Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Erin from Tinka the Label

I always envisioned Meet the Makers being this beautiful thing that constantly was evolving and becoming better. So it excites me to see all the wonderful Makers from Beauty, Food, Bloggers and Designers who are excited to be part of this.

With that being said, I’m excited to welcome Erin from Tinka the Label to Meet the Makers. Erin is an extremely talented designer of jewellery and is located right here in Melbourne. This wonderful business she has created and grown, started when she was just 17 when she designed the pieces she wanted to wear for her school formal – amazing!

I met Erin nearly 2 years ago (time flies!) at Rose St Artists Market in Fitzroy, Melbourne. I was new to Melbourne and was just so impressed with her gorgeous pieces!

Not only is Erin extremely talented at design, she is and extremely driven business chick having collaborated with Square in their campaigns.

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“To me, jewellery is the instrument used to state who you are” – Erin Browne


R. After such a massive week, with the launch of your new Spring/Summer range on Wednesday I wanted to thank you for taking part tonight!
Although I touched on it a little, tell us – what lead you to starting Tinka the Label?

E. I always knew what I wanted but couldn’t find it anywhere so I started making it instead. After years of making jewellery as a hobby (with love ones telling me I should sell it) I decided to give it a crack (but that was only once I had cured my itchy feet and was content in settling in one place)

R. If you weren’t busy designing beautiful new pieces (the Spring/Summer range is gorgeous!), what would you be doing with yourself?

E. I always wanted to be in the film industry so I’d probably be chasing that dream…having said that, it is still something that I see doing, just need to focus on one dream at a time haha

R. Since starting Tinka the Label, what have you found to be the biggest challenge?

E. Social media. It’s not something I’m particularly into personally but it’s grown so dramatically that your business suffers without it. I guess I’m a bit of an old soul that needs to keep up with the times

R. Gone are the days of traditional marketing. Social media is such a crazy beast. You are correct in saying, that every business needs to have it. Not only that though but engaging with customers is extremely important too. At Tinka the Label, what does any given day look like?

E. Definitely starts with a coffee…and then some. As a small business owner the “to do list” is never-ending but I have to write it out and cross them off so I can physically see what I’ve accomplished in the day, otherwise I get a little hard on myself and think I’ve done nothing all day (even though I’ve worked like 14 hours).

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Gia

R. The to-do list is a great idea, I need to jot things down so I don’t forget ha!
What is your best tip on how to overcome hurdles in the business world?

E. The best thing to do is deal with it, things just don’t go away. Nothing ever comes easy and even when things get tough you’ve got to step back and assess the situation because it’s not the end of the world, just a little obstacle to overcome. If you learn from these situations, you’ll become a stronger person (and business) for it.

R. That is honestly the best bit of advice I think I’ve ever heard. It’s so true that when things get tough, just re-asses as it isn’t the end of the world – amazing!
A friend comes to you and mentions they want to start a business, what advice would you give them?

E. Don’t go into it half heartedly. We all have expectations and goals but sometimes they take longer than we hope, so you just have to go with the motions. There’s no such thing as an over night success.

R. What’s next for Tinka the Label?

E. Yes! I have just launched my latest collection Secret Garden. I’ve worked on this collection for a long time so I’m so happy to have finally released it!!!

R. The launch party looked fantastic and the new pieces absolutely stunning! So proud of you girl! Now I know there is no rest when working on your own business, but how do you let your hair down and have fun?

E. I’m definitely a beach bum so soak that up any chance I get (was much easier when I lived on the Gold Coast), I love doing outdoor activities and try to tick off as many items on my bucket list when I can (like skydiving, hang gliding etc), I love camping and road trips, belly laughs til I cry, and basically anything where I am with my close friends and family. I’ve also been skateboarding so hopefully I get a little better this summer.

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R. Skateboarding is one sport I’ve never been able to manage – even with a bunch of practice as a child so that’s some skill right there! Where do you draw inspiration from?

My customers. They’re everything to me. The advantage of selling in person at the markets is that I get to know my customers! There’s nothing more rewarding when they come in to see me, even if it’s just to say hello or to have a chat.

R. I love the client/maker interaction, it’s wonderfully rewarding building those connections. Have you figured out your purpose?

E. My purpose is to not only create jewellery that is different to the mainstream market, but for my customers to have a memorable experience with Tinka the Label from start to finish. I don’t want to just sell a product, I want them to be proud of their investment, because that’s what it is, they’re investing in you!

R. What is your biggest self-care tip?

E. Learn to switch off. I’m always on some sort of screen for work so it’s the last thing I want to be looking at when I’m not working. I’ve pushed and pushed myself at times but it eventually catches up with you, so you need to learn to have balance.

R. I’m trying to be mindful of having all my work done before I get home so I can just refocus on being present at home – but its such a challenge! As a jewellery designer, what is your favourite piece of jewellery?

E. Oh god, that’s too hard…but you’ll always see me in one of my statement pieces!

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Flora

R. Of course I need to ask this next questions, what is your go-to skin care or make up product?

E. Red lippy. Straight away I feel instant glam!

R. You manage to get some time free to explore, where is your favourite place where you can just zone out and enjoy life?

E. I have two spots that are my favourite places in the world and they both involve a lighthouse and are the perfect spot for whale watching. One of them is Byron Bay and the other…well I’m just going to keep that one for me.

R. Oh no! You can’t keep a secret like that from us, perhaps you can let us in on where to get the best coffee in Melbourne? 

E. Oh god, that’s hard! Some places it depends on who is the barista but I’ve found The Glass Merchant in Balaclava to be spot on 👌🏼

R. Ha! So the coffee question is a new one as I am curious where the best coffee in Melbourne is as I absolutely love it. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Meka

Congratulations again on the launch of the new collection and thank you! You are are a wonderful influence and I love your passion for what you are creating.

You can find Erin’s designs here.

Have a wonderful Saturday evening all!

Renee
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Note: All photos used in this interview are courtesy of @tinkathelabel, thank you!

Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Kaishan from Libertea, Prahran Market

Happy Saturday! I actually can’t believe we are in September? Where is the year going, for real!

Tonights guest, Kaishan from Libertea, is simply wonderful. I met her a few months ago at an event for My Blue Tea at Prahran Market. Kaishan gave a wonderful talk about tea and her blend of Butterfly Blue Flowers and Lemon (which is such a beautiful blend!) and was so lovely to speak with – we just clicked.

Fast forward a few weeks and I popped into her shop at Prahran Market and enjoyed a lovely tea tasting, where I learnt a bunch of fun facts. Did you know tea bags can contain bleach and therefore it’s better to use loose leaf tea – no either did I!

I love the little about us section on the Libertea website, where one of the concerns for the shop is the fact it’s situated in a coffee city – Melbourne. While we do love our coffee here, I love how passionate Kaishan is at explaining the different teas and how to drink them. I bet she could turn any coffee drinker into a tea drinker!

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R. Welcome Kaishan to Meet the Makers, it’s wonderful to have you join us. I’m sipping on the Purple Lemon Tea as I write this! 

Let’s start with the all important, what lead you to starting Libertea?

K. A simple wish to do something meaningful, rather than going to work everyday mindlessly just to earn a living. I treat this as a learning experience, and am still finding my way through it!

R. I love that, a learning experience – it gives me goosebumps! I think it’s such a powerful acknowledgement and really we are all still learning as we travel this journey called life!

What would you say is the biggest challenge when running your own business?

K. To prioritize my to do list, and to prioritize my personal life and work. Your passion very easily keeps you up 2am in the morning planning and replying emails. Then your body will tell you the next day at 8am to hit the snooze button because you need rest as a human!!

R. I agree, I can easily write lists and lists far into the night with plans and ideas but my body isn’t very thankful for that the next morning. 

With that being said, how do you balance living in such a digital world?

K. I try to turn off notifications and set out a fixed time when I can check my social media. I also won’t check my phone on my days off.

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R. It can be tempting to think “I’ll just reply to this one email” and next minute an hour has passed and you are still working away. 

Walk us through what any given day looks like for you.

K. I am most likely running late to open the shop, spend the first 30 minutes setting up, brew myself a tea, decide what has to be done and what I feel like doing, and dedicate my time according to my interests and my energy levels.

Some days I will just rearrange shelves because I need a break from my computer and from stock ordering.

R. Running a business comes with a few challenges here and there, how do you take time out to rest the mind?

K. Chatting with my friends, playing with my son, breathing exercises. I find that being at the present moment is very important. So I will harass whoever happens to be close to me when I am feeling overwhelmed, and as soon as you voice your concerns, they don’t seem as daunting as they were in your head.

 R. It’s wonderful you can surround yourself with a support network especially when facing hurdles. 

How do you deal with negativity?

R. I try to focus on the bigger picture. I will try to picture 3 months from now where I will be. Trusting and believing your potentials facing all odds is very important and a lesson I need to learn.

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R. Your business is in consumables, how important is the use of organic/natural ingredients to you and your brand?

K. It’s not important, it’s essential! We are very trusting when we buy.
When we pick up a packet of tea from a shop, we most likely expect it to be 100% natural loose leaf however often than not, if you read the labels, you will find flavorings, coloring, even added sugar in them. Why?

For a tea that takes months to grow, and days to harvest; some even need to be handpicked, oxidized, rolled, then roasted into dried leaves; then we take consideration of the costs of packaging, marketing and distributing, and it’s still priced at $3.99 a packet! The price speaks loudly on the quality. It’s like paying $10 for 4 litres of boxed wine, that’s why additives are needed to make it taste more decent. At Libertea, we focus on letting the natural ingredients shine through. We will tell you where we source the teas, when they were picked, what else is added, and how to brew them!

Nothing artificial needed for our tea experience!

R. Outside of Libertea and juggling being a mama, how do you like to have fun!

K. I am a foodie, and a casual yogi, love reading about spiritual growth, as I had a major life crisis and awakening a few years ago.

R. I feel if you live in Melbourne and are not a foodie, are you even a real Melbournian ha!

You mentioned you had an awakening a few years ago, with that have you figured out your purpose?

K. My purpose is just to pass on positive energy to everyone and anyone I meet. I met some very generous and amazing people who helped me get though my crisis. I am trying to do the same for others.

R. It’s a those times of need when we build extremely strong relationships. I’m grateful you had that support network by your side.

What’s your favourite part of the day?

K. Doing silly dancing and singing with my 3 year old.

R. Ha! I bet it’s a real hoot, it would also be a stress reliever!

Where do you draw inspiration from each day?

K. Knowing that I will be learning something new or meeting someone new. One of the advantages of having your own shop is you are guaranteed to meet new people every day.

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R. Biggest self-care tip?

K. Remember to breath….

R. As Chief Tea Officer at Libertea, do you have anything further you would like to add?

Say no to teabags!!! They are not biodegradable and full of chemicals!

R. Thank you again Kaishan for your time, I’m so grateful to have met you – you are wonderful!

Libertea is celebrating their 1st birthday par-tea on Sunday the 16th of September from 10 to 2.30pm at Prahran Market where you can pop in a taste any tea your heart desires, there will be cake (yes, Kaishan had me at cake!), party hats and bags plus random giveaways. If you would be keen to attend let me know, I’d love to join you!

Have a wonderful evening,

Renee

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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Greg from Grampians Olive Co.

Something a little exciting is happening tonight! After just over 3 months getting to know some amazing beauty Makers, tonight we are doing something a little different.

I’ve always wanted to celebrate all Makers, even Chefs, Restaurant Owners etc. It’s just I thought beauty was a great place to start. In saying that, tonight, we are chatting with Greg from the Grampians Olive Co. I met Greg roughly the same time that Meet the Makers started, when I visited his family farm and did a wonderful tour of the grove. You can read about our visit here.

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The Grampians Olive Co. is a wonderful family owned business. The day I was there, Greg’s father was working on the machines and I’m pretty certain that Greg’s brother made our coffees.

What I love also, is the grove is certified organic, they rely on rainfall to water the trees and use sheep to not only fertilise the soil but eat the bottom of the trees to keep them in tip-top shape.

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R. Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us, I imagine you are quite busy with the upcoming birthday celebrations! Tell us, what lead you and your family to this point?

G. My family and I took over nurturing the olive grove which will be marking its 75th year this Spring for a change of pace in life and to get back to nature. When we took over the grove in 2008 it was already a flourishing business that had cultivated a reputation of being Australia’s best producer of premium quality organic olive products and today, we honour its history and through our careful custodianship of the land, we are devoted to its best practice and organic principles.

R. As a family business, where you are all contributing to the growth and day-to-day running, I’d love to know what any given day looks like for you?

G. I can go from packing orders to ship directly to our customers, to opening our farm shop mid-morning, serving up some of our delicious platters for lunch customers to taking a drive around the grove in the afternoon to check on our olive trees and how pruning is coming along – which is after our year’s harvest.

R. I haven’t had dinner yet, and now I am dreaming of that platter with the gorgeous dukkah and the Grampians Olive Co. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – yum! What would you say is the biggest challenge in business?

For us here at Grampians Olive Co, we are always at the mercy of the weather – our location at the foot of the Northern Grampians was chosen specifically for its ideal Mediterranean climate which is required for producing quality organic olive oil – that is hot dry summers and cool wet winters but as you know you can’t always predict what the seasons will do.

