This is the story about how DNA, the brand, came to life.
In the mid 1980’s I began working as an apprentice hairstylist in Sydney.
It was the greatest era to be part of the professional hair industry.
We were at the beginning of huge social change and acceptance.
It wasn’t long into my apprenticeship that I found myself on a completely different life journey.
The lifestyle that accompanied this journey and the side effects saw me begin some kind of soul search in my very early 20’s.
The desperate need to detox and rebuild by mind and body stopped being an option and became an urgent necessity.
I had to go back to the very basics of life and to re-learn how to breathe, see, hear and eat again.
My reckless and damaging daily rituals had now changed, instead I began a new daily ritual of meditation,
growing food, clean eating, and the strict elimination of harsh chemicals from my life.
One day whilst washing my hair a thought entered my mind about making my own shampoo and conditioner.
Something that had no harsh chemicals and that contained as much food ingredients as possible.
It had to smell and feel like it was picked fresh from the garden.
For weeks, I was consumed by that thought, it just wouldn’t go away.
But I didn’t know how to make shampoo or any hair care products.
There was never a business plan either. In fact, I was never interested in business at all.
I had no significant money to start, those things never entered my mind because there was never an intention to market or sell anything I created. Anything I made was always intended for personal use. I thought to myself, “if it works I’ll give some to my family and friends”.
It was 1995 and the internet was very slow. So, I spent weeks planted in the local library, researching how to make shampoo and conditioner.
Almost daily, I would visit my mother’s place. There I would raid her pantry and the garden, she also had traditional hand-made soaps made by my grandmother, I would also take those and start to cook up a storm in her kitchen using her pots and pans.
After many months of disasters and a whole lot of mess, I finally ended up with one shampoo and one conditioner that looked and worked like a professional product. More than anything it smelt amazing, “just like it was picked fresh from the garden”.
I gave a small amount in a glass bottle to a childhood friend who was working as a hairdresser with one of Sydney’s most famous and leading salons at the time. He loved and raved about it, “I love this hippie stuff bro, it smells amazing”.
I was so happy and so I continued to refine the recipe, especially the food flavours and essential oils I was adding to create the different scents and aromas. Whatever food based free ingredients I could get I would try in my recipes. From time to time I would make a little and give some to family and friends. Life just continued on as usual. Travel, seasons, small events, big events, monster events and some life changers as well.
Then one Thursday night in February 1996 I was faced with what would become the biggest turning point in my life and the beginning of many new relationships, loyal friendships and business success.
The story goes like this,
That Thursday night while “hanging out” at a friends hair salon on Pitt Street in Sydney, he began to complain about how expensive the products in his salon were and that he hardly made profit out of them. “They’re ripping me off and ripping my customers off, and they’re not all they’re marketed to be”.
He said he wished he owned his own hair product.
In his words, “But its gotta smell nice, worked professionally and be better priced than all these monster brands, but it’ll probably never exist”.
I really don’t know what made me reply to him and say “I own a product like that”. He laughed and shrugged off what must of sounded like a sarcastic comment. But I actually did have two bottles of my “hippie” shampoo and conditioner in the car.
I got up and I ran as fast as I could to get them for him. I returned with them in hand. He looked a little confused. He smelt and used them right then and there. He refused to believe these were made by hand at home, let alone that I had made them myself, using mostly foods.
He thought it was a prank and would catch me out, so he promised to buy some to sell to his customers in his salon but only if I could make it exactly the same. I in turn promised to have some in his salon in two weeks.
Well, I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
The very next day I sold my car to a friend and borrowed another friend’s surplus car.
Over the next week I bought some ingredients, some new pots and pans, bottles and caps and started cooking. I had another friend who had a computer make up some basic labels so I could stick them on the bottles. With some help we hand filled our first three hundred bottles using funnels and table spoons, staying up till 3 am every morning until they were done.
Once they were done I ran down to the local supermarket to pick up some used boxes and came back and packed my first ever order of 24 bottles of each in discarded potato crisps boxes.
I jumped in my friends borrowed car and drove the order to the salon.
My hairdresser friend couldn’t believe it. He paid for that order immediately and I couldn’t believe it. That transaction started a company. I called it Stormlab.
Today Stormlab is the heart, the soul and the manufacturer of many brands.
Some of the brands we manufacture on behalf of have gone on to become famous super brands that we are so proud of and love. We also continue to develop our own super exclusive and boutique brands like DNA, DNA Organics, DNA Luxury, DNA Tricologie, DNA Qplexx, Aromaganic and many others.
Throughout these years one thing has remained constant and reliably unwavering. This is our company philosophy, Give more than you take.
This philosophy is infused into every brand we manufacture, whether it is done for other brands or our own brands.
It drives our team to continually research and develop new technologies so we can make it clean, make it work and deliver the ultimate luxury experience.
As for our own brands, one of our most loved is DNA Organics.
A brand where clean ingredients, a luxury customer journey of healthy hair and skin, high performance results and a sensory paradise are everything.
DNA is the ultimate in clean luxury organics. We use our expertise in blending certified organic ingredients effectively to engineer high performance, award winning professional products, this makes us The Organics Specialist. It allow us to claim the worlds cleanest haircare and cleanest hair colour in the world.
DNA looks luxurious, our clean, crisp and minimalist packaging is designed by perfectionists to compliment and showcase any well-designed interior space.
DNA smells luxurious, our passionately hand-crafted scents and aromas are individually curated by artists of the sense of smell, compelling people to fall in love with our products.
DNA Organics is the ultimate fusion of Clean, Luxury and Organic.
A close friend once said to me,
“There is nothing sexier than a hippie at heart driving a luxury performance car,
dressed in a tailored designer suit and smelling of classy high-end fragrance.”
I suppose that really sums up DNA Organics.
— Tony Awad, Founder