Earlier this year, Larissa Bright moved to Maleny from North Queensland, as her children started studying in the region. Apart from loving the lifestyle, and enjoying becoming part of the local community, Larissa has opened a new store selling her own formulations of vegan, certified cruelty-free, Australian-made skincare, body care and natural makeup. She is also the founder of biotechnology company Coral Sunscreen, so we couldn’t wait to find out more!
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up on a farm in regional NSW. It was a great childhood. I loved being surrounded by animals and nature. It gave me a great appreciation and respect of the land and what it provides us.
2. Where did you study/train and what inspired you to move into skin care and make up?
I studied economics and international politics at Sydney University. It’s hilarious, as I never used the degree. I started making natural skincare products immediately after I left. It was a trip to Townsville that inspired me to start my company. I experienced the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Magnetic Island. I find being in nature inspiring and great for creative thinking.
3. Please tell us more about why you started Coral Sunscreen, and the science behind it?
Thirteen years ago, I started researching sunscreens, as I wanted something compatible with my natural products. My search led me to the Australian Institute of Marine Science. What they told me changed my life path.
The Australian corals (which are animals) over millions of years have created their own robust natural sunscreen to ensure their protection and survival at low tide when they are fully exposed to some of the harshest UV rays in the world.
There is no greater science than that in nature, and I knew instantly I needed to somehow bring this sunscreen into a human application to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and fatalities associated with it.
I engaged the CSIRO bio-medical division and have been working with them to duplicate the coral’s UV protection. We are so passionate about our work, as we know we are creating potentially lifesaving molecules to provide stronger and more efficient sun protection for humans.
4. Why did you choose Maleny to live and to open your store?
Oh, this was an easy choice. The hinterland is beautiful, and my daughter and son love the region (we have close family friends here). Maleny for us was the perfect choice.
5. What do you enjoy the most about your business?
I am so, so passionate about natural products. I always create my ranges out of necessity. For example, before my first child was born, I created my natural baby range, as I couldn’t find anything in the shops I would use on him. I also created my skincare range for myself to contain all the active ingredients I love.
6. What does a ‘typical’ day entail for you?
For Larissa Bright Australia, I can be formulating and discussing active ingredients with my chemist, or quality testing and liaising with clients.
For Coral Sunscreen, my day involves discussions with the CSIRO scientific team, our patent lawyers and assessing molecule testing results. I hit the ground running quite early with a long to do list and I love the challenges.
7. What’s been the most useful lesson you’ve learnt along the way with your businesses?
To be passionate, persistent and keep innovating. It’s important to keep moving forward if you believe you can have a positive impact on humanity and make a difference in people’s lives.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love nature, give me an hour in the wilderness and I am totally re-energised. I also enjoy spending time with family, running and meditating.
9. If you had to share any advice connected to your business, what would it be?
Live it, breathe it and totally believe in your dreams. Never give up.
For more information, visit: larissabright.com.au and coralsunscreen.org. Larissa Bright Australia is located at 2/45 Maple Street, Maleny. Phone: 7 47791577