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R. You definitely can’t predict what the weather will do, especially in a place like Melbourne! Why is the use of organic/natural ingredients important to your business?

G. Our olive grove has been certified organic by NASAA (Cert. No. #3232P) and organic farming practices have been employed since the beginning when our trees were hand planted in the virgin soil. When it comes to feeding our family and growing food, we wouldn’t have it any other way – and nor should our customers.

R. As time moves forward we are incredibly lucky to be able to access more organic produce for our families, especially as farming practices evolve. 

Everyday brings new challenges, how do you overcome those?

G. I thrive on change and challenge – providing you look at every challenge as an opportunity.  Whilst it can make business a little stressful, challenges can make businesses fun, adaptable and interesting.

R. We mentioned that the business is celebrating its upcoming 75th birthday, anything new or exciting on the horizon?

G. Just recently we released our 2018 Olio Nuovo – each harvest season we bottle Olio Nuovo (new oil) – a special limited release of unfiltered cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from the first olives harvested each season. Picked, cold pressed, unfiltered and bottled within 24 hours while still cloudy – the flavours are amazingly vibrant and fruity, as fresh as you can get! We still have a few bottles so get your order in so you don’t miss out.

Our 2litre cask, whilst it’s been available for many years, is an exciting way to buy our Grampians Olive Oil – not only is it easier to open than a tin but it preserves the quality and integrity of olive oil, meaning it stays fresher for longer.

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R. I remember trying the extra virgin olive oils treat from the press, the flavour was amazing and incredibly deep. 

If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?

G. It’s an easy answer – we’d be travelling the world.

R. Geez that’s the dream isn’t it! Outside of the business, what hobbies do you enjoy?

G. I am passionate about growing organic vegetables and hiking…but between running my own business and my growing family, I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies!

R. I speak often about purpose, and have it answered in nearly every interview – have you figured out yours?

G. I am a perfectionist, my purpose is to do the best I can in everything I do every day (for my own satisfaction) – something our customers benefit from.

R. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a business, it’s sometimes nice to sit down and reflect on it all. Do you take time to reflect and practice gratitude?

I am incredibly grateful to be doing what I am doing everyday, something both my family and I love. Sharing sample product with our customers and giving to charity are just some of the ways we show how thankful we are to be doing something we truly love.

R. Days can be long in a small business, with a never-ending to-do list! What is your favourite part of the day and where do you draw inspiration from?

Being greeted by kids when I come home – working on the olive grove is a full-time job and I can often be up way before they rise in the morning.

I am inspired by my family, our beautiful grove and of course our customers that love what we do – all the reasons I need to jump out of bed and appreciate what I have got.

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R. With the long days, comes the need to look after yourself and acknowledge what you are putting in. Any self-care tips?

G. Running a business doesn’t stop – so I do need to remind myself regularly to switch off and just enjoy what I have around me.

R. Switching off, one of the hardest things for any small business! Especially in this day and age where you can be contacted easily anywhere in the world.

Finally, where is your favourite place in there world where you can just relax?

G. Hiking in the Grampians – just a hop, skip and jump from home.

R. Amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, I absolutely love what you and your family are doing for organic farming.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming 75th birthday celebrations!

Enjoy the read all, and have a wonderful Saturday night!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Mary from Davroe (Dresslier)

Welcome, welcome. I hope everyone is comfy and holding a glass of delicious red wine, or in my case a Maccas Soy Cap!

Our next guest in the Meet the Makers series is incredibly inspiring, without giving too much away, our guest started with the company she eventually took over at the tender age of 15 years old – how amazing is that?

I was doing a little research into Dresslier, and was fascinated to learn it was founded in 1930 by chemist John Sloan. In the mid 1980’s the concept for a natural plant-based hair care product was born. In 1987, not only was I born (ha!) but Davroe was also born – perhaps this is why I love this brand so much!

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I’ve written two blogs previously on Davroe, I love this brand! Why? The products are vegan friendly, cruelty free AND use native Australian botanics such as Kakadu Plum (one of my faves!) and Desert Lime. You can find my review of the Scalp Remedy Trio here.

R. Welcome Mary to Meet the Makers! I love all my interviews, but your story is very exciting – I can’t wait to hear more about you and how you got to where you are today. Tell us, how did it all unfold?

M. I started with Dresslier in 1984 as the company telephonist/receptionist at the age of 15, I then had the opportunity to take over the company in 2007. This was a big decision as I had been with the company for approx. 22 years and had two young children.

