Claire Fermo’s first customer is Claire Fermo. And she knows there is a long line of people stretching behind her, ready to tend to their hair with her products.
‘There’s no full stop on it. There’s no full stop on where I can take my business,’ says the Aussie Curls founder. ‘The beauty industry, honestly, it’s one of the biggest industries in the world.’
Claire is very particular about how she looks after her own long, dark ringlets. She and thousands of other Australians follow a specific hair care process that calls for certain ingredients. But at the moment they can only use products imported from the USA.
So Claire created Aussie Curls.
‘My products are all ready – just literally just waiting for the chemist to get my bottles and fill my bottles!’
The products are Australian in name and Australian in nature. Claire sourced exclusively Australian ingredients, including many native plants. The range is made in Australia, and the packaging features artwork celebrating her Indigenous heritage. She is initially making Aussie Curls available online and in certain salons.
Claire’s experience in Noosa has been formative in seeing the product line grow. She specifically credits women in the community, such as the Powerhouse Collective, for seeing and supporting her potential. She was also the inaugural winner of the Innovate Noosa pitching competition.
‘When I lived in New South Wales I found that when you wanted to start a small business, people would go “Well that’s really hard, do you really want to do that?” Where here, especially in Noosa, you say that you’re creating a small business and people go “Yes! What can I do, can I do anything to help you?” They really want to see you achieve and strive for wherever you can go.’
In a field that can seem crowded with technology startups, Claire knows the value of creating a tangible product.
‘There’s some amazing Noosa startups that aren’t necessarily around the tech space that are more successful and making a real name for themselves Australia wide and internationally, because they’ve gotten their idea and they know how to sell it, they know how to market it, and they’re things that people are always going to need.’
Claire’s ambitions are both global and close to home. She is already in discussions with international distributors, and plans to make her website a hub of educational content. She’s keen to deepen her network on the Sunshine Coast and bring business to the area.
‘I’d love to be able to source a lot of my ingredients from local farmers for my chemist to use … if I could actually source some things locally that would be amazing.’