, owners of Peggy Sue Soaps

by Hannah Schmith |

At Girl and the Sun, we are constantly inspired by the women in our community who are changing the game and chasing their dreams. In this series, get to know some of the amazing women behind our favourite local businesses as they share their stories to success!


This week, we're getting to know Alysha Hack and Shanah Baxter, co-owners of Peggy Sue Soaps. Peggy Sue offers an amazing range of organic, ethical and sustainable skincare that is made right here in Australia! 

 

For anyone who may not already know, could you share with us a little about Peggy Sue?  

The Peggy Sue journey began in October 2016 when I had the idea of making soaps for some Christmas presents. Growing up with a Mum in the skincare industry, I was armed with a knowledge on how to create the products and the best ingredients to use. The soaps I made were palm oil free, fun and pretty. I posted a picture of them online and people started messaging me to say they were keen to buy some for their Christmas shopping. I had a 6-month old daughter at the time whose name is Peggy. I made a quick Instagram page ‘Peggy Sue Soaps’ and in the lead up to Christmas 2016 I sold over 1,000 soaps through Instagram – I didn’t even have a website at the time! I was completely shocked by the popularity of the soaps and what started as little hobby quickly exploded into something more.


At that stage, I had no real business plan or goal, I just knew that with the rise of environmental awareness I wanted to create a brand that was as eco-friendly as possible while steering away from the brown generic packaging that a lot of eco-friendly brands were using at the time. Like most women, I wanted to use products that were beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. I then joined forces with Alysha, one of my good friends and now co-owner of Peggy Sue. Together we worked incredibly hard to create a solid business plan and then a range of organic skincare products that are kind to our bodies and the world around us. Each and every product produced by Peggy Sue is carefully thought out and curated with love. Our range is kind on the planet, perfect for all skin types including sensitive, and is designed to not only nourish and care for skin but also help us all slow down, enjoy meaningful moments and focus on self-care. It was important to us to create products that helped Australians re-centre their minds and show themselves some love. 

The Peggy Sue product range seems to use some pretty unique ingredients. Tell us about some of them.

We love using flower and fruit extracts in our products because they are all just overflowing with antioxidants and hold so many benefits for the skin. One of our favourite concoctions is our Intensive Eye Cream which has both red wine and coffee bean extract blended throughout. Two of life’s greatest gifts in one eye cream! Good for the tastebuds and your skin! Coffee extract is famous for its brightening and tightening abilities, so it’s perfect to help reduce circles around the eye area as well as reducing puffiness and minimising fine lines and wrinkles. The red wine extract is a super unique skincare ingredient that also boasts a wealth of benefits. It helps boost the skins collagen production which is a protein that holds your skin cells together. It also keeps the skin around the eye area strong and healthy while boosting elastic fibres and aids in slowing down the ageing process.  

The Peggy Sue brand values are natural, sustainable and ethical. Tell us about what makes Peggy Sue sustainable?

Both Shanah and myself have an undeniable determined desire to make a positive difference to the world around us. We did not want to become another brand that provides single-use products that contribute to landfill. We know we are only a small business, however, we firmly believe we all have a role to play in protecting our environment and fighting the good fight against climate change. We want to help pave the way towards real solutions. Solutions that minimise our carbon footprint, that help address the consume-and-discard cycle and that educate and encourage Australians to make more sustainable and natural choices.

Sustainability to Peggy Sue means helping our customers feel beautiful and loved while preserving the beauty in the world around us. To do this, we are paving the way in sustainable self-care products. Our range is offered in printed glass packaging with product refills available. The glass bottles and jars mean they are able to be used again and then recycled at the end of life. Our printed glass means there is no need for printed stickers. Our refill options mean that our customers have the option to wash and reuse their packaging. When we reuse packaging, we not only divert waste from landfill but we also cut the energy and resources required to completely reproduce the same packaging form raw materials again. We believe these initiatives make Peggy Sue one of Australia’s leading skincare brands for sustainability.  

Peggy Sue is obviously more than just a beauty brand. While running a business, being a Mum and fighting the war on waste, how do you relax and wind down after a long day? 

