The fine art of evoking travel memories with beautiful products

APPELLES founder and CEO Paul Tsalikis draws inspiration for his skin and lifestyle products from art and nature.

Apelles of Kos was considered one of the greatest painters of ancient Greece, a reputation forged by descriptions of his work in classical texts rather than any surviving art. 

Art historians believe Apelles’s love for Alexander the Great’s mistress Campaspe inspired 15th century artist Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and 18th century artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Alexander the Great and Campaspe in the Studio of Apelles.

appelles hand sanitiser product

Closer to home, Apelles was also an inspiration for CEO Paul Tsalikis’s brand APPELLES Apothecary & Lab. APPELLES Apothecary & Lab hair and skin products can be found in hotels worldwide, including the RACV Club.

“My heritage is Greek and when I heard the story of Apelles, I felt a real connection,” Paul says.

“He was an eccentric, known for rolling himself in herbs, spices and paint, and drawing inspiration from his surroundings. That idea of being connected to the environment really reflected my vision for my company.”

Paul’s desire to create a high-end beauty and lifestyle brand also stemmed from his travels, which began at a young age.  “My dad worked for Qantas and I was lucky to travel to Fiji and the Pacific Islands when I was young,” Paul says. “I was exposed to different cultures and landscape, to exotic fauna and flora, and that really gave me a different perspective on life.”

As his travels expanded to Asia and Europe, he noticed how products could evoke memories of places and moments in time when he was back home. 

“I had a bottle of shampoo from a hotel in Paris and as soon as I used in my shower at home, it reminded me of being in Paris again,” he says. “I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful to go beyond retail and have products in hotels that gave people that kind of experience?”

With the aim of creating “sensory experiences”, many APPELLES products contain native Australian ingredients, such as Kakadu Plum, Blue Mallee Eucalyptus and Lemon Myrtle.

“I wanted to make products that were easy to understand,” Paul says. 

“What I have found in the new consumer age of beauty and cosmetics is that you pick up a product and it’s so confusing because of the chemistry jargon. Instead, we tell consumers what the hero extract is in each product, so when they use, for example the Rosella Shampoo from our Green Range, they know that rosella is a rich antioxidant.” 

The company’s latest product is Lemon Verbena Hand Sanitiser, which has the high-alcohol content necessary to kill germs. It can be bought in conjunction with the APPELLES Vitamin B5 Skin Lotion to stop the alcohol drying out the skin. 

Paul says online sales give customers an easy way to relive their travel experiences.

“We’ve created a foolproof process. If you stay in a hotel and love our products, you can order them online and by the time you get back home, your package is waiting for you at your front doorstep. You don’t need to worry about airport baggage restrictions or the containers breaking.”

APPELLES is also about beautiful things and the vintage-style apothecary packaging reflects the brand’s luxury status. “Our products create emotional experiences and I think that is the reason we have been so successful,” Paul says.

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