My small business startup story, how I moved from selling millions of biscuits to making natural beauty products via babies!
Spring is in the air in Sydney and I am getting butterflies twirling round my tummy as everything comes together for the soft launch of Lip Nourish mid September.
This has been such a big journey for me, I had the idea nearly 5 years ago to make 'make up from the healthy foods your skin craves' and it's taken so long to get to this point....but that is what happens when you work 15hrs a week (& take 18 months off in the middle) because you don't want to sacrifice the precious time you have to be with your little ones but still want something (in my case a business) of your own.
It's a far cry from 'pre- kids' when I would work 60-80 hours pw, service DJ's, Coles & Myer, major airlines & 5 star hotels, fly into London to do new product presentations to Harvey Nichols, Tesco's & Sainsbury and then whip up a new menu offer for Qantas economy from 'wo to go' in 3 weeks, not to mention monthly reports to my private equity investors. (remember Luken & May Biscuits?)
But I sit at my desk at home now, feeling very supported and 'up-to-date' in this new online world and very proud of what I have been able to do, I am feeling so pleased that the world is really starting to care about not only what we eat but what we use on our body.
As a food scientist from eons ago I dipped (more likely dug deep) into my knowledge of food, nutrition and formulation development (melting points, emulsification, emollients, shelf life, stability testing) to create the initial concept of making a natural lippie from food to 'feed your lips'. I researched the oils, their properties and benefits to skin & lips, I questioned why synthetic flavours and colours were used, why ingredients were added that were not needed in a 'low water activity' system such as lip & cheek colour. ie micro 'bugs ' don't normally grow in make up as there is no available moisture to keep them alive so why put preservatives in them in the first place? I looked at natural anti-oxidants (such as Vitamin E & rosemary oil) to stop the less stable mono or polyunsaturated oils (eg flax seed, wheat germ, sesame oil) from going rancid (as we don't want free radicals flying around unnecessarily) instead of toxic preservatives. I researched how lip products were made - the difference between a gloss & balm and lipstick - bullet v's bottom fill.
As a new mum, I wanted a lippy that I could wear all day every day to give me that little bit of a lift. Not something that yelled ' you've got lipstick on' but something that filled in the lips, gave a hint of natural colour & lustre and felt soft and creamy not slippery and greasy, and tasted so good I'd want to gobble it all up. When you are looking after babies and toddlers, you are at the bottom of priority list so if there was something small and special that I could keep in my pocket that looked and felt good (not just a chap stick or a 'every body knows it' brand) then that would bring a smile to my face. Not to mention not needing a mirror to apply as it was so sheer. (& who has time for one besides the reversing mirror at the traffic lights - sound familiar?
My manufacturers in Melbourne have now finished making the 7 varieties, the gorgeous cursive writing stickers have been delivered for applying by hand (impossible to do by machine for the look we want - we were inspired by the nail art technique), the fabric wraps (digitally printed with ingredients used in Lip Nourish) and product info (so you are fully informed - what it is, what it does, ingredient statement, etc) are being printed on frosted paper as I write.
I have taught myself how to create websites from scratch, I picked up hubStar's camera and took the product & support pics as my girlfriend Jo helped style and turned what would normally be a very stressful time in a fabulous journey. I have just run a promotion with cosmetic sampling company Bellabox so I could get raw feedback on the products (there were no labels or wraps or trimmings on the packaging) - it's been fun and I have learnt very quickly that young girls don't like shades of brown (so sorry if you are reading this and received that shade in your Bellabox) and they are far more sheer than you expect.
My butterflys are fluttering tho as this is really just the beginning; of showing and selling my products, of sharing with your how to look after yourself with fabulously fresh, healthy and simple foods and how those nourishing ingredients really can power your self belief and what I believe is true beauty. If a woman really loves what she does and believes in herself...the vitality and radiance that exudes from her is more-ishly delicious, truly beauty-full...just ask any man worth knowing!