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The recall that almost sank the world’s most popular fake tan brand

The New Investors video series brought to you by Yahoo Finance reveals the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in Australia today. This is the seventh episode of the season.

Bondi Sands is an Australian fake tan brand now loved by fans all over the world.

But there was once a time when it made people look green. Like a frog.

The company had just signed a massive distribution deal with the pharmacy giant Priceline, co-founder Shaun Wilson told Yahoo Finance's New Investors.

"Our first batch became green. [Business partner] Blair and I were in LA and, as I said, we're doing everything from emails to Facebook. And we started to get a couple of messages from customers saying, ‘Is your product supposed to be green?’"

Wilson hoped at the time that it was just one or two bad tubes. But then the complaints kept flooding in.

"Next 24 hours, we received about 200 emails or Facebook messages that our product was green."

Product recall

How can a skincare company survive such a calamity? Not easily.

Bondi Sands was embarrassingly forced to recall the first batch after inking their first massive deal with one of the biggest retailers in the country.

"To put all your funds into something and then obviously have a recall was extremely concerning - and very frustrating at the time as well," Wilson told Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Sarah O'Carroll.

The incident was devastating both financially and psychologically.

"We invested close to a million dollars into the business," said Wilson.

Images: Shaun Wilson/Instagram and Getty

"And that's all we had. So we were pretty close on that fine line and that was probably the first time and maybe the only time in terms of my Bondi Sands career that I really nearly - I didn't give up - but I thought I'd failed."

The personal toll was not insignificant.

"From a behavioural point of view for me, I was just tired. It was three years of work, I was doing my corporate job during the day, working at two or three in the morning each night," Wilson said.

"The girlfriend at the time didn't want to have anything to do with me."

See how Shaun Wilson and Bondi Sands climbed out of the depths of despair in the New Investors video above.

The New Investors video series brought to you by Yahoo Finance reveals the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in Australia today. This is the seventh episode of the season.