Shelley Barrett was born in Sydney Australia and grew up with a strong desire to create her own business. Whilst working as a receptionist at a modelling agency, Shelley was fuelled by personal ambition and her relentless drive to succeed, realising she could open her own modelling agency providing a more personalised service. In 1994, Shelley was only 21 when she took the plunge and started her own modelling agency with just one model.
Over the course of the next decade, Shelley’s Management Group grew to include FACE Models, Lollipops Children Model Management and Commercial Faces Actors, becoming one of the most highly respected management groups in Australia, representing over 1200 talented people.
Eight years into being a model agent Shelley was continually listening to feedback from her models about products they wished they had in their beauty regime that all the luxury brands weren’t providing. She was also looking at the way they applied make up and tanning products and saw a gap in the market for innovative, dual-purpose beauty solutions for women on the go.
From her first innovative product – the heated eyelash curler – closely followed by Shelley’s self-described “light bulb moment”, the world’s first aerosol spray-tan ModelCo TAN Airbrush in a Can, staggering success was quickly achieved. In 2004, Shelley sold her modelling agency to fund growth in the new business, turning ModelCo into an international cosmetics empire.
Providing women with stylish, high quality, quick-fix products has always been the basis of iconic beauty brand, ModelCo:
“We’ve learnt that beauty doesn’t have to be hard,” says Shelley. “At ModelCo we create products for women who want to look and feel their best whilst enjoying a busy lifestyle. That’s what ModelCo is about – achievable, every day glamour”
In addition to product innovation and listening to her customers, Shelley has a knack for identifying and securing the right faces and figures to represent the ModelCo brand. Her background in the modelling industry giving her the advantage to pick the faces needed to have a halo effect over the brand. The ModelCo brand’s history is fuelled with spectacular “WOW” moments – from celebrity ambassador appearances, product launches, retail displays, fashion show spectaculars to high profile luxurious brand holidays.
Hailed as one of Australia’s brightest entrepreneurs, Shelley has won a number of awards including Ernst & Young – Young Entrepreneur of the Year and American Express Award for Fastest Growing Small Business in 2004.
“At ModelCo we like thinking outside the square, we know what products women need before they even know they need them.” says Barrett.
Her opinion is constantly sought out for comment in the media on business, beauty and fashion articles and Shelley is regularly profiled in the top media outlets in Australia and worldwide including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, The Sydney Morning Herald, BRW, The Daily Telegraph, news.com.au and more.
Shelley is also a committee member of sunSCHine for Sydney Children’s Hospital and an avid supporter of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.