April 29, 2022
When Interior design twin sisters – and former winners of The Block – Alisa and Lysandra Fraser couldn’t find chic personal care products to style in their homes, they knew there was a gap in the market – and they knew they were the right ones to fill it. Knowing first hand the effect that your space has on your mood and wellbeing, they set about creating a brand that would nurture the body, and the environment, but still look elegant enough to take pride of place on the vanity – and so, al.ive body was born. Here, we talk to the twins about stepping outside their comfort zone, why small details matter and what it’s really like to work with family.
It came about when we were styling one of our high-end interior design projects. We struggled to find personal care items for our bathrooms that met our standards for both aesthetic beauty formula quality. We knew we couldn’t be the only ones so we took the brave (and scary!) step of creating it ourselves. As interior designers the beauty of our surroundings is very important to our mood and creativity. The spaces you live and work within have a major impact on how you feel and your outlook on life – so too are the products involved in our self care rituals. We saw an opportunity to create something that served both of these needs in an elegant way and the al.ive body Hand & Body collection was born.
After winning The Block in 2013 we ran a successful interior design business called Alisa & Lysandra Interiors, which is what led us to discovering the need for this type of product. We were always confident we had a compelling and relevant idea, but once we launched the brand and saw the consumer response we had our a-ha moment - and we knew we had followed the right path. The response was overwhelmingly positive from both the stockists who ordered the product for their stores and the consumers who purchased directly from our website. Right from the start we got so much incredible feedback from people who were loving their al.ive body Hand & Body Duos. We continue to run our interiors business alongside al.ive body - thank goodness there are two of us so we can divide the workload!
Our design experience plays a huge part in how we develop new products for al.ive body. Our understanding of form and function allows us to create beautiful personal care products that both look good and feel great to use.
Our first product was our now-iconic Hand & Body Duo, available in three scents and colourways (Kaffir Lime & Green Tea, Coconut & Wild Orange, and Fig, Apricot & Sage). The innovative design sees the two bottles interlock and nest in their matching tray. It was these two products in this configuration that we identified were missing from the market, and felt were necessary to style a bathroom vanity in a functional way. We had the vision to create a unique bottle, and even went so far as modelling the shape ourselves using our plasticine! After many tests and samples we eventually brought our vision to a reality, and the Duo and we now know it was born.
Functional design means products that make your life easier, not more laborious. It was important to us that the al.ive body range was not only beautiful, but also enjoyable to use every day. Our bottles have a rubber-matte finish, making them incredibly tactile and pleasant to touch. The way the duo nests together in the tray makes one-handed dispensing easy. And our pumps dispense just the right amount of formula with a single press. It’s all these little things we took the time to consider to ensure our product was the perfect combination of form and function.
We had many points where we reconsidered whether launching our own personal care brand was really worth it. But ultimately we knew we had a compelling concept so we soldiered on through those tough moments. The most challenging part was getting our vision down on a page and expressing it to the many stakeholders we needed to work with to bring it to life. We got very good at communicating and brief writing very quickly throughout this process!
A conscious lifestyle is at the heart of the al.ive body brand. Our bottles are built to last, meaning they’re an enduring purchase and not to be thrown away once empty. We offer refill pouches, which are 100% recyclable and refill your bottles twice, saving 85% plastic. We also have a commitment to our broader environment via our partnership with One Tree Planted. For every al.ive body baby product sold we plant a native tree in Australia to help replenish areas affected by deforestation and bushfires.
We’ve always been close, so running two businesses together is easy (most of the time). Like anyone we have our disagreements, but having a clear and mutual vision for our brands always helps us make decisions together. We’re also busy Mums with finite time and resources, so in order to get everything done we have to divide and conquer. We’re always across both businesses and the major decisions, but for the everyday running Alisa takes the lead with al.ive body and Lysandra with A&L interiors.
We think transparency with ingredients is crucial. One of our proudest achievements is that al.ive body is 100% palm oil free, a claim that is difficult to make. Palm Oil is so widely used in the personal care industry that taking an environmentally and ethically conscious stance to avoid it comes with great difficulty and expense. There are hundreds of ingredients that contain or are derivatives of palm oil and they rarely appear obvious in ingredient lists, and many brands hide behind this.
Our al.ive body baby range holds a special place in our hearts, as the collection was inspired by our experience with our own boys. We saw that like our Hand & Body Duos, there weren’t any beautiful, functional and high quality products available for Mums and bubs. The range has been developed with the needs of new mums in mind - formulas that are natural, safe and beautiful to use, and in packaging that is functional and stylish enough to be kept close to hand. And we get so many positive reviews and beautiful images of customers using the range - it truly has resonated with families.
Alisa: Lysandra is caring, hardworking and thoughtful. All attributes that make her an incredible business partner. Lysandra: Alisa is driven, business-minded and a straight-shooter.
Yes, once back in high school, we switched Japanese classes on April Fools Day to play a trick on our teachers and fellow students!
The podcast I’m currently listening to is…
Alisa : Foundr because I’m obsessed with all things business and entrepreneurship, and understanding new and innovative ways to grow our own businesses.
Lysandra: Small Business, Big Marketing. And anything to do with true crime like dateline or criminal.
My greatest design inspiration is…
We both love Steve Cordony. We adore the airy but luxurious design of his interiors projects. He has an incredible ability to combine layers of texture and tone in a single space, and it’s a style we love to take inspiration from for our own projects.
What you’ll find in my handbag…
Alisa: my al.ive body Kakadu Plum and Macadamia Lip Balm to keep my lips hydrated, and my Watermelon & Lime Hand & Surface Sanitiser which in these covid-times is an absolute essential.
Lysandra: al.ive body Peony & Olive Leaf Hand Balm to keep my hands soft and smooth. My phone charger, a lippy (for when I need to feel more vibrant) and usually a random piece of clothing belonging to one of my boys (like a lone sock or a pair of jocks!).
My dream dinner guests are:
Alisa: The iconic and inimitable Oprah, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Marie Forleo.
Lysandra: I second Oprah, plus actor Denzel Washington or Kate Middleton.
The thing that brings me most joy is…
Alisa: Spending time in nature with my family. We are so lucky living in Adelaide to have access to world-class beaches and hills only a short drive from our beautiful city.
Lysandra: My kids, most of all. And travelling, particularly as a family.
You might not know this but…
Alisa: We often feel each other’s pain but strangely it’s always on the opposite side of our own bodies. And in social settings, with just one look at each other we can tell what the other is thinking and communicate subtly via body language.
Lysandra: And if I ever get an injury chances are Alisa will get the same ailment a week or two later.
Follow the brand here: