Almost 20 years after creating a silk pillowcase to address her skin issues, Luxe beauty brand founder Fiona Stewart is celebrating Slip’s entry on to Ulta.com and in select Ulta Beauty stores. Apparently, sleeping on and using silk addresses sensitive skin issues, and Fiona wasn’t alone in her suffering. Here, Fiona talks about how creating a silk-focused business landed her the career–and skin–of her dreams.
For almost two decades Fiona Stewart experienced painful facial cysts, which she tried to combat by using everything from Accutane to an anti-inflammatory-focused diet. But the treatments resulted in side effects such as hair loss and peeling skin. Things improved when her doctor recommended sleeping on a silk pillowcase, a natural fiber that wouldn’t agitate her sensitive skin. And soon, gone were the cysts. Her complexion was renewed. Inspired by the dramatic change to her skin, Fiona and her co-founder/partner, Justin Dubois, decided to create their own silk-focused brand. They began visiting fabric stores and maneuvering sheets of silk around pillows, and in 2004 in their home country of Australia Slip was born.
The toughest part about growing the brand and getting into stores was educating consumers and buyers about the skin benefits of sleeping on silk.
“Even though people spend so much money on serums and creams and other products, getting people to accept that this is an investment in their beauty routine has been a long process,” Fiona noted.
Now bootstrapped and thriving, Slip started as a side hustle based out of Fiona’s house. Fiona was a publicist in the film industry and Justin worked in marketing. Growing slowly and organically–and being distracted by their days jobs–meant they learned the ins-and-outs of the beauty industry on their own time.
“Our team has seen our kids grow up and also seen Slip grow from a side hustle to an international business.”
While progress was slow, it was gradual, and the couple’s efforts were well-rewarded. In 2015 the brand entered the U.S. Slip began with four items, one pillowcase design available in four different colors, and has since expanded to several hundred items including various pillowcase designs, eye masks, robes, scrunchies, and, most recently, a travel pillow. For the time being, the brand will remain focused on silk-centered items.
“It is very important to me that everything we do, we do really well. Some people do creams or serums very well, so it’s essential to us that we stick in the silk space, do what we do, and be the best in class.”
In addition to Slip’s website, retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Net-a-Porter and Sephora also sell the brand.