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R. That is incredible, I love that you had the guts to take that next step and take over the company. Especially with juggling 2 young children.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you face in business?

M. Finding the balance between business and home, having amazing staff is a bonus, it has taken us some time to find the right people but we are in a great space at the moment.

R. Good staff is so important, and it’s a common thing I hear. Even today #9tothrive, one of the speakers was talking about the importance of having staff that are capable, inspired and passionate – especially if you ever need to take time away from the business.

Challenges in business is inevitable, how do you unwind or move through any challenges you are faced with?

M. I have just learnt along the way to cope with different things as they come along. I think maturity and experience with dealing with things over many years also helps. I know this sounds cliché, but in all honesty life is too short, so make hay, while the sun shines.

R. I love that proverb. It’s something I’ve been trying to focus on, enjoying life and living for now. If you weren’t running Davroe, where do you think you would be?

M. That’s a very good question as I really haven’t had a chance to think about it in the last 34 years. At the time when I was asked to interview for my original position I was 15 and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So this is all I have ever done and needed. I have been fortunate that my roles along the way have involved many varied “jobs” all of which I have loved.

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R. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say! I personally believe being stagnant in a role is one of the contributing factors as to why people change roles so often these days. We just need that variety sometimes.

Talk me through what your day-to-day looks like.

M. Up in the morning, help the kids get ready for school, both John and I get breakfast ready as we still like to have breakfast together every day, same as dinner, we think that’s very important for our family unit. Either John or I will take Michael to school, Sophia drives herself now.

Once at work I will address emails that have come through overnight, get ready for any meetings we have scheduled for the day. I still oversee the financials of the company as well as all marketing and promotion for Australia. Most my time is taken up with export and new overseas markets.

R. Wow, there is certainly a bit of variety in your day. I love how you balance that important family time with John, Michael & Sophia in the mornings then be able to conquer all the business related tasks!

Davroe is cruelty-free, vegan friendly and uses plant & flower extracts – how important is this to the brand?

M. Very important, in a world where we watch what we eat and put on our faces and bodies, that’s equally important for our hair. We have access to so many wonderful ingredients nowadays.

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R. We really do have access to some amazing ingredients and I absolutely love what Makers are doing with them – I must say, the Murray River Sea Salt Spray is genius – taking Australian ingredients to the next level!

The next question is one of my favourites, what’s next for Davroe?

M. We are always working on new and exciting things, we have just launched our Revive Dry Shampoo and our Complete Aerosol Hairspray.

We have some new products being launched very soon, actually we are just about to launch our new Styling product, Body Volume Texture it is a liquid to foam volumiser. Our focus groups have absolutely loved this product, we can’t wait for it to hit the shelves!

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R. Oh my, I’ve seen a few sneak peeks of the Body Volume Texture on Instagram! I can’t wait for that!

One of my favourite topics is purpose and gratitude, I absolutely love hearing about people’s thoughts on this. Tell me, have you figured out your purpose and how do you practice gratitude?

M. My purpose? Not sure about that, I just want to be a good mum, daughter, sister, friend and help as many people along the way. Being a good employer and being here for my staff while taking our great Australian brand to the world!

I love to give where we can, I am a very big believer in doing good and the universe will give good back.

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R. Mary, I honestly love that so much – see you have your purpose down pat! I’m with you on the gratitude aspect, I’m always saying “just be a good person”. It’s honestly the most easiest thing to do and the most rewarding.

What is your favourite part of the day?

M. Although I enjoy everyday, I particularly love dinner time with my family, it’s the time we can all discuss our day and if we need to talk anything through, that goes if the kids have anything to share or we will quite often let the kids know what’s happening in the business.

R. Now I wouldn’t be a true Beauty Writer if I didn’t ask you what your beauty routine looked like. Talk us through your routine.

M. Great hair care products work a treat and a good skin care routine is important. I always remove my make up when I get home and always use a good night cream.
In the morning using a good skin foundation before applying makeup helps to set my make up for the day. Monthly visits to Sean at The London Skin Clinic certainly helps too!

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R. I might need to google The London Skin Clinic and pay a visit, you’re always glowing in photos I see of you! Favourite skin care or makeup product?

M. Go to make up that I love – Too Faced primer, Urban Decay-All Nighter. Skin care I love is Omorovicza Moisturiser and Zo Skin Polish

R. Omorovicza is amazing! I picked up the travel set a few months back, the Cleansing Foam is pure indulgence.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to have a chat with us, I loved hearing your story and it’s certainly inspired me to keep kicking my goals. 

