After a trip across the world left an “ocean loving” couple from Burleigh Heads devastated at the amount of single-use personal items wreaking havoc on the planet, the pair set out to reduce their footprint — bringing Sabbia Co to life in 2019. The ethical brand creates unique facial kits out of sustainable, biodegradable, reusable and chemical-free tools, all designed to cleanse, exfoliate and remove makeup with just water. As part of HER BLACK BOOK’s Festival of Her, a shopping event to support female-founded businesses, Sabbia Co co-founder Katie Eales shares some insight into her business journey so far.

"I grew up in Port Douglas, in a half Italian, half Australian household. Growing up diving the Great Barrier Reef, camping under the stars and eating 90% homegrown was where I found my deep love and appreciation for the planet. I moved to the Gold Coast to study marketing straight after Year 12, I then went on to travel throughout many Asian countries, Europe and the States. In 2017 I met my husband Dave, in 2018 we found ourselves on a remote beach in Sri Lanka and devastated over the amount of single-use personal items we were surrounded by. When we arrived home we decided to minimise all single-use items in our home.

"As we started to research and test reusable products we fell in love with many amazing sustainable swaps. Our mission was no longer to overhaul our home but everyone else’s. This is when Sabbia Co was born (September 2019). An ethical brand with minimal impact on the environment, that creates unique facial kits out of sustainable, biodegradable, reusable and chemical free tools. Along with sustainably sourced and packaged skincare that is formulated by myself."

“Find something that you are truly passionate about, you can’t be in business for money - you will constantly be trying to fill an empty void.”

“Firstly, we’re incredibly proud of the positive impact we’re having on the planet and our customers. Secondly, launching our skincare in 2020, I have dreamt of this moment since I was a little girl mixing potions and lotions in my cubby house.
Reaching the 20 million makeup wipes target. Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that we are making a difference and protecting the planet. Thirdly, being awarded the 2021 Gold Coast Women In Business Aspiring Young Women’s Award and Clean and Conscious Editors Choice, Gold and Silver product awards. These moments have made me step out of the day to day and really reflect on the work and achievements I have accomplished."

“There have been several! In our first 3 months of business we lost a full shipment of products, I have made bad marketing investments and decisions that have cost us $100k+, several moments where products have sold out due to unexpected hype, and most recently COVID (delays, staffing etc.). Dave and I always say that these moments of fear and stress are the moments just before extreme growth, and as hard as some days are, I try to remember that these are the ebbs and flows of life, and everyone would be in this game if it wasn’t challenging."

“'Stop looking beside you and focus on where you are going' - My unofficial business coach and mentor from Owlpine Group.

“Comparison is a very crippling cycle to fall into when starting a business in the social media day and age, there was a period last year where I was so concerned about copycat brands taking from my inspiration that I lost track of being the leader and creating unique products. I am always extremely grateful for the cheerleaders I have in my corner that remind me of that.”