Saya Woman Series #4 | Sarah & Lucy
The Saya® Woman is a series showcasing extraordinary women who share their experience, insights and advice to life, business and everything in between. We hope their stories inspire you as much as they inspire us.
In our Saya Woman Series #4, we had the privilege of interviewing Sarah and Lucy, the founders behind Lume Sydney. Their journey started in 2016 when Lume originated as an online clean beauty store based in Sarah's apartment in New York City. Following a decade in NYC and a year in London, Sarah returned to Sydney and shares how she reestablished her Australian business, now widely recognised as Lume Sydney. In this interview, Sarah and Lucy share insights on their inspiring collaboration as mother and daughter, what treatments they recommend and what’s next for Lume.
Can you tell us a little bit about the story of Lume and your brand’s purpose?
Lume Sydney grew from the sale of ONDA Beauty in April 2022.
After launching ONDA online from my apartment in New York City in 2016 we went on to open four ONDA stores in New York, London and Sydney. Five years later, during COVID, we sold ONDA in New York and London and I kept the Australian store, which was unexpected as it was originally part of the global sale. I had a few weeks to relaunch it under a new name.
Naming a business is not easy and I was struggling to come up with a name in such a short amount of time. So, I wrote down the names of my two kids, Monte and Lucy, and moved the letters of their names around until I happened upon Lume. Turns out it means light of life in Latin, which is true when it comes to both my kids and the purpose of Lume.
Lucy, having completed her double design degree, joined me in the business full time after creating Lume’s beautiful logo and branding. Having grown up with ONDA, and worked in all the stores except London, Lucy is as connected as I am to retaining the essence of ONDA while expanding its purpose to include spirit care as well as skin care.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in the wellness space?
Sarah: No, but it has always been a passion and I’m not surprised it’s where I’ve landed. I started my career as a journalist and editor on The Australian and Donna Hay, then moved into digital starts-ups in Australia and New York. I was working in my third start-up, living in New York at the time, when Naomi Watts, who was a friend from school, introduced me to Larissa Thompson, a fashion editor, who had the original idea for ONDA. I turned the online business I had into ONDA and off we went.
Lucy: Also no. My family moved to New York when I was 9 and we lived there for 10 years. I grew up working at ONDA in New York, Sag Harbor and Sydney. The beautiful scents, textures, and passionate founder stories developed my connection to ONDA’s purpose, and I became a clean beauty devotee in no time. While my lifestyle became grounded in wellbeing I didn’t imagine it would become my career path once I began studying for my double degree in design and strategy. It wasn’t until the Australian store unexpectedly became Lume that the joint force of my Mum and I seemed so apt to building an Australian-based business in the wellbeing space. It really feels like an extension of our everyday life.
If someone is visiting Lume for the first time, what beauty treatment would you recommend they have?
Our 90 minute Signature Facial because it beautifully represents our skin-care spirit-care philosophy. It’s a deeply cleansing treatment showcasing all of our non-invasive modalities, with ultimate relaxation in the form of a head, neck, shoulder and hand massage complete with hot stones and gua sha.
We love the wonderful collaboration between you both as a mother-daughter team. Could you share with us how you both enjoy working together and the unique dynamics that come with it?
Sarah: We truly love it. We are very different and complement each other well. As Lucy said, we lived in NYC for 10 years, which was a wonderful experience to share. Lucy moved back to Australia to go to University and I moved to London with ONDA. It wasn’t until I came back to Sydney during COVID, and took ownership of the Sydney store, we started working on the rebrand together. Once we saw the beauty of our working partnership we made it official. I don’t think you can plan a mother-daughter partnership easily — it kind of finds you.
Lucy: We’ve worked together for over a year now and collaborate very well. The dynamic between us as we unpack ideas and strategy creates the best outcome. There’s a lot of back and forth and because of the trust and respect that already exists between us means the process isn’t clouded by ego or fear, it’s pure strategy. We just want to create the best outcome. We have the same vision with very different thought processes allowing for all bases being covered.
Sarah: I provide the framework and Lucy provides the colour.
When visiting Lume what can customers expect to experience?
When people comes to Lume they will often say one of three things:
- That was so much more than a facial
- Your store smells so beautiful
- I want to live here
What’s next for Lume?
We’re continuing to ensure skin care isn’t regarded as a “treat” but rather an important element of mental health care and connection to self. Our growing community is important to us. We love being a part of their daily rituals and seeing the value it brings to their lives.
We’re exploring how to offer a full immersion of our skin-care spirit-care philosophy and can see this coming to life through a destination experience and Lume product development.