High profile 1980s Brisbane newsreader Robin Lyons, with her husband, clinical naturopath David Lyons, has been revitalising the Brisbane skincare market for two and half decades with natural, no-nonsense skincare brand, Simplicite.
Since the company’s official launch in 1993, Simplicite Australian Natural Skin Care has strived to take a different approach to skincare, by emphasising skin vitality over all else. “That’s what anti-ageing, that silly buzzword, is all about: vital looking skin,” says Robin, her glowing skin a testament to the brand’s success. “When you look at someone, you don’t think, they’ve got lines when they smile. You think wow, they’ve got great looking skin.”
Robin says that while many products use harsh ingredients in the quest for a “quick fix”, lasting results come from quality natural ingredients over time. Simplicite is proudly vegan and cruelty free, a decision which Robin says is both ethical and practical. “Of course it’s about our empathy for animals, but also what is best for skin. Skin can’t properly absorb animal products, because the molecules are too large. Plants have such an affinity with skin, and when those plants are given to the skin in a bio-available form, that’s what’s going to give the best results.”
David and Robin make their plant extracts by hand, sourcing five of them from their own property adjacent to remnant Gondwana forest in the Lockyer Valley. “Those five extracts that come from our property grow at their own pace, and as nature intended in the ‘right’ soil type.”
It is this commitment to quality that has led the Lyons to seek natural materials not just from Queensland, but from all over the world. While it is a common belief that locally sourced ingredients are superior to imported goods, Robin says that in skincare, this is not necessarily the case. “Where a plant grows naturally, it’s going to be the strongest it can be. Lavender, for instance, should naturally grow above a thousand metres, so we source it from the French or Italian Alps. When a plant grows at that altitude, it has to struggle to live, and when it struggles, it becomes richer and better for the skin.”
The company has reached great heights during its 25 years, having expanded into international markets and developing a loyal consumer base here and overseas. But Robin says customer feedback is the best marker of the brand’s success. “The best milestones for us are just hearing stories of the improvements to people’s skin. But we have so many people coming to us and saying ‘you’ve helped my skin to become the best it is’, and I think that’s a really great achievement.”
Despite their worldwide success and ongoing expansion, the Lyons maintain their laidback Queensland mentality. “[The company’s growth has] been gradual. We enjoy our business, we enjoy our products, and we enjoy meeting our customers.”
With David and Robin’s two sons now working with the brand, it has truly become a family affair. “It’s really unusual to see your children every day, and really special,” Robin smiles. “It’s something they enjoy, and we really enjoy as well.”