The Blaq Group was founded by Ryan in mid-2018 after the success of his beauty brand Generation Clay, and he has since been on a mission to provide the world with gender-neutral skincare that uses all-Australian active natural ingredients.
Following the viral success of his brands, Ryan has managed to take his business beyond Australian shores and into the U.S. and European beauty markets, which led to him being named as one of Australia’s most influential ecommerce entrepreneurs – all before the age of 30.
The success story of The Blaq Group is in large part due to Ryan’s analytical and data-driven approach, and in particular his ability to harness the marketing power of social media and micro-influencers.
Ryan’s highly-Instagrammable products, which use simple ingredients like activated charcoal, can now be found all over the world and and purchased from stores like Boots, The RealReal, and Fred Segal.
Read on for the full interview below, where we talk about Ryan’s entrepreneurial journey – from his beginnings as a model, to how he turned his personal passion into a full-scale business operating in Australia and overseas.
After studying entrepreneurship, and with a background as a model… did the idea of selling beauty products come naturally to you?
Self-care was a natural interest of mine. Working as a model and travelling the world for photoshoots and fashion shows, really taught me the lesson of looking after my well-being. My job at the time was to look after myself to its fullest in order to book the next client and work another brand. I took my interests, passion and what I thought truly cared about into a career. I haven’t looked back ever since.
What does the Blaq Group look like now, compared to when you founded the company?
I always knew that The Blaq Group was going to integrated and develop more brands under its belt. I have a strong passion in creating and learning about new formulations and how one ingredient can turn into results. We receive partnerships opportunities all the time, however, we are interested in those that really do align with our branding and philosophy. Any collaboration we do needs to symbolize unity and genuine form. I know we aren’t just going to stop, and we will continue to develop and grow as a business and most importantly team. We went from 3 staff operating in Sydney to now a team of 10 here in our Australian office and a team of 4 in New York city.
Why did you decide not to make it specific to men or women? Has that presented any challenges with marketing?
I wanted the products to be approachable for anyone, to be inclusive of both genders as we all face the same skin-concern in one way or another. Any approach we do always comes with a challenge, without hurdling over that challenge we won’t be able to see the end result. Those challenges lead us into knowing how to action a digital campaign and know who to specifically target, from designing our packaging to peak both interests. Skincare should have no gender labels or size-limit attached as we all have the skin concerns.
I’m sure now you have an established strategy and team dedicated to micro influencer marketing, but in the early days how did you get products out there and well-known? How long did it take for the brand to take off?
Without hustle you’re not going to get a result. My team and I strategise to ensure our products were seen to the point you couldn’t escape by swiping away. Instagram has definitely changed over the past year and so does our strategy. We liked our focus to be a mix of talents and most importantly consumer inclusion. After 4 months of a killer digital campaign roll out is when you are expected to see the ROI and results.
What’s been your experience of trying to grow your brand globally?
Pure intuition and clear focus. Don’t put your eggs into one basket and really be method with your approach. It’s definitely stimulated my approach on which country, state to focus my brands with.
What do you owe your success so far to?
Pure hustle and not giving up because one door said no.
Could you share your top piece of business advice for existing and budding entrepreneurs?
Be methodical and strategic with your approach. Understand what it is you’re creating and do your research. Explore avenues, everything is a learning curve and most importantly – always put your best food forward or the other doesn’t get to follow. Trust your instinct and intuition, it’s going to be your best friend on this journey!
What have you got planned for the future in terms of your business goals and vision?
Definitely create more brands and work with big giant brands on lucrative deals to create something within their company. The Blaq Group is forever evolving and I’m hoping to mass out brands and products globally!