Trailblazer: Ryan Channing, Founder BLAQ + Generation Clay
Interview by Rebecca Rusinovic
Hi Ryan! We are so excited to be speaking with you, someone who has such a range of diverse and empowering life experiences and achievements.
Yes Queen’s mission is to end workplace bullying and a big theme for 2019 is wellness. Is wellness an important part of your life and work environment and if so how do you ensure it is incorporated into your dynamic schedule?
I am a big believer in accountability and responsibility. I always start my mornings with the intention on what I want to achieve during the day, this leads me to structure it correctly. The Blaq Group is growing and with saying that, so does the team. You’re going to have many new personalities that you haven’t faced before. Learning to understand and relate to another person’s needs is a big lesson for me. I feel that managers need to lead their team be supportive rather than manage the team. I remind my team to be responsible for the energy that they bring into the workplace that day. It’s better for an employee to be open with me and notify that they’re not having the best day (this can be personal reasons) and I am okay for them to stay at home whether this is to have a day off or they may be able to work at home, this often leads to a more productive day as the energy isn’t brought into the workplace and on the rest of the team. We also sit down in a team meeting every Friday and reflect on how our week has been, professionally and personally. It’s best to express inner thoughts so I can recognise any issues and that may tackle us in the next following week. Remember: it takes team work, to make the dream work!
You finished school with ambitions to study law and ended up in Paris on an internship at DLA Piper. Why law and has anything from your studies impacted you in business today?
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school but knew that I liked to create brands and had an interest in business so taking a double degree in commerce and law has certainly given me some essential knowledge coming into the space of being an entrepreneur. I must say, I'm very happy that I'm no in court all day! I have found that life for me, is much better in a creative, diverse office team. We’re not only gender diverse, we also embrace people from all backgrounds. We believe this doesn’t only offer an advantage but gives a relatability to the market place.
You’re quite the jetsetter- your Instagram is filled with snaps of your incredible travels. What is your favourite place you have ever been to and why?
My all-time destination hands down – Mykonos! I have been going every summer since I was 17. The Island is filled with great people, I love quad biking from the villas to the beautiful beaches and of course the incredible food! I’ll be heading there this year for my 30th Birthday in August for one big celebration with close friends and family.
When globetrotting, what are your skincare must haves?
· Blaq’s Hyalruonic Eye Masks for sure! Packed with hyaluronic acid to get that needed moisture and look fresh upon arrival to depuff your eyes, this especially so if I am going straight into a meeting after a longhaul flight.
· A great hand sanitiser for all those icky germs and I apply a heavy moisturiser throughout the flight.
A trip to Japan inspired the beginning of Blaq- can you give us a deeper insight into this and what was it about charcoal that you knew would be the perfect “buzz” ingredient?
The eye definitely has to travel to feel and be inspired. I came across a similar product that was currently in Japan, I tested it, and knew that it was something unique and that it would translate to consumers outside of Japan.
We came back and wanted to re-formulated a peel-off face mask that was sulphate and paraben free. This lead us to having charcoal being the essential ingredient. At the time I didn’t think of what this product and brand could be and what was ahead of me, I had just been concerntrating on the day day to get the first product on the shelf. I knew I just wanted to create a brand that was going to appeal to both women and men. I love the idea of charcoal with its many benefits from skincare and oral care which we launched successfully late last year 2018.
Is it still a nice feeling getting messages from customers telling you how much they love Blaq or how it has changed their life?
It’s definitely good to interact with your consumers and reading all the feedback on how our range has improved their complexion and confidence. I love reading their comments and reading their suggestions on what we should do next!
So many people think that successful businesses just happen. How much work was put into Blaq before it really started gaining traction and how did you stay motivated to keep going?
It’s definitely not easy and you definitely have to give up a portion of your life and really dedicate into birthing a brand. There’s no other way to explain it than saying: “it’s like raising a child!” For me it, it is really pure focus and drive and most importantly don’t fall into negative comments.
Yes Queen is centred on safe, positive and empowering, inclusive workplaces and we love Blaq because it is unisex. Why was this crucial to the range and how would you define the environment of Blaq HQ?
I wanted Blaq and our office environment to reflect the product line, they are inclusive of all and everyone can use them.
When did you know it was time to create Generation Clay and what was the motivation behind it? How is it different to Blaq?
I wanted to create a brand that really focused on my Australian roots. Growing up in Perth I was surrounded by super fruits that were unheard of and not used in other brands product lines. The growth over the past year in Australian Beauty products internationally has really shown that we’re really at the forefront of this natural beauty. Generation Clay was made on the basis of Multi-masking, a trend in K-beauty that was effective.
What is your biggest indulgence?
A day off at the beach with all devices switched-off!
Best advice to someone who is still studying but has dreams to start their own business?
You need to be self-motivated, driven and focused. Know what it is you truly love, go from there and success will happen regardless!
Lastly, another focus for Yes Queen is self-care and self-love. Can you tell us what these both mean to you in a few words?
No matter how hectic your life may be, always remember to look after you. Your health is your wealth.