MCoBeauty founder and CEO Shelley Sullivan has been a trailblazer in the worlds of fashion and beauty for the past 20 years. After establishing her successful model and talent agency in the 90’s, in 2002 she identified a new opportunity in the beauty market. With an intuitive knack for knowing what people (really) wanted in their makeup bags, Shelley envisaged believable, achievable beauty – and launched her first beauty brand, ModelCo, with a range of quick-fix, affordable, quality products for women.
“Looking after so many models, I listened and learnt what they really wanted in their beauty regimes: quick-fix and smart beauty products that they could afford,” says Shelley.
“Models tend to be a tough audience. They spend half their time sitting in the makeup chair and have access to so many different brands. I knew if I could create something my girls loved and used in their downtime, then I was really on to something.”
Shelley created a first-to-market heated lash curler, called Turbo Lash Wand, followed by Tan Airbrush In A Can - the world’s first airbrush self-tanning spray. With two global product hits on her hands, Shelley then expanded the ModelCo range into on-trend colour cosmetics, complexion-perfecting natural skincare, and further self-tanning innovations. Today, there are over 250 products in the ModelCo range and Shelley received a number of prestigious business accolades including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the American Express Award for Fastest Growing Small Business.
Shelley continued to build on the ModelCo brand’s early ties to the modelling world by initiating some clever collaborations with some of the world’s most influential women including Elle Macpherson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Danni Minogue, and Hailey Bieber, who have all acted as brand ambassadors.
In May 2018, Shelley launched a collaboration with global fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. Featuring a range of innovative beauty products, the limited-edition collection was available through KARL LAGERFELD stores and KARL.COM, plus ModelCo’s premium distribution network modelco.com, as well as Nordstrom, Douglas, Cult Beauty, Galeries Lafayette, and at select retailers in the Middle East.
In 2020 Shelley relaunched the ModelCo brand with new, updated hot pink packaging, to coincide with the launch of the brand’s Tested On Role Models Not Animals campaign, featuring inspiring Aussie models Charlee Fraser, Astrid Holler, Cameron Stephens and Agi Akur.
In 2016, Shelley dreamt up a whole new beauty brand – MCoBeauty. With a goal to further dominate the industry with luxe-for-less makeup and beauty solutions, MCoBeauty evolved to offer just that, with the full range accessible for under $40.
“The MCoBeauty range has a price point that makes it available to everyone," Shelley says. "We have not compromised on quality, rather tailored our range of products to allow a lower price point, and then we focused our attention on making the products the best in the market.”
The litter sister brand has grown from strength to strength and is now a cult favourite among Aussies in the know. Over the years, Shelley has forged some amazing collaborations with incredible A-list stars like Sophie Monk, Tayla Damir, Kylie Camps and Angie Kent. Shelley is proud to work every day with her much-loved ambassadors Jules Sebastian, Leigh Campbell, and of course, the fabulous Celeste Barber.
In less than a decade, MCoBeauty has become Australia’s favourite affordable beauty brand, regularly selling out of hit products including the XtendLash Mascara and the Miracle Hydra Glow Oil-Free Foundation. MCoBeauty is now Woolworth’s best-selling beauty brand and winner of their Supplier of the Year award.
Shelley now leads a team of more than 20 staff based at HQ in Sydney Australia, many of whom have been with her since the very start.
Since making the Financial Review Fast 100 list in 2022, MCoBeauty only continues to grow, taking home two YouBeauty awards in 2023. As Shelley herself says - this is only the beginning.