ModelCo founder and CEO Shelley Sullivan and Gritty Pretty founder and host Eleanor Pendleton.

Despite being a hugely successful homegrown beauty brand, which turns over millions of dollars in profit every year, the path to ModelCo’s success was far from easy.

Speaking at a gathering of the who’s who in beauty, in a funky warehouse space in Alexandria, ModelCo founder and CEO Shelley Sullivan shared some of her toughest career challenges.

The former model agent said despite the vegan-certified and cruelty-free cosmetics company’s success, it had suffered huge setbacks along the way.

“Shortly after launching Tan Airbrush in a Can we decided to expand the range, so we created a tan mousse,” Shelley said.

“We partnered with a new manufacturer that convinced me the tan could be activated in an hour and last two weeks.

“We started testing the product and we loved it.”

Shelley said ModelCo immediately ordered 50,000 units of the tan and spent “a fortune” on accompanying marketing.

“It literally flew of the shelves and within two or three days the phone line started lighting up with callers saying, ‘I’ve turned green.’  

“They looked like the Hulk.

“We had to go into damage control with our manufacturers and our customers.”

Shelly said to appease the customers she had to regift all of them new products to “get them back on board”.

“You can never ever guarantee what’s going to happen along the way,” Shelley said.

“Always ensure your quality control is as good as it can be.

“It took a long time to repair from that – sorry for turning anyone green out there.”

The panel from left Jessica Vander Leahy, Carissa Walford, Jett Kenny, Shelley Sullivan and Eleanor Pendleton.

Three of the company’s local ambassadors – model and writer Jessica Vander Leahy, TV personality Carissa Walford and ironman Jett Kenny – also spoke about their relationship with the brand, as well as their favourite ModelCo products.

Event host and Gritty Pretty founder, Eleanor Pendleton, who is almost nine months pregnant, said ModelCo was a “trail-blazing” beauty brand which launched 18 years ago and had collaborated with the likes of supermodels Rosie Huntington Whitely, Hailey Bieber and Elle Macpherson, as well  as the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

“Shelley Sullivan has built a beauty brand that has not only survived but has thrived,” Eleanor said in her welcoming speech.

“It’s a trailblazing beauty brand that has always created innovative and sophisticated, yet purposeful beauty products.”

Eleanor said another reason behind the brand’s long-lasting success was its credibility.

“It’s a brand that delivers on what they say they are doing to do,” she said.

 “It’s a brand that grows and evolves every day.”

Following the inspiring speeches at the event, guests were given a goody bag containing a section of cult ModelCo products to take home.

Stay tuned for new product launces and cult product relaunches from ModelCo in 2020.

Carissa Walford, Jessica Vander Leahy, Shelley Sullivan, Eleanor Pendleton and Jett Kenny at the ModelCo event.

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