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Carlia Ashton

CITY: Torquay, VIC

Business: ONNE

What? All Natural Skincare 


How did the idea for your business first come about?
I have always had very temperamental skin that changes with different environmental factors such as; weather changes, not enough sun, too much air conditioning or heating etc. Even though I was lucky enough never to have acne, my skin was never flawless and I would have a serious problem when using products with harsh synthetic chemicals. When using products with synthetics my skin would break out in a rash, go oily, dry, then flake off, taking a few weeks to recover. I finally decided to use more natural products about 7 years ago.

A year later and a little divine intervention, I met an incredible woman who was 65 at the time. She had the most amazing thick long hair, when I questioned her on how she maintained it she told me she had stopped using synthetic chemical based shampoo 30 years earlier and her hair had never been healthier. It was this conversation that ignited my insatiable urge to read the back of every product I used and google all of the ingredients.

Looking more into the industry as a whole, I found that many of these synthetic chemicals used in cosmetics go untested for long-term effects and that some chemicals still used in cosmetics have been linked to different diseases and are known carcinogens.

When did you have a ‘f*ck-it moment’ and decide you were going to go all-in and start your business?
It was definitely a build-up of things. Nothing I was using was working, I found some products I had purchased weren’t all natural as they portrayed, meaning they didn’t list the ingredients fully online. And I was struggling to find a brand that had one total solution that worked for me. I had been playing around with shampoo bars and scrubs and finally I decided that I wasn’t comfortable using anyone else’s products and I wanted to develop an open and honest brand that had clean, beautiful, effective ingredients and had a full solution. 

What were some major challenges you had when starting your business? And how did you overcome them?
There has definitely been a lot of challenges in the making of ONNE, from formulating fails, packaging mishaps, receiving over 1000 pieces of soiled goods, the list goes on. However, I am the type of person that thrives on challenges and thinks strategically about how they need to be fixed in a way that was better than first planned. To constantly overcome challenges you need to have faith in yourself, your abilities, surround yourself with people who also believe in you and most importantly talk and ask. If there is something I don’t know or a roadblock I am facing, I will always ask friends with businesses what they would do or how they have overcome similar problems. 

What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
This is a hard question, as I try and value the small moments as much as the bigger ones. I feel like I have a new one every week, whether it be someone emailing about how the range has changed their life or if my US team emails letting me know they have presented to a huge store. Right now we do have some super cool things happening, like exhibiting at Cosmoprof North America, which makes me think “wow, we are actually doing this”.


Starting a business can be gruelling - what keeps you motivated, and keeps you going?
There is definitely some gruelling times, but having faith in the products I have created and my ideas for the brand in the long term is what keeps me motivated. 

How do you create a work-life balance?
I probably should have more of a ‘balance’ but I believe if you love what you do and it never feels like work. I really do love my work and so I find myself working on it constantly. 

Personal/Favourite Quote

I have a few for different elements in my life:

‘If you don’t ask you don’t get’ 

‘Most people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure’

‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away'