In the Driver's Seat
This month's featured Eco Angel is Eco Tan Founder Sonya Driver.
As a mother, entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and CEO of an international beauty brand, Sonya Driver is an inspirational woman with an incredible story.
Did you know? Sonya Driver invented Australia's first 100% natural and organic tan. Her Sister was diagnosed with a melanoma at age 30, the cancerous growth was removed, leaving a horrible scar on her arm. Sonya and her sister began getting regular spray tans - they still wanted a tan without the risk of harmful UV rays - however they soon became concerned about the ingredients.
Sonya: "We started having spray tans and I began researching the ingredients in the products we were using as I didn't want toxic chemicals getting into my sisters nasty scar. I couldn't believe what I found (even after they claimed they were natural)."
Sonya Driver: "The truth is always visible. Look deeper."
After Sonya researched tanning ingredients, she started buying natural and organic ingredients like cacao, flower essence, chamomile.
Sonya: "I decided to start making my own Organic Spray Tan solution from my tiny kitchen using only natural and organic ingredients."
She mixed small batches of tanning solution in her kitchen at home on the Gold Coast. Driver ordered more ingredients, making samples of her homemade spray tan and started supplying local salons. Eco Tan was born.
In 2011, Eco Tan made Australian history, becoming the first and only tanning manufacturer to be certified organic by the Organic Food Chain Australia.
Sonya: "My love of organics propelled me into this global phenomenon and I hold the enormous honour of being Australia's first Certified Organic Tan!"
It's all about the ingredients
Sonya's determination to create Australia's first 100% organic tanning solution formed the foundation of her brand's principles - transparency and authenticity. This is why Eco Tan's certifications are so important.
- CERTIFIED ORGANIC Eco Tan's entire range is made with natural and organic ingredients
- CERTIFIED TOXIC FREE Eco Tan is certified toxic free by Safe Cosmetics Australia
- CERTIFIED CRUELTY FREE Eco Tan is accredited by Choose Cruelty Free and promise their products are not (and will never be) tested on animals.
- AUSTRALIAN MADE Eco Tan is an Australian owned company with all products proudly Australian made.
- VEGAN TAN, BODY & SKIN CARE PRODUCTS Eco Tan guarantees all their tan, body and skincare products are free from animal derivatives
- VEGETARIAN SUN CARE PRODUCTS Eco Tan's sun protection products contain only natural ingredients.
Sonya encourages all consumers to check the labels on products they purchase, read the ingredients, do your research, practice sun safety and beware of the BS!
Sonya: "Look past fancy packaging and the marketing show, it's the ingredients that will heal or harm."
Failing forward to success.
Sonya's journey to success was not an easy one. Before Eco Tan, Sonya was a struggling to make ends meet as a single mother of two.
One day, her world was turned upside down when her husband up and left her. Their marriage was over and she was left abandoned to raise her girls alone. Sonya was unemployed with two kids, living in a run-down house. And then suddenly her sister was diagnosed with skin cancer. Sonya need to be a strong, positive influence over her fragile sister, and a good role model for her girls - so she began a new life. She spent two weeks volunteering in East Timor, where she fed hungry children. Surrounded by people who had nothing, she was able to put her situation into perspective. After her divorce, Driver was determined to get back up, dust herself off and make a positive change.
Sonya: "The quicker you learn to get back up and dust yourself off the better. Don't take it personally."
Fast forward to 2017 and Sonya's little homemade spray tan company has grown into an award winning international beauty brand, achieving the Best Organic Beauty Brand of 2017.
Use code BeKind20 for 20% off Eco Tan + Free Shipping at www.ecotan.com.au
Sonya is extremely passionate about lifting up other women in business and hopes to educated and inspire business women.
Sonya: "I'm extremely passionate about lifting up other women in business. Another woman's success is not my failure."
In 2019 Driver wrote and released her first book The Nudge by Sonya Driver - a raw organic business manual for women.
Sonya: "[I wrote] a manual for any woman out there who's an entrepreneur, or wants to be, but doesn't know how to go about it."
|THE NUDGE by Sonya Driver|
THE NUDGE is a beautiful raw textured hard cover book, with gold foil and de-bossing that is exquisitely printed in Australia using recycled materials. In the new book, Sonya shares her secrets to success as the CEO of an international beauty company. The Nudge provides real life experiences and arms readers with the tool kit they need to strategise towards building a business and pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
Sonya: "I learnt the hard way, I made the mistakes, I rocked back and forth, I got knocked down... SO you don't have to. I've giving you access to my secrets."
In the Driver's Seat.
Driven and determined to make a difference and uncover the truth, this year Sonya Driver launched her own Podcast; In the Driver's Seat with Sonya Driver
Buckle up. Sonya Driver has an incredible knack for unravelling layers of the human spirit. Rather than your standard interview Sonya invites people she finds fascinating, inspiring and has their own story to tell and who she connects with, into her drivers seat to have a conversation. She'll take her guests to a place of vulnerability and that's where they will find the gold. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry. It'll be raw, honest and heartfelt.
Sonya: "Have you listened to In the Driver's Seat Podcast yet? It's just dropped. There is 6 incredible episodes that only go for 30 minutes each with inspiring kick ass people that you're gonna absolutely love. Listen to it on Apple Podcast."
Every month Sonya interviews fascinating and inspiring people with incredible stories to tell. With down to earth conversations, this Podcast is the perfect companion for your morning commute to work. Keep in mind this Podcast contains swearing, so it's not suitable for little ears.
Sonya's clean beauty revolution continues to receive accolades for her organic skincare and tanning products. Her latest achievement is 4 winning products in the 2020 Beauty Shortlist Awards.
Sonya: "I am beyond excited, honoured and delighted to announce that we have won 4 products in the UK's Beauty Shortlist Awards. Thank you so much from all of my team and our customers for recognising our gorgeous little Australian organic company. So first of all we won for best new skincare launch our beautiful organic pineapple toner, Super Fruit Toner. Love it! Best Give Back Product for Rafiki Mwena Hand Cream. This is a beautiful organic mango hand cream and all the profits go to Rafiki Mwema, a gorgeous charity in Kenya, a safe house and a farm for terribly abused children. Best Body Tan, of course Hempitan, beautiful organic tan, doesn't compromise your skin and gives you an incredible colour. Love Hempitan! That's my favourite child at the moment. And we won Best Eye Cream for Eye Compost. This is an absolutely beautiful product and we are so honoured to have won that! Thank you so much to everybody and god bless."
From unemployed single mom to successful CEO, Sonya Driver has overcome obstacles, to create an incredible company that prides itself on honesty and integrity. With drive and determination to succeed and her passion to uplift and inspire others, Sonya is an influential woman who empowers you to pursue your passion.
Follow Sonya's adventures on Instagram @sonyadriver
This cover story is featured in Eco Glamazine June 2020