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This family business is the ‘most trusted Aussie brand in China’

Migrant factory worker turned cosmetics mogul.

Azal Khan

Digital Journalist, Your Money

A family business that started 22 years ago with $10,000 is now a multi-million dollar company and apparently one of the most trusted Australian brands in China.

Founded in 1996 by Zvonko Jordanov, G&M Cosmetics is now a major manufacturing company that supplies cosmetics to domestic retailers, pharmacies, duty-free and exports globally.

In 2018 the company was recognised as the most trusted Australian brand in China, according to a survey commissioned by Alibaba and Monash University, outperforming quintessential home-grown brands like Qantas and Weet-bix.

It was also recognised as a leader in the beauty and cosmetics category, beating large internationally-renowned beauty brands like Aesop, Sukin and Jurlique.

It all started when Jordanov arrived in Australia in 1991 from the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and found work in a small cosmetics factory.

He observed the way the cosmetics were manufactured and felt there was something missing in the Australian industry.

“I thought I can do a little bit better than where I was working.”

Jordanov carved out his niche by creating G&M Cosmetics – named after his children George and Maria – in 1996 with just $10,000.

There were challenges along the way, but a positive mindset and “having in (our) heart that we can succeed and we can benefit the consumer and ourselves” is what lead Jordanov credits for the company’s growth over 22 years.

G&M Cosmetics now creates 60 products over four major brands and last year had a turnover of $20 million.

The G&M Cosmetics products have quickly become the envy of other major cosmetic brands with the products hugely popular in mainland China.

A certified organic manufacturer, Jordanov heroes natural Australian ingredients like eucalyptus and Kakadu plum in the skincare products.

The sweet spot for G&M Cosmetic’s success was finding consumers that were looking for value-for-money products that represent Australia. Jordanov found that in mainland Chinese consumers.

“In countries like Europe and America, they have developed a taste for their own products.

“It was very hard to penetrate into a market where people use the brands they know and recognise,” he said.

Jordanov had a bit of luck exporting some products to Thailand and Indonesia.

“But later on the biggest thing that actually happened for me was in the early 2000s, a lot of Chinese students came to study in Australia.

“Every time when they go back to China, in their Chinese culture, they have to bring something for their relatives and friends that is coming originally from Australia.

“Seeing our product, it has very good value and very good price.”

“The active ingredients in my product actually represent Australia: lanolin, Emu oil, avocado, macadamia.

“Probably they know about the product, they were bringing it to their family who was very happy with the product, they love it, they keep ordering and buying.

The Chinese students became the “unofficial G&M ambassador for the last 10-15 years”.

G&M Cosmetics’ factory in Taren Point in Sydney’s south now has the capacity to make more than 150,000 units per day.

Still a family owned and run company decades after its inception, Jordanov says the success of running a family business comes from the way the staff are treated.

“From the outset, I said it’s not a family business just because all my family is working with me.

“But all the staff is actually part of the family. The family and staff are given the same treatment and opportunity.

“If you come and visit us you’ll actually be surprised that every single person is fighting for the company, they love the company.

“I don’t have any secrets from any of my staff and I’m very proud.

Watch the video for the full interview with G&M Cosmetics founder Zvonko Jordanov.

Read more: How this family turned a pub classic into a business empire 
More: Roxy Jacenko’s 7-year-old emerges as mini-mogul 
More: Aussie cosmetics company hits ugly run

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