Its not everyday a gold medal Olympian comes to visit you at work, luckily myself and Michael Klim had met a few times prior, topped with the fact that he is a top honest guy with an amazing product, meant it was gonna be a good afternoon.
When you think of what an Olympian would look like your not going to be far away from Michael Kilm, 191cm, massive shoulders, chiseled features and to top it off, the best skin ever!!!! and why... because not only is he a gold medalist, not only is he a genuinely nice guy, he is also foundered and owns his own skincare range, Milk & Co.
TS: Tell me the story of how it all began?
MK: As a swimmer you have to look after your skin to ensure that it doesn’t dry out from all of the chlorine and salt water. As a result, I’ve always been very partial to personal grooming and especially moisturiser. I was also approached by other beauty brands in the past and after studying the market saw more value (and challenge) in launching my own range. There was also a gap in the market at the time when we launched (in 2008) for an Australian men’s grooming range created by an Aussie bloke (who understands their skincare needs and buying habits). So, I spoke to a few people in the industry, created a small offering, presented to a few key retailers and the rest is history.
TS: How did you come up with the design for the packaging?
MK: I really appreciate good packaging design as in many instances it is the first contact customers have with the brand. The initial men’s packaging was model on a whiskey glass where the bottle felt tangible and masculine (we even experimented with a double walled bottle for a while) with our signature Milk/ KLIM curves throughout. The hardest part was designing packing that could be functional and effective and represent our brand across 3 categories (men’s, women’s and baby) , we recently rebranded, reengineered and refined our offerings (across all three ranges.. I know it sounds like a cliché but we really listened to our customers to get it right. Now I’m really proud of the designs, I think they’re standout and perfect for every Aussie home; they look good and are easy to read (something we’ve worked really hard on)!
TS: When did you decide to expand internationally? Where is your biggest market?
MK: Australia is our flagship and continues to be focus and biggest market. We’re really focused on continuing the growth of the brand and with some markets which create more reward also present a lot of challenges and risk. Further to that we have also been working hard on growing the brand in the Asian market, especially China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Which collectively represent nearly half of our revenue.
TS: What’s your personal grooming routine?
MK: Three things that are important in a men’s skincare routine are WASH, NOURISH, PROTECT
In the mornings I use the KLIM Wash Shower Scrub (Face and body) in the shower. I then shave with the KLIM Shave Gel, I like it because it’s non-abrasive and really easy to use. Then I moisturise with KLIM Face Moisturiser + Sunscreen. Simple steps but effective!
TS: Who’s your style inspiration?
MK: In all honesty I don’t really have one but I do admire the men that have their own sense of style, are consistent…
Going by those parameters it’s hard to go past Tom Ford, David Beckham and Kayne West
TS: What’s your typical fitness routine?
MK: My routine is that I don’t really have one… I try a stick to one rule though move my body daily. Some days that is swimming or a surf and others days it may be a HIIT session or weight training. I try to mix it up as much as possible and now that I’m getting a bit older I need to constantly adjust my sessions around aches and pains but the only thing that remain constant is I get in the water at least twice a week.
TS: You’re a dad, how do you manage fatherhood and running a business?
MK: Ultimately when I was swimming I felt like I was juggling one big ball now I feel like I’m juggling lots of little ones (laughs). A typical day in Bali (where we are based) is much more relaxed and focused around the kids. I get to do the school run of a morning before work and fit in a bit of exercise. However, when I’m in Sydney or Melbourne it’s manic and I’m often doing media interviews, meeting with customers, distributors or my Milk & Co team and attending work events. I try to keep the travel (to Australia) down to once a month now so I can spend as much time with my kids as possible.
TS: You are taking part in Polished man along with other charities, what appealed to you about this cause?
MK: Polished Man raises funds to help end violence against children all over the world. I found their statistics quite alarming; One child dies every 5 minutes as a result of violence AND statistically men are 90 per cent more likely to be the perpetrator. As both a father (and a man) I think it’s a HUGE issue that needs to be talked about. I want to help Polished Man raise awareness and encourage men to be good role models, good leaders and ultimately protectors of their children.
TS: How did you adapt from being an Olympic swimmer and your rigorous training program once you retired?
MK: It’s was quite tricky… swimming was my entire focus for so long and when that was removed I had to mind other areas of interest/passion that I could channel my emotional energy towards. I was lucky enough that I started my own family and also KLIM around that time so I have an instant outlet which was helpful. Exercise is still a big part of my lifestyle and I try to keep some structure around that when possible.
TS: What’s your take on the Australian menswear scene?
MK: I feel that the men’s fashion scene has evolved considerable of late with guys researching and staying on top of global trends/fads through social media and seems that men have also embraced the convenience accessibility of global brands by shopping online via platforms such as the “Iconic”. Men’s seem to be very considered in their approach to putting a look together from suiting to street wear which is great. I’m enjoying seeing the growth of high end street wear and athletic market which illustrates to me that the fashion scene is quite progressive at the moment.
TS: Whats your favourite brand to wear and why?
MK: Bassike without a doubt… I love their high-end design, great construction with everyday wearability and functionality.
TS: What are you 3 key wardrobe pieces?
MK: I’d say my black T, drop crotch trouser and quality sneaker.
TS: Favourite restaurant?
MK: Hard to name just one being a foodie I enjoy all different types of cuisine from modern Australian to Asian and fusion. So I’d say Chiswick, Chin Chin, Apollo and 38 Chairs
TS: Favourite place in the world?
MK: I don’t know if I have just one… I love Capri in Italy, it’s a beautiful little Island with the clearest oceans I’ve ever seen but I also love Sumba in Indonesia it’s raggedness is beautiful it also has amazing surf which is a huge bonus.
TS: If you could give one bit of advice what would it be?
MK: I’ve gone from competitive swimming to running my own skincare business, so I’ve definitely learnt a lot of lessons since I started on this journey 10 years ago. The ups and downs along the way have taught me that you have to be perseverant, resilient, innovative and self-confident. Valuing yourself and surrounding yourself with a good bunch of people is also key to achieving your goals!