Friends, keep your eyes peeled on my socials this week as I have a very exciting giveaway happening! There may just be a little clue in the interview.

Have a wonderful night!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Cal & Dee from moJè Essentials

Tonight we are chatting with a great organic/green, local Victorian brand – Moje Essentials. Founded by Cal & Dee, who both shared a passion for green living and creating better environments for their children.

I have been using both the Hand & Body Wash plus the Dishwashing Liquid, the range is free from parabens, sulphates, bleach and synthetic fragrances. Instead the use of natural ingredients such as sweet orange oil act as an antibacterial.

I have been using their Hand & Body Wash plus the Dishwashing Liquid, which smell so good! The Hand & Body Wash leaves a delightful scent and leaves my hands feeling clean. I love the bright & happy packaging – it makes the bathroom pop!

With two different scent ranges, the Hand & Body Wash comes in Lemon Myrtle and Avocado or Lavender and Ylang Ylang. While the Dishwashing Liquid comes in Lavender or Sweet Orange & Clementine.
Recently the welcomed the Sweet Orange Room Mist to the collection, this is next on my list!

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R. Welcome Cal & Dee to Meet the Makers! I am super excited to hear about your journey and a little about moJè Essentials! Tell me, what made you both think of starting moJè Essentials?

C&D. We’ve both had a passion for natural living and making our own products for some time now and having children just made it so much more important to us. That’s when we decided to turn that passion into a business and help spread the word about using less chemicals.

R. “What if” you weren’t running moJè Essentials? What do you think you would both be doing?

C&D. That’s a tough one, we’d probably be in a job we didn’t really love and working out how to start this business.

R. It’s so common to get stuck in a job you don’t want to do, but have to do right? It’s wonderful that you were both able to form a partnership and work on this beautiful brand. What do you find the biggest challenge in business?

C&D. Balancing family life and business life. You never switch off when you run a business so trying to find the right balance can be challenging at times.

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R. Balance, it’s a common theme I keep hearing. I can fully understand, it can be so tricky to switch off and just be present in the moment.
How do you deal with negativity & self doubt?

C&D. I think that’s one of the great things about having 2 of us in the business, talking through any negativity is so important, we try and brush ourselves off and get on with it.

R. I love that, it’s so important to have a support person and great that you are able to bounce things off each other – what a team! What does any given day look like for you both?

C&D. We both have families so it starts with getting everyone ready and out of the house in time for school and activities. We try to squeeze a workout in as much as time allows then its business time. Returning emails, scheduling social media, writing blogs, packing orders and all the fun admin behind the scenes. Then we put our Mum hats back on until the kids go to bed, when we finish up any business that needs taking care of.

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R. You mentioned above that you are both passionate about natural living, with that being said how important is the use of organic/natural ingredients to you and your brand

C&D. We use 100% natural ingredients in our products which is extremely important for our brand. We want our customers to be putting nothing but goodness on their skin and in their homes. It’s our job to help make that happen.

R. Anything new or exciting around the corner for moJè Essentials?

C&D. There’s always something in the pipeline here at moJé essentials. We are extremely excited about our most recent product, our Sweet Orange Room Mist. Our Room Mist is perfect to uplift and freshen up any room in your home, your gym bag, your dogs bed and even bubs room after changing their smelly nappy. It’s a Multi purpose spray that can me used by many people.

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R. Yes! The Sweet Orange Room Mist is next on my list, the bright & happy label is the best. The perfect addition to any room.
We face many challenges in day to day living, especially in business. When you are faced with a challenge, how do you unwind?

C&D. We both find exercise really helpful when relieving stress and a glass of wine always helps too!!

R. Haha, yes a good glass of wine definitely helps with stress relief! Outside of moJè Essentials, what hobbies do you both have?

Dee – We love to get away in our caravan as often as we can, I love to exercise and a good cook up when I have the time.

Cal – I like to exercise and experiment in the kitchen.

R. To be honest, I’ve always been pretty slack on the exercise front but lately I’ve been trying to do more and I agree, it really helps me feel better! 
Have you both figured out your purpose?

Dee – definitely to be the best Mum and Wife I possibly can be and make a difference in people’s lives by switching to natural.

Cal – I try to be the best version of myself. I think your purpose can change over time. Before I had my children I used to challenge myself in my career but now it’s trying to be a good mum and create a business brand which people love and that resonates with them.

R. How about gratitude, is this something you both practice?

Dee – I like to think I’m quite a thoughtful person and try to help people and show compassion as much as I can.

