Cool, charismatic and incredibly business savvy are the words I use to describe the man behind the Cactus Skincare range.
Sydney-based Ryan Clark has played a significant role in growing his family’s business into a thriving organic skincare e-tailer. He is also a fitting ambassador for men's health and style.
I first met Ryan at a function held at Hugos Lounge in Sydney finding him not only charming, but also a bit of a mystery. To change that, I recently caught up with him to ask a few questions about his life, skincare, personal style and, of course, Cactus Skincare.
Q: Ryan, tell me about YOU!
A: I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and I'm a bit of a 'French Duke' if you like. I prefer walking through an art gallery than sitting in the sun, or going to a cafe as opposed to watching team sports. I'm quite unpatriotic like that!
Q: You recently joined your family's skincare company, Cactus Skincare. What gave you the push to get involved? What's your role?
A: Well, mum was launching the organic line and the online store. We now had a more simplified range of products and she wanted to push that online, which required someone to manage it and get some exposure.
For a few years, I'd day-dreamed about joining the company and had ideas about what I would do if I did come on board. This was a great opportunity for me. Being the family business, I’m building something for myself and my own family (when I get one...)
Q: What were you doing before picking up and running with Cactus Skincare?
A: I was working as a copywriter in advertising. So basically a lot of ping pong, YouTube, boozy lunches and finding ways to get people to buy more cleaning products! People need cleaning products now more than ever and it was a very important job, so it was a big decision to leave. I really hope people are still buying cleaning products after I left...
Q: Haha! Tell me about Cactus Skincare and its brand ethos.
A: We want to be known for creating quality products and providing genuinely caring customer service. The question I keep asking myself as I come up with new strategies or as we're launching a new product or whatever is "how can we make it beautiful?" So we gift wrap all orders and include a personal note. We also add some potpourri and samples and try to be generous wherever we can.
We also refuse to sell anything we don't believe in. We often get asked if we do a toner. Mum has always refused to do a toner, as she feels it's an unnecessary step in your skincare regimen and can often do more harm than good as toners are often alcohol-based.
Also, we would like to be more involved in charity. We've done a few things with charities, but we definitely feel like we can do more and aim to become more actively involved next year.
Q: What separates Cactus Skincare from other organic skincare brands out in the market?
A: First of all, we only use high quality ingredients. My mother still gets excited when a new oil or extract comes to the office. She wants to smell it and put it on her skin right away. We certainly don't use any cheap ingredients!
A big difference with our products is the excitement they generate when people use them, because the results are almost immediate. It's a bit of a shock because skincare most often sells hope without actually achieving what it promises. I think a lot of businesses get too 'businessy' with ingredients and skimp here or there to keep costs down, while spending cash on advertising and air brushing. We prefer to create a product that people will talk about and those conversations end up being a powerful form of advertising.
Q: What's the most popular product in the Cactus Skincare range and why?
A: Our 'White Clay Mask' is probably our most popular product and I think that's for two reasons. Firstly, it's the sort of product where you will normally see a difference in the quality of your skin within 15-20 minutes of using it; it seems like a bit of magic.
Secondly, it’s a product that is shared by its users online. What I mean by that is we constantly see people sharing White Clay Mask selfies on instagram. It's a little harder to share yourself wearing a moisturiser because it absorbs into your face! In saying that, I think that people can tend to disregard the rest of their regimen, which is a worry. Our products definitely work best when used together as a full regimen. That's why we offer full regimens catered to your particular skin type when you order a trial pack with us.
Q: Do you use the Cactus skincare range yourself?
A: Absolutely and religiously! Every Monday, I shave my beard and do a 'White Clay Mask'. I do this because I like wearing a beard, so if I shave on Monday I have time to grow a bit of a beard by the weekend. The reason I shave at all is so I can exfoliate my face at least once a week. I've been using our 'Gentle Exfoliant' for about 6 months now and I love it. It’s not available on our website yet, but it should be soon!
My weekly regimen is as follows:
1. 'Lemon Myrtle Cleanser'
2. 'Nature's Anti-Oxidant Creme'
1. 'Lemon Myrtle Cleanser'
2. 'Intense Hydrating Creme'
1. Shave/cleanse (using the 'Lemon Myrtle Cleanser')
2. 'Gentle Exfoliant' (I'll normally exfoliate again on Thursday around my T-zone)
3. 'White Clay Mask'
4. 'Intense Hydrating Creme' or 'Hydrating Serum' (these will be up on the website soon too... sorry!)
Q: Describe your personal style. Do you admire any person's style in particular?
A: I like a well cut suit. I love going out and feeling like I'm looking good. I like Ryan Gosling's style a lot. He seems to be able to dress well and carry himself off confidently, without coming across as a sleaze.
I like clothes and I definitely don't think I'm likely to get to a point where I feel like I have enough suits/shirts/ties. I'm thinking with the next place I live in I'd like to have a bigger wardrobe. I might be one of the few straight men that salivates over the look of a nice, big, well-organised wardrobe.
Q: Name some of your favourite clothing labels?
A: I buy most of my stuff from Politix or Calibre. I'm a bit of a sucker for high collar shirts too, so I need to throw Karl Lagerfeld in there. If I'm ever feeling a bit bombastic I am partial to busting out a high collar shirt; when I feel like doing a bit of peacocking!
Q: What's the one item in your wardrobe you can't personally live without?
A: Probably pants. It's a personal rule of mine to never leave the house without some sort of pants arrangement. No matter how much of a rush I'm in ;-)
Q: When it comes to guys and dressing, what's the key thing guys should be paying attention to?
A: I think guys should realise how much dressing well affects your appearance. Girls can change the way they look with makeup, whereas guys can achieve a similar effect with clothes. I remember someone once saying to me, ‘you don't have to be good looking, but you do have to look good’. You can get away with more when you're well dressed.
Q: Anything exciting in the pipeline for the Cactus Skincare brand?
A: We have three AMAZING products I have been dyeing to get up on the website! That's the 'Gentle Exfoliant', 'Hydrating Serum' and a 'Facial Oil'. They are so good and I'm really keen to see how people react to them when we finally get them up on the website!
Check out the entire range of Cactus Skincare products at: https://cactusskincare.com/
- Michelle, Ed xx
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