Cosmetics guru Shahna Smith, an ex-Broken Hill resident and now CEO of her own Amplified Beauty brand, has had a remarkable few years that have seen her brand soar.
It has been quite the journey for the Silver City native.
There have been many obstacles thrown in her way.
A car accident, homelessness, and the passing of her mum are just a few of the hurdles Ms Smith had to clear on her journey to success.
She credits an incredible drive and unwavering belief in her product and herself, and the inspiration she still gets from her mum, for where she is today.
Her mum Tracey named Amplified Beauty before she passed away, and there is a product named after her in the range, called simply, The Tracey and 10% of all sales go to Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Street program.
“Mum naming the company before she passed was a big drive for me.”
“My mum was quite a tough woman and never gave up herself. And that really inspires me still to this day.”
Incredibly, Ms Smith made her five-year business plan while she was couch surfing in Adelaide. It’s something she credits to her mantra of not letting obstacles determine who she is.
“I wrote a very in-depth five-year business plan and started calling labs around Australia and got things moving, really.”
Shahna has never been afraid to think outside of the box. Before her range launched, she was having trouble nailing down the tones of her nude line of products.
In a moment of sheer ingenuity, she went to a Bunnings in Adelaide to mix paints for inspiration.
“I just made an impulse decision to go to Bunnings and mix up some paint pots,” she told us, laughing.
The colours mixed that day in Bunnings would go on to inspire some of the shades available in Amplified Beauty’s range.
Ms Smith never let her setbacks define who she was and where she wanted to get to.
And that is a message she feels is important for everyone to hear.
“These types of things, these setbacks, shouldn’t determine who you are. It is all temporary and you can make it out of anything.”
Not all the credit can go to Ms Smith’s drive and ingenuity, however. They were big parts of her and her brand’s success, but she is also quick to pay homage to The Circle.
The Circle – First Nations Entrepreneur Hub – assists the South Australian Aboriginal Business Sector.
It does this by providing support and access to increased connections, capacity, capability, and confidence.
The Circle community was integral to Ms Smith at the beginning of her business journey and remains important to this day.
“I was using it as an office space. Somewhere I could go to work, and where I wasn’t doing laundry in between.”
“The Circle really provided me a lot of opportunities just by being there. Building those relationships, not just with the people who run The Circle, but other businesses too. It was almost like a safety net, to be honest.
“I am actually collaborating with one of the businesses I met at The Circle for a Christmas project.”
A fierce campaigner for diversity and inclusivity.
Ms Smith was determined to make that a cornerstone of her cosmetics range. That is why it was important for her to make her products vegan and cruelty free.
“I’m not [a vegan] but I feel it is important to cater for everyone. And I think if you’re not vegan – you’re not catering for everyone,”
She says that’s just one of the many ways she plans on breaking down barriers with consumers.
She’s also made her range accessible to people of all skin tones. Something that was not as common as you might think as little as 12 months ago.
“A lot of your bigger brands won’t act on this until the media put pressure on them to do something about it. So, we kind of started doing this right from the get-go so we can be a leader in that area.”
“Back in the day, a lot of companies didn’t look at that, and it is just really raising that awareness to push forward and become more inclusive as an industry”
You only need to speak with Ms Smith for a short while to realise she is incredibly passionate about inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment.
Another thing she’s passionate about is her hometown.
And when it was time to launch her brand there was only one location she had in mind.
Despite having a hugely successful online store, when it was time to have her products in a bricks and mortar shopfront, the first place was always going to be Broken Hill.
“It didn’t matter how far we got, I always wanted Broken Hill to be the first place we launched. There is something different about launching at home, rather than launching elsewhere,” Ms Smith told us.
“It was like ‘Wow, I’ve made it.’ I was really important to me.”
As well as being available in Cairns and Glenelg, you can purchase Amplified beauty products from Jagged Edge Salon and All Things Beauty right here in Broken Hill.
Be sure to keep an eye on the career of this up-and-coming titan of industry. Shahna Smith might just become the biggest name yet to come out of Broken Hill.