Maddison Brown has always been inspired by beauty. Spending much of her childhood and teenage years in and out of makeup chairs, she picked up her fair share of tips and tricks along the way. The one piece of advice that stuck with her, however, was not the correct order of contour and foundation, but that above all, you should never compromise on sun protection. So, when the divine opportunity for her to create a brand of her own with her sister, Allyson, presented itself, Brown knew from the very beginning that SPF products had to be the focus. In under a year, Outside has made its way into the market – actualising the pair's vision and desire to communicate the importance of sun protection in a way that speaks to contemporary consumers.
Here, Brown speaks to RUSSH about how their vision for Outside came to life, the importance of sun protection education and what's next for the brand.
Can you tell me a bit about where the initial idea came from and the process of bringing it to life?
Well, my sister Allyson always told me I should have my own brand… she always felt like I had good ideas and good taste and that I was capable of doing it, and one day in our family group chat we were just musing about what my dream product and brand would be to create… so Outside was born. I think I came up with the name in that 10 minute conversation, and basically the whole ethos of the company. The ideas have evolved, but the core identity has remained the same from pretty much that moment.
Did you always know that you wanted to begin with SPF products?
Yes! For me to create a brand and put my name to something, it had to feel 100 per cent authentic and like it was genuinely filling a gap in the market. There are so many new celebrity and influencer brands launching in the beauty space, but by comparison there aren’t as many sunscreen brands. I always said the only way I’d do my own thing is if it was sunscreen-based. One of the reasons there are so few sunscreen brands is because of how strict the regulation is in Australia to manufacture and sell sunscreen, some of if not the strictest in the world.
The two products you have launched with – a mineral-based SPF 50+ Lip to Cheek Balm and SPF 50+ Face Mist – why did you decide to start here?
The SPF50+ Lip to Cheek was just my dream product, when we had the first conversation in the group chat, I said “I wish there was an SPF50+ Lip to Cheek. I can’t believe it doesn’t exist. It seems like such an oversight!” So, we made one. I still can’t believe we are the first, and our customers love it. The SPF50+ Face Mist was equally important, we wanted to create a sunscreen brand that was inclusive and elevated. Our Face Mist formula, while SPF, feels so luxurious to wear and is 100 per cent clear, so it suits all complexions. In fact, both of our products are suited to all skin tones, which is something I’m incredibly proud of.
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Have you always had a passion for the beauty industry?
I have! I was an actor as a child, and then a model through my teen years, and now an actress full-time again. I’ve spent a lot of time in makeup chairs in my life thus far, and I think I’ve always been a minimalist at heart with my own routine. I love keeping it simple, which makes it easier when I’m traveling a lot. It was always drilled into me that it doesn’t matter what beauty or skincare routine you have, you need to wear sunscreen every day, so that’s always been the most important step in my daily beauty routine.
It’s mentioned that you and Allyson wanted to create SPF products that you weren’t able to find in the existing market. What was that gap that you identified and how does Outside address those concerns?
We felt like there were very specific corners of the market that were covered well in the SPF space, but we didn’t personally feel represented as consumers. We were looking for a brand that was elevated, eco-conscious, and something you want to use every day – that’s easy and functional. We realised it didn’t exist, so we decided to build it ourselves. Outside fills a gap in the SPF space in that sense, we plant a tree for every order and are proud members of 1% for the planet. In terms of our actual product range, everything we could do in more sustainable materials we did, so our lip to cheek pots and face mist bottles are glass.
xEverything is recyclable. When you’re a startup beauty brand, these are huge expenses to take on instead of using plastics. We didn’t have a bunch of VC guys in suits sending us wire transfers for every idea we had, we had to be very considered and thoughtful with every expense, and this was extremely important for me to stick to because I knew it just didn’t exist. On a personal level, I couldn’t in good conscience start a business in 2022/2023 that was going to put thousands of new plastic bottles, tubes and pots into circulation. I am an ambassador for Parley for the Oceans. On a recent expedition on the Great Barrier Reef with the Parley Australia team I saw for myself how catastrophic the plastic pollution crisis is.
Sun protection education is a major driving force behind Outside, how do you hope to continue this conversation through your products and brand?
We would love to become synonymous with philanthropy. My sister and I have always said from the beginning that we aren’t going to create something that’s not going to give back. Education is definitely one of those things, but we would love to get our customers and followers engaging with skin cancer charities across Australia whether through merch or donations from each order. As we all know, Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, so supporting charities that are doing real legwork in terms of skin cancer education and support for those dealing with skin cancer is a huge priority for us as a business.
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This is obviously just the beginning for Outside – what are yours and Allyson’s intentions and visions for the growth of the brand?
Oh gosh, how much time have you got? We have big dreams, but I think for now we’re really excited to focus on expansion, particularly developing new products that go back to our ethos of genuinely filling a gap in the market. We have a few products in the pipeline already that I’m so excited about, and I hope they are as well-received as our two debut products.