This Burleigh business has skin in the sustainability game

Meet the young entrepreneur marrying skin care with environmental concerns.

Aug 25, 2023, updated Aug 25, 2023
Dave and Katie Tingle on a mission to save the world through sustainable skincare

Dave and Katie Tingle on a mission to save the world through sustainable skincare

AN overseas surf trip not only opened the eyes of Burleigh beach lovers Katie and Dave Tingle but was the catalyst to launch what has become a multi-million-dollar skincare business.

Named after the word for sand in Italian, Sabbia Co is a nod to Katie’s north Queensland Italian heritage.

“Growing up half Italian we never ate from a packet, we always ate from the land or sea. Our goal with our business is to help educate on the value of that and create products that reflect that,” Katie said.

 “We were on a surf trip in Sri Lanka in 2018 and it was about eight hours of travel to a remote location with no one else around. I grew up in Port Douglas and was imagining a similar pristine scenario and we got to this place and there was so much plastic.

“The surf was too big for me so I spent the time collecting what I could with what I had. I asked the tuk tuk driver for a bag and he couldn’t fathom what I was doing.”

Burleigh beach lovers and Sabbia founders Dave and Katie Tingle

Katie, 29, whose carpenter husband Dave, 32, also works on Sabbia’s accounting, said the company was built on six core values:  education, quality, sustainability, authenticity, self-love, and gratitude.

“As I continue to travel, I continue to see this problem all around the world. It comes down to education which is one of the core values of our business,” she said.

“We just did a month in Bali and were focused on how we travelled sustainably by not buying plastic water bottles.

“We don’t just reach Australians we reach a global audience with Instagram. The more we can educate and share the more we can be a pillar for change.”

 It’s been an interesting journey for the entrepreneur who started “making potions” at the age of five and in her teenage years launched “Katie’s Essentials” – a series of scrubs, facial oils and balms to help her friends heal their skin.

Katie Tingle has been “making potions” since the age of five

She went on to study Cosmetic Chemistry, traditional Chinese Medicine and other alternative practices and it was only a matter of time before she would launch her own skin care company in 2019 working with three labs to bring her formulations to life.

The result: “an ethical brand with minimal environmental impact, that creates unique facial kits out of sustainable, biodegradable, reusable and chemical-free tools”.

“Our big mission is to bridge the gap between Cosmetic Chemistry and plant-based medicine. We are not just putting plants in a bottle,” she said.

“There is no other brand out there that has this luxury look and feel that’s also sustainable and results’ driven.

“We have customers who can’t believe the difference after using just one mask.”

Sabbia’s products are ethical and sustainable

Katie, who moved to the Gold Coast from Port Douglas to attend university, and Dave who grew up there, said it was “one of the best places to start a business.”

“We are so lucky to have a community that is like-minded and beautiful beaches with protocols in place to protect them,” she said.

“I was lucky to win the Gold Coast’s Aspiring Young Woman in Business award two years ago and we’ve also won the Channel 7 Young Achiever Award for Sustainability.”

Katie, who also gave birth in the past year, plans to introduce more pregnancy and child-friendly products, as well as expand into overseas Asian markets.

“The Japanese and Korean market are very passionate about sustainable skincare and Australian-made products as opposed to the US who are very celebrity focused,” she said.

“For us, the next five years is about growth. We are now ready to scale the business.

“To me, this business is my passion. There is no amount of money that could change that. I love what I do so much and am so grateful that I get to help people become confident in their skin while also looking after the planet.”

The future is bright for this multi-million-dollar business

She said the business was now worth between $5-$10 million and boasts a 70 per cent return customer rate – four times that of other brands.

“Our customers purchase skincare every six to eight weeks. We’ve had one customer spend $10,000 in skincare in the past two years,” she said.

“Not that our products are expensive. Our serum retails at $79.99 which is in that perfect position between a $30 serum which does nothing and a $300 serum where you wonder about spending that much money.

“With us, you know you are buying quality. We’ve taken on a lot but we thrive under pressure.”



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