When Ellen and Luke Newman first started working together, they never expected the turns their professional and romantic partnership would take.

“We met through a mutual friend. I had no romantic interest in him at first, but he was interesting and different and he was quite determined to win me over. He obviously did. We’ve been married 10 years this year and are more in love now than ever,” said Ellen.

Originally running Uppercut Deluxe, a global men’s lifestyle brand, the couple have recently launched their newest venture: The Great State Balm.

The nourishing balm is made from non-toxic ingredients including Australian beeswax and plant oils, all as close to their natural state as possible.

For The Great State, the duo wanted to create an essential product that was all-natural that would still exude that luxe, coastal style that they associate with the Queensland locale.

“We love the laid-back, approachable attitude of Queenslanders.

The Great State name is a nod to them and the lifestyle we enjoy. The brand’s aesthetic is very much inspired by the beautiful beaches of Noosa, which we are lucky enough to enjoy daily,” said Ellen.

“From a visual identity perspective, it is obvious that the blues of the Pacific that we see everyday have inspired our brand. It is also more of a simple life here, with lots of time spent in nature. These values are reflected in the simple, but powerful branding and the natural formulation. Establishing a business outside of the city, without family support has required a greater level of determination and commitment, but it is possible and the sacrifice is worthwhile when you have the lifestyle we do.”

Considering their love of the Queensland coast, it is not surprising that the couple are conscious of the environment. Ellen is a big advocate for conscious consumerism.

“It’s about being really aware of what I’m purchasing and thinking before I buy.

I consider the environmental impact, toxic load, financial cost, time commitment, well-being benefit or space requirements of a purchase… and if I love it,” she said.

The couple is also passionate about empowering women across the globe and have partnered with the Love Mercy Foundation’s ‘Cents for Seeds’ program.

“I had seen them mentioned on social media and they had stood out to me because of their name; those words carry weight for me. I really thought long and hard about who I would like to establish a philanthropic relationship with and decided that their approach to empowering women at a grassroots level was such a sustainable strategy. They give women the opportunity to create small businesses, just like me,” said Ellen.

The sustainable program loans seeds to Ugandan women to enable them to cultivate agricultural crops and earn an income, then reinvest their earnings into their community by paying for school fees, medications, food and supplies. Ten percent of all profits from The Great State go directly to the Love Mercy Foundation.

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