Cal – My family answer two questions at the dinner table each night. What was a good thing that happened today and a not so good thing. We discuss the answers and this can often lead to conversations about how to be kind to people and help others.

R. Oh wow, I love that Cal. I think I might try that with my Hubby this week! 
Where do you both draw inspiration from?

Dee – My kids and my hubby! They’re my entire world and I feel very lucky to have two healthy children and a loving hard-working husband.

Cal – The amount of energy my children have and how selfless and caring my partner is. They inspire me to be a better person.

R. This last week has been pretty rough for me, I’ve had a heap on and still battling this nasty flu. I realised I haven’t really been making time for me. With such a busy workload, juggling the kids and home life how do you both practice self-care?

Dee – Take time out for yourself, whether it’s coffee with a friend or a walk in the sunshine. It can make all the difference to our sometimes stressful lives.

Cal – Remember you can’t do it all and its okay to have some me time every once in a while.

R. So true, actually today I was walking in the sunshine and it instantly made my food elevate. Onto beauty, what does your beauty routine look like?

Dee – I absolutely can’t start or finish my day without cleansing and moisturising and I never leave the house without my mineral make up on.

Cal – I have never been one for lots of makeup but I do wear mascara most days and my natural lip balm and natural deodorant is a must.

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R. I am a cleanser addict, I absolutely love them! Favourite skincare or make up product?

Dee – I’m totally in love with my fit cover mineral make up! It’s vegan, cruelty free and Australian Made.

Cal – I absolutely love using our lemon myrtle and avocado hand and body wash in the shower each morning. The smell wakes me up and leaves my skin nice and smooth.

R. I have absolutely loved getting to know you both! Do you have anything else you would like to add?

C&D. Thanks for promoting natural products and small businesses Renee. We love being surrounded by people such as yourself who are passionate about natural living and supporting small businesses. We have really enjoyed chatting with you.

R. I love that, thank you for the compliment! Don’t worry, I’m over here in your corner shouting your praises! 

Cal & Dee are offering 10% off their products, purchased from their website using code HAPPY10.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Meet the Makers!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Anna from Edible Beauty

“The Edible Beauty Australia philosophy is based on illuminating your natural beauty using pure, wildcrafted and botanical ingredients that are literally good enough to eat.”
– Edible Beauty Website

Edible Beauty, really needs no introduction. This amazing brand, created by Anna Mitsios, has gone from strength to strength since it’s creation. The line is completely vegan (waiting on official certification) and cruelty free.

Starting her career as a naturopath and nutritionist, Anna has created a range of teas that promote well-being, nourishing the body from within and a range of skincare products to protect and strengthen the skin.
The ingredients in the skincare line are that pure and good for your skin that you could actually eat what you are putting on your face, although I would recommend doing that as they have been formulated to make you glow on the outside!

What I love about this brand is the reach it has in promoting Green Beauty. Not only is it sold at Sephora Australia but also stocked at Sephora USA, which I think is an amazing accomplishment. Let’s spread the Green Beauty Movement word!

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R. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us tonight Anna, I’m a little star-struck as I adore your brand and what it stands for! I’d love to start by asking you, what lead to the creation of Edible Beauty?

A. I became inspired to start my own skin care range five years ago when treating clients in my naturopathic practice and seeking a way to improve the management of my own auto-immune condition. It was difficult for me to find products that I could use and recommend that were both 100% natural and also luxurious. I felt there was a need for a product range which was pure enough to be “edible”, but that was also luxurious and a sensual delight to use.

The concept of “edible beauty” developed because I also felt the need to make people aware of the fact that beauty truly does come from the inside. What we put both onto our skin and into our bodies has a lot to do with our outer radiance and glow. Our ‘beauty tea’ and skin care range embodies this philosophy of “inside out beauty” and also reflects my passion and belief in the therapeutic value of botanical herbs, which are abundant in the products.

R. I absolutely adore this concept as its so true, just like unhealthy eating can really affect the skin. If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing and have you figured out your purpose?

A. I would definitely still be running my naturopathic practice on a full-time basis. It is definitely one of my passions and is also incredibly fulfilling for me guiding people to make changes to their health and vitality. I absolutely love prescribing herbal formulas which are customised to client’s health concerns – they have an incredible ability to work quickly and effectively in getting people back on track with their health.

My mission is to spread the word on toxin free beauty and to provide people with tools to address their beauty regimes on both the inside and out. This reflects my holistic approach to health and beauty and my belief that we truly do need an “inside” and “outside” approach to clear and youthful skin.  What we often do not realise is that what we put both on and in our bodies is affecting our vitality.

