Where to Buy: www.kesterblack.com.au
Rub-a-dub-dub, it’s time to take Kester Black into the tub! Australia’s coolest vegan nail polish brand is branching out into luxury body soaps and asked me to take them for a test spin.
I’m a hip hop fan so naturally I’m a fan of a good collab and KB are partnering up with a new Australian designer for each new collection of soap. Dope! This time around it’s Melbourne artist Dawn Tan bringing her creativity to the mix with a couple of unique scents teamed with equally delicious packaging.
White Fig is a refreshing scent perfect for spring and I don’t want to freak you out but Gingerbread is the perfect flavour for Christmas (which is 11 weeks away, WTF?!) And speaking of Christmas, these little guys make the perfect stocking filler for just about anyone!
Just like Kester Black’s range of nail products, the body soaps are 100% vegan and cruelty free and are the first Australian mass-produced soaps to be 100% palm oil free. They contain coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba, vitamin E and a bunch of other ace ingredients to help nourish, cleanse and moisturise the skin.
The fragrances are strong but not overwhelming and leave a subtle hint of a scent behind once you’re out of the shower. It lathers nicely and leaves the skin feeling fresh and clean but also well moisturised. This also makes an awesome hand soap if you want to add a touch of luxury to your hand washing routine.
I had the chance to ask Anna Ross, Founder of Kester Black, a couple of questions about the brand and how this awesome collaboration came about.
Can you tell me a bit about Kester Black and how it came to be?
Kester Black began 4 years ago as a clothing label while I was studying a Bachelor of design, majoring in fashion in the South of New Zealand. When I graduated, my wise mother dearest suggested I broaden my horizons overseas, which would bring more opportunities than staying at home and working on my label. I packed my bags and began searching for a job in Melbourne. The experience didn’t quite work out the way I was expecting it to.
After landing myself a job in retail, I thought I’d better get something creative happening to keep my portfolio growing. I began making jewellery and selling it back to New Zealand where that seemed to be quite successful for a few years. After a year in retail, I finally landed my dream job: design assistant for a well known Australian fashion label. I worked in that role for just over a year until I was offered a production manager role for another large company in the industry. The pay they were offering was more than double what I was on, but the catch was that I would have to give up my own little business. I felt like I had worked so hard for the last two and a half years to just give it all up. So I turned down the job, and worked on building my business.
In the mean time, I had decided I was bored of merely working with sterling silver and began researching enamel paints to use on the jewellery I was making. It led me to looking into nail polish, and I really saw a gap in the market.
I decided to manufacture and sell my own nail polish line to complement my jewellery. It was a major turning point in my career when, as the jewellery market had become really saturated and my nail polish sales were going through the roof, that I decided to focus solely on the nail polish side of things and lay the jewellery to rest.
Why is making cruelty-free and vegan products important to you?
I was saying just the other day that I feel really great about having created a company that has good values. I think it should be standard to give customers the opportunity to purchase cosmetics that are ethically made. I think that consumers shouldn’t have to worry about researching whether or not the product that they are buying is safe and that it hasn’t been tested on animals in any way. I think that those kinds of responsibilities should be in the hands of the manufacturer and that’s why Kester Black will always produce in an ethical manner, because we know the importance of using safe, organic and environmentally friendly products.
I have always felt that my brand should reflect my own ethics and personal values, and I’m happy that Kester Black does just that.
How did the collaboration with Dawn Tan come about and where did the decision to move into soaps come from?
I have always loved Dawn’s work and have always wanted to work with her on something. After talking to one of my suppliers, The Goodness Bureau, about the sustainable palm oil industry, I became interested in palm oil free soap.
I had wanted to expand Kester Black for a while and after doing my research, noticed that no one was mass-producing palm oil free soap. I decided that it would be a great opportunity to produce another product that aligned well with the ethos of my brand and wanted to provide a beautiful soap alternative to the Australian market.
Dawn has been a pleasure to work with and I love the artwork she has done for our custom packaging – couldn’t be happier!
Are there any other new exciting products and collaborations we can look forward to from Kester Black?
The truth is that my brain is constantly ticking! Honestly, I am always on the lookout for new inspiration. I think it is so important to be open minded to new concepts and abstract ideas; that’s what will set an idea and brand apart from the rest. At the moment we are super busy with new nail polish colours and soap fragrances, but that doesn’t mean that tomorrow won’t bring some unexpected creative inspiration. In terms of future collaborations, yes we have a few exciting ideas underway – stay tuned for Christmas is all I will say!
Stay tuned for Christmas indeed! Kester Black have hit another home run with these products and I can’t wait to see more and more amazing Aussie products come onto the market.