Not a load of crock: How Aussie crocodile oil brand strives to aid sustainability and conservation
The brand produces a range of crocodile-based beauty products meant for sensitive skin developed by Josephine Robson and her husband Darren Sheppard, who discovered the regenerative powers of crocodile oil after regular trips to the Northern Territory’s Top End and North Queensland.
Cosmetics Design Asia caught up with Robson at Cosmoprof Asia, where the brand was featured in Cosmoprof Trends, a report curated by BeautyStreams.
With demand for cruelty-free and vegan beauty products on the rise, Robson acknowledged that she expected consumers would be concerned about its star ingredient. However, she assured that even though the product derived from an animal source, the company places high priority on sustainability and conservation.
As a member of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), Robson explained, Golden 8 has to adhere to strict regulations when it comes to using crocodile oil.
“Every time we send a product overseas it has to be stamped by the Australian government, which ensures that crocodiles are always at a sustainable level,” she said. “The whole programme is government funded and it’s an incentive-driven programme that is sustainable and ethical.”
By producing crocodile oil-based products, the company supports indigenous communities as well. “They get a percentage of the product, so it’s actually giving back to these indigenous communities who otherwise wouldn’t have any business,” said Robson.
Currently, said Robson, crocodiles in Australia are protected by the government with the help of indigenous communities, ensuring that the numbers are kept to a sustainable level. “Every year only a certain number of eggs are allowed to be collected to eventually be used for their skin. These eggs would have been wrecked in fires or the floodplains of the Northern Territory.”
Matt Wright is one of those tasked with collecting crocodile eggs. Among other things, he is also the star of National Geographic’s Outback Wrangler. His wife, Kaia Wright, serves as the brand ambassador for Golden 8.
“We are at a sustainable level at that’s a major part [of the business]. Matt talks a lot about conservation and sustainability on his show and it’s getting the message out there so people can understand that’s what we’re about.”
Rich Omega source
Crocodile oil is a potent source of Omega 3, 6, 9 as well as 7, which Robson calls the “rare beauty Omega”. It also contains natural occurring anti-microbial peptides, which she points out is the reason why wild crocodiles are able to heal their skin in dirty environments quickly.
To preserve the natural goodness of the oils, the crocodile oil is heated to 80 degrees, leaving visible white flecks of Omega 7 in the oil. “We can heat it to a certain level to take that out, but it will take out all the nutrients. Oils of similar composition are heated to 240 degrees. Ours is heated to 80, so we keep all the goodness, nutrients and wound-healing attributes.”
Robson revealed that the brand has garnered interest from Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines. The brand has already found a distributor that will take the product to China through e-commerce, as crocodile oil is not allowed to be sold on the shelf.
Despite the obstacles, Robson said Chinese consumers can expect to see Golden 8 in the market by the first quarter of next year.
While the company is only in its early stages, she is Robson is confident that her product will do well in Asia. “I noticed in Asia that free-radicals are a big thing and our product is like superfood for your skin. It micronizes into your skin to form a layer of protection from free-radicals.”
“We want the Asian community to know that we are healing through the power of nature. Crocodile oil is actually an ancient ingredient, it was used by Cleopatra and the indigenous people have been using it for centuries. We want people to know you can look to the past to create a future.”