I am a big believer that while nourishing our skin is super important and beneficial it is more important to me to have an opportunity to create meaningful moments of self-care. Us women often carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, caring so deeply for everyone around us, so I hope that our products can help others unwind and re-centre each day, while feeding their skin an abundance of love.

For me personally, I am a huge bath fan! I find having a warm bath creates a bit of a sanctuary for me. I add either a Brew Pocket or a few drops of our Bath & Body Oil to give my skin some nourishment while I soak. Once I emerge in a complete state of relaxation, I go all out on my skincare routine before getting dressed! Sometimes my husband will worry that the neighbours will see me as I float around the house naked going about my skincare regime, but there is something so natural and earthly about completing the regime in my most natural form!

Sometimes I start with our Pink Facial Exfoliant before applying our Health Boost Mask and leaving it on for 20 – 30 mins. Once I wash it off, I will use our Superfood Toning Mist over my face and allow it to soak in before using our Vitamin A Night Serum. This is followed by a few drops of our Nourishing Facial Oil and finished off with our Sunset Facial Cream and Intensive Eye Cream. And oh my, I am definitely in some kind of silky-smooth heaven at the end of it. That’s when it’s time to crack open a bottle of red wine and settle into the night with some Netflix. 

Why is self-care so important to you and integral to the brand?
 
We, like most people, have often struggled with the concept of ‘self-care’, as we know it can be perceived as narcissistic or can feel like a sugar-coated way of being selfish – especially when you have kids! For us, the whole concept of self-care and how it is about self-love and self-respect, as opposed to being about anything to do with vanity, was painfully realised when in 2019 I experienced every parent’s worst nightmare.

My husband and myself were completely over the moon when we fell pregnant with our second child. We attended our 20-week scan and excitedly found out we were having a little boy! Our first son, and Peggy’s first sibling, it was an absolute dream come true. But by the end of the scan, our dream come true turned into our biggest nightmare. We found out that our little boys heart hadn’t grown properly and that he had no chance of survival after birth. Our entire world was completely turned upside down.

I will never forget walking out of the scan that day. I got into the car and burst into tears. Little Peggy asked me “What’s wrong Mummy?”. I was shaking and I couldn’t speak. I never knew heartache like this existed. We decided we would still carry him to term. Alysha journeyed alongside me throughout the entire pregnancy. I gave birth to our sweet little boy, who we named Tobias – meaning God is good. We met him, and we loved him endlessly, and we said goodbye when he was just 10 days old. The very best 10 days of my life.

For both myself, and for Alysha who walked closely beside me throughout the tragedy, I noticed that the only few bearable moments where the weight of the world felt a tiny bit lighter was when I would take some time out each morning and night during my skincare ritual. Those 10-mintutes of self-care had nothing to do with vanity.
After experiencing a tragedy, like the one I did, we know and understand that a self-care routine can be such a beautiful moment where you can stop, breathe and re-centre yourself. Forming a regular skincare ritual, using natural skin loving products, is so beneficial not only to your skin, but your mind and overall wellbeing too. Peggy Sue is run by women, for women. We want to be here through the highs and the lows of life with you.

Can you reveal any upcoming plans or projects for Peggy Sue?

We want to continue to pave the way in sustainable and refillable skincare while letting Australian’s know that self-care is so much more than the narcissistic connotations it comes with. We want Australian’s to focus on and prioritise self-care while showing compassion and care for the world around them. Anyone who subscribes to this philosophy is a part of our Peggy Sue Crew and we welcome and embrace them with open arms. We want as many people as possible to enjoy regular moments of pure self-care bliss while caring for the Earth on which they stand.

We recently opened our first flagship store in Sydney and would love to open more stores and spread the Peggy Sue philosophy on a grass roots level across Australia. We would love to explore store opportunities in all major cities and build a Peggy Sue Crew that works alongside us to treat themselves and the world around them with love, kindness and respect. If Peggy Sue can become a way for all our beautiful customers to connect to themselves and the world around them in a meaningful way, then we feel our hard work is rewarded.

 

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