Vitality Brands scoops up Torquay-founded Tribe Skincare and plans US expansion

tribe skincare

The Tribe Skincare team. Source: Supplied

Beauty brand Tribe Skincare has revealed it has been acquired by Australian consumer brands company Vitality Brands, with Tribe founder Kayla Houlihan confirming that herself and her team will be staying on to continue the mission to help as many people with sensitive skin as possible.

Tribe Skincare was founded in 2017 by Houlihan after five years of running her own skin clinic in Geelong in regional Victoria where she helped people with their unique skin concerns. 

Houlihan invested $40,000, which was originally saved for a house deposit, into the Torquay-based Tribe Skincare brand, which has had a turnover of $8 million to date. 

Now, Houlihan and her team are set to fast-track Tribe’s reach with the help of the company’s new owners. 

“Vitality Brands are the ideal company to acquire Tribe Skincare as they value high-quality, Australian-made products across their portfolio of brands and they have strong retail relationships with their products available in over 15,000 stores,” Houlihan told SmartCompany on Tuesday. 

Houlihan says the Tribe brand is in good hands and she even shared some more exciting news with the SmartCompany team. 

“I am becoming a first-time parent this year, due to have a baby boy in December,” she says. 

“The timing of the acquisition means I can focus on this new chapter of my life, knowing that the brand and the staff are in good hands.”

Tribe’s products are designed for people with sensitive skin, which, according to an article published in the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), make up a large proportion of the community. More than 70% of people identify as having sensitive skin, according to the article, and the most common site of skin sensitivity is the face.

Houlihan says the Tribe brand will reach even more of these people under the stewardship of Vitality Brands. 

“With Vitality Brand’s innovations team and retail partnerships, they will be able to offer more amazing skincare solutions for people with sensitive skin and have the range more readily available through retail stores,” she said. 

“I’m really excited to see what they do with the brand and the growth it experiences.”

Vitality Brands looks to future growth

Melbourne-based Vitality Brands was founded in 2003 by James Wright, Richard Meyrick and Ian Jarman, and now employs a team of 50 people working across its portfolio of brands, including Cancer Council Sunscreen and body care brand Epzen. 

Speaking to SmartCompany, Vitality Brands’ head of marketing and innovation Lucinda Sabo said Tribe Skincare had been on the company’s radar for some time. 

“We had been assessing brands for over 18 months looking at ones with a real focus on digital and the ‘stickiness’ of the category in which they were positioned,” she says. 

“During those 18 months, we were quickly impressed by the business growth and momentum [of Tribe Skincare], particularly in the social media space and when lined up alongside our portfolio of existing brands each one focused on skin health, the final decision ended up being an easy one. 

“As an Australian business Vitality Brands is driven to help grow and scale smaller Australian brands and I think this is what appealed to Kayla too and what made the process such a positive one.”

Sabo says Vitality Brands wants to ensure Tribe’s loyal customer base is heard prior to further developing the brand’s range of products. 

“We need to speak to the Tribe Skincare audience to gain some insights as a first, to really understand what products they want to see from Tribe, what ones they are missing from the range and what we can do to elevate the current offering,” she says. 

“Tribe has built an incredibly loyal customer base, so we want to ensure they continue to feel heard.

Sabo says the plan is to then take the Tribe brand to the US in 2024.

“We have very exciting plans for the business but are in no rush, the customers come first and with that in mind we want to ensure that we can reach more sensitive skin consumers domestically as well as internationally! So, looking at wholesale opportunities will become a big focus.


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