Businesswoman drops out before Year 12 – but now makes $12k a month

How a high school drop-out, 20, rakes in $12,000 a month selling vegan fake tan – despite having ZERO experience of running a business

  • Chloe Weinthal launched a vegan, cruelty-free fake tan label at the age of 17
  • The Perth teen had no experience in business or cosmetics, just a passion for tan
  • She dropped out of high school in Year 12 but now makes $12,000 a month
  • Sahara Soul has a range of two products, a facial tanning mist and body foam
  • The Australian-made formulas are bottled at a factory in Melbourne
  • Ms Weinthal says starting a business young is the ‘biggest advantage’ possible

A self-taught businesswoman who dropped out of high school at the end of Year 11 is now making $12,000 a month with her range of cruelty-free tan.

Chloe Weinthal quit her job as a retail assistant at clothing label Kookai to launch a vegan tanning label at the tender age of 17 in February 2018. 

The teenager from Wanneroo, a northern suburb of Perth, had no experience in business or cosmetics – just a serious passion for fake tan.

Just over two-and-a-half years later, Sahara Soul ships hundreds of orders from its Melbourne factory to customers around the world and has earned Ms Weinthal, now 20, upwards of $90,000 in the past year.

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Self-taught entrepreneur Chloe Weinthal, who had no experience in business or cosmetics when she launched an organic self-tanning range at the age of 17 in February 2018

Self-taught entrepreneur Chloe Weinthal, who had no experience in business or cosmetics when she launched an organic self-tanning range at the age of 17 in February 2018

Sydney influencer Mimi Perkins wears Sahara Soul's tanning foam, which is made with DHA - a colour additive typically reserved for spray tan solutions - vitamin C, aloe vera and coconut oil

Sydney influencer Mimi Perkins wears Sahara Soul’s tanning foam, which is made with DHA – a colour additive typically reserved for spray tan solutions – vitamin C, aloe vera and coconut oil

Ms Weinthal started spray tanning at home in 2015 and quickly fell in love with the confidence it gave her.

‘I wanted to share that with others but I didn’t feel the self-tanning products on the market were as flawless as those of spray tan,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. 

Her range launched with just one product – a $29.95 self-tanning foam – which has since been joined by a $24.95 facial mist that promises to give complexions a naturally sun-kissed glow.

Both products can be purchased online from the the brand’s website or in select beauty salons in WA.

A customer demonstrates the result of applying Sahara Soul's $29.95 tanning foam

A customer demonstrates the result of applying Sahara Soul’s $29.95 tanning foam

Aware of the increasing saturation of the fake tanning industry – expected to be worth $2.8billion by 2025 – Ms Weinthal focused on improving the texture, smell and finish of her products.

Sahara Soul is a ‘brown based’ formula made with 14 percent DHA, a colour additive that simulates a natural suntan without the harmful UV rays.

DHA is typically found in spray tan solutions rather than bottled products available over the counter, and Ms Weinthal believes this sets her brand apart from the rest.

‘We’ve also included skincare ingredients like coconut oil, vitamins E, C and B5, witch hazel and aloe vera,’ she said, all of which strengthen and moisturise skin, improving the chance of seamless application.

Models pose with Sahara Soul's facial mist and all-over tanning foam, which shifts an average of 500 units a month - amounting to earnings of $12,000

Models pose with Sahara Soul’s facial mist and all-over tanning foam, which shifts an average of 500 units a month – amounting to earnings of $12,000

But no amount of clever ingredients could protect Ms Weinthal’s business from the crushing impact of the coronavirus crisis which caused an ‘unfortunate decline’ in orders when the pandemic was declared on March 11.

Still, Sahara Soul quickly bounced back to enjoy ‘tremendous growth’ after the initial impact, as housebound shoppers became beauty obsessed during quarantine.

Department store Myer reported a 520 percent increase in beauty product sales and a 600 percent rise in skincare purchases year-on-year from 2019 to 2020.

‘We have an extremely high customer return rate and the beautiful customers that have tried our products are now forever topping up on their stash,’ Ms Weinthal said. 

‘We are forever grateful to those who have taken the time to test the products through isolation and have now fallen in love.’

The range launched with a self-tanning foam (right) which has since been joined by a facial mist (left) that promises to give complexions a radiant glow

The range launched with a self-tanning foam (right) which has since been joined by a facial mist (left) that promises to give complexions a radiant glow

Ms Weinthal’s remarkable success at such a young age has motivated her to encourage others to follow their dreams of building a company or investing time in a side gig.

She had three words for aspiring young entrepreneurs with business ideas: go for it.

‘There’s no time like the present and everything seems impossible until you achieve it. As they say, no risk no reward,’ she said

‘I truly believe being young starting a business is the biggest advantage you can have. You have room for error, time to grow and endless possibilities.

‘Focus on developing a transparent and honest brand with amazing relationships and the rest will flourish.’

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