Ry.com.au were lucky enough to catch up with Alpha H owner Michelle Doherty. Like ry.com.au Alpha H is based on the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland. Amongst Cosmetic giants, Alpha H stands out as a true family business success story. From Humble beginnings the brand has gone from strength to strength and boasts some of the best skincare products that are loved globally. Michelle is a brilliant business woman and discusses the challenges and rewards of running her company.
How did Alpha-H come about and what motivates you to continue the day-to-day journey?
After suffering with chronic cystic acne for many years, I was introduced to a simple two step solution called Alpha-H; unknowingly it would soon change both my skin and my life. In 1995, I bought the two-product range from its creators and during the 20 years since its inception, have expanded Alpha-H to include 45 retail products and about 10 professional in-salon treatments; catering for all skin types and conditions. It’s my passion for helping men and women achieve beautiful, healthy skin that continually motivates me to search for new innovations and create formulations that deliver results every time.
Your family is an integral part of the business’ everyday operations. Does it give you satisfaction to see your husband and three girls all taking an interest in the family business?
Seeing Alpha-H evolve into a successful family-run business has been one of my greatest achievements. To find a healthy balance between work and home life is one of my biggest challenges but it is also incredibly rewarding when we can all come together and celebrate our successes. I’ve never been one to follow a comprehensive business plan based purely on achieving capital gain and this is where the brand’s core value of integrity is most prominent. I trust and rely on my three daughters and husband to help navigate the direction we wish the business to grow in and nothing makes me happier than seeing our hard work come to fruition.
You travel quite a bit growing the brand internationally and at the moment the brand is seeing great success in the UK. What factors indicated to you that there was a place for Alpha-H within the UK market?
When assessing the viability of launching into a new and foreign market, it is imperative to find your point of difference! Why will customers sit up and take notice of a new brand they have never heard of? Alpha-H found its niche by being able to offer affordable, results driven skincare that’s powered by science alongside the beautifying ingredients of nature. Alpha-H has a much higher percentage of active ingredients than most of the expensive big name brands in the market. These ingredients get to work as soon as you apply the product – extracting dead skin and impurities and replacing them with essential nutrients. Glycolic Acid is found to be one of the safest and most effective AHAs, due to the small molecule size. This means it can be absorbed quickly into the skin and work as a delivery vehicle for other active ingredients contained in Alpha-H ingredients that are designed to restore moisture, elasticity and suppleness to the skin.
Not only is Alpha-H stocked in Australia and the UK but also Germany, Italy, Slovakia, South Africa, South East Asia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. How has the high Australian dollar impacted your ability to supply Alpha-H to international markets at a competitive price?
The high Australian dollar has created conditions that have been very difficult to navigate at times but it has allowed us to explore various methods of cost saving including the implementation of our very own manufacturing facility. We decided at the beginning of the GFC that our customers should not suffer from the high Australian dollar and consequently Alpha-H absorbed all fluctuations without changing our prices.
Congratulations on being nominated as a finalist for the Telstra Business Womens’ Awards 2013. What did this nomination mean to you, your family and the business?
Being named a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2013 has been one of the highlights of my career thus far and an incredibly inspiring journey learning about my fellow finalists. Having years and years of hard work and dedication to the brand recognised on such a large and highly publicised scale is very humbling for me. My family and colleagues were all delighted and very supportive! I’ve always said there is no way I would be where I am today without my family and the incredible team at Alpha-H HQ.
What should we expect to see from the brand in the next five years in regards to business and product development?
We receive stockist inquiries from across the globe on a daily basis, the latest being from Mongolia! So I think it’s safe to say that continual and steady international expansion is on the cards for Alpha-H. Product development has always been close to my heart – hearing about the latest scientific advancements in ingredients always excites and inspires me to reformulate existing products to improve their function and create new results-driven products. Hopefully in the next five years all our products will be manufactured in-house! We recently opened the doors to our very own small-scale manufacturing plant at our head office and would love to see this endeavour grow!
As a skincare professional and someone who has personally dealt with skincare issues, do you think that there should be regulations put in place for companies to have their products tested prior to being advertised as ‘cosmeceutical’?
Absolutely! There is nothing more frustrating than hearing from customers that they’ve spent hundreds of dollars on products that over claim and under deliver – and I should know, I used to be one! Many companies buy “private label” formulations then put their logo on it and call it their own. At Alpha-H we spend a tremendous amount of time and money working with chemists to create products with extremely high percentages of active ingredients that have been proven to improve skin concerns. I wholeheartedly believe in companies being transparent and not misleading consumers into thinking you’re a cosmeceutical skincare range when you’re not is simply unnecessary.
There was quite a bit of fuss at the beginning of the year around Alpha-H thanks to a One Direction ‘tweet’. What exactly happened and what impact did it have on the brand?
We came in one morning after the weekend and were inundated by emails and social media buzz upon switching on our computers! Our Twitter account received over two thousand new followers in less than twenty four hours as well as our website statistics and online orders taking a huge jump. This is the second time in the space of a year Niall has declared his love of Alpha-H products via twitter and we feel truly humbled that one of the music world’s biggest celebrities is supporting a small result driven Aussie brand – not because he’s being paid to do so but because our products actually work. The Clear Skin Kit is Niall’s favourite and this kit recently also won an Australian Beauty Award for Best Acne Treatment.
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