Many 15-year-old girls like lip gloss, but very few of them own their own cosmetics company they hope will one day become an empire.
Year 10 Canberra Girls Grammar School student Sofia Green is the brains behind Apollo Cosmetics.
The name for her business, which she wanted to be meaningful, came from her “science obsession” and her love for the Apollo 13 space mission.
Sofia says she has watched the film, Apollo 13, at least 20 times, and is inspired every single time by the perseverance and dedication shown by the astronauts.
“Even though everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, they still didn’t give up and I think that is just incredible,” she says.
Women doing great things in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is another inspiration for Sofia, who takes both extension science and STEM at school, and describes herself as a little bit obsessed with science. She has even been to space school in the US.
“When I was younger, I read books about the universe and astronomy over and over again, and I hope to keep studying science into the future,” says Sofia.
When she conducted a launch of her own – although slightly closer to earth – she drew on some of the lessons she learnt from the Apollo 13 astronauts.
“In the first two months, it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere,” says Sofia. “I think I only had two orders and both of them came from my friends.
“It did feel like there wasn’t much point continuing if I wasn’t getting the orders I wanted.”
But Sofia turned to her parents – both who are diplomats – and a school friend for support.
In fact, it was Sofia’s mum who encouraged her to take the leap of faith and start her own business in the first place.
She says she always wanted to be a CEO or boss of a company, but that it felt like a completely unachievable goal, until her mum asked, “Why not just do it now?”
“My mum said, ‘Just do it and take the risk,'” explains Sofia.
So she did.
Even though the ‘now’ in question just happened to be the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sofia pushed through.
One difficulty she had was getting the Apollo Cosmetics name and mission out there. Sofia says she’s very grateful to her friends and family who are an invaluable support system.
“All my friends will tell their friends about it and encourage people to buy things off me, which is so great,” she says.
Launched in 2020, Apollo Cosmetics currently carries a range of lip glosses which Sofia makes by hand at home.
“Lip gloss seemed like a good place to start because they are definitely the most fun – finishing off your look with a shiny, glittery lip gloss,” she says.
The next plan is to expand into eyeliners and even eyeshadows. One day, Sofia hopes she will stock a full range of makeup products.
The products are sold online and currently stocked in a store in the NSW town of Tarago, but Sofia has big plans to eventually stock them in a Braddon business.