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R. I absolutely love this to bits, hearing your passion when you speak about your purpose and why. It actually fuels my purpose and why which is to support small business! What do you find the biggest challenge in business?

A. One of the biggest challenges I find is maintaining a balance between work and life. When running a small business it is tempting to allow our work to take over all aspects of our life which may be required in the short-term but over the long-term can affect our health and relationships. I need to make a concerted effort to switch off and find a space of calm and still where I can reset, ground myself and allow my creativity to flourish.

R. Work/life is a tricky one, we live in an age where we can communicate with each other within moments, where work can be accessed anywhere in the world but it really can start to affect those around us. Recognising it is the first step, I also need to make more of an effort to switch off rather than checking the socials or replying to emails! One of my favourite questions, and something that affects us all, how do you deal with negativity?

A. I am always very conscious of negative thought patterns and am aware of when they start to creep in. As soon as I realise I am dealing with negativity either from an internal or external source,  I take action either by physically moving to encourage flow or by consciously bringing in new thought patterns.

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R. I can’t stand negativity, unfortunately it’s something that can affect us so easily. I like how you acknowledge it and then you try to change your thought patterns. I try to remove myself from the situation or people and work on walking a different path. Something a little more positive, what’s next for Edible Beauty!

A. We are working on a series of skin “boosters” which reflect “skin food” concoctions filled with beauty-boosting vitamins, minerals and fats designed to combat common skin ailments. Tumeric Beauty Lattes, Glowing Skin Smoothies and Probiotic Tonics will be part of the range!

R. Oh yum! Nothing like a Tumeric latte, I love to add a little ginger and maple syrup – I’m going to have to make myself one now – ha! Any tips for those wanting to start a Green Beauty business?

A. The best advice that I could give is that you must continue to have faith in your product or service and your dream. This is most important when things do not seem to be going your way or when you face adversity.  It is at these stages that you grow the most and where you realise you are often 5mm from “making it”. Always believe that there is a way to succeed, as I am a firm believer that there always is!

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R. Sometimes it’s so easy to get lost in self-doubt, I know it happens to me on a regular basis. Plus we live in a world where it is so easy to compare each other but I love how you say we could be 5mm away from “making it” – that is so true! That advice alone is worth its weight in gold!
With all your knowledge about “inside” and “outside” beauty, what does your beauty routine look like?

A. I am a huge fan or getting into daily routines. My current routine involves cleansing, apply our exotic goddess ageless serum and Snowflower Illuminating Face Oil along with our Gold Eye Cream. In the evenings I will do the same thing and alternate between using a nourish repair cream, our Coco Bliss Intensive Repair Crème or our purifying mask, Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mask.

On the inside I drink a glass of our soon to launch Native Collagen powder, a plant-based collagen formula which provides a wonderful vitamin C hit. I will also have a tablespoon of flaxseed meal and flaxseed oil mixed into a bowl of oven roasted or raw kale sprinkled with sea salt. I am always drinking a herbal tonic, my current one contains adrenal replenishing herbs and liver boosting herbs.

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R. I’ve seen a little online about the new Native Collagen powder, it looks very impressive and what an easy way to add a boost of nutrients in the morning to set you up for the day! Any go-to skincare or make-up products you love?

A. I cannot live without our Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mousse. This is a must have product for me to boost brightness and balance oil production and it works literally overnight. One of my favourite extracts in this product is the Snowflower Seed which has 50 times the antioxidant action of Vitamin C and 100 times that of Vitamin C which makes it a wonder ingredient for brightening the skin, reducing inflammation and also supporting collagen production.

R. I’m all for collagen production! I also never knew that about Snowflower seed, how interesting and a fun fact to share in my team meeting on Monday!
What’s your favourite part of the day?

A. This is definitely my daily morning coastal walk with my partner. It is an early start but it is always spectacular enjoying the sunrise together and the coastal air always energises and provides a positive start to the morning.

bloom of youth infusion masksR. Living by the sea is one thing I miss since the move from Sydney to Melbourne but that coastal air would be such bliss on the face and the perfect way to start the morning. Practicing gratitude is so good for the soul, any tips for how you practice this?

A. I make a conscious effort to always thank people for their time, efforts, skill, support, and for who they are! I think there is no better way to practice gratitude than to directly provide it to the people and things that you are appreciative of.

R. Saying thank-you is so important! I’m a massive believer of going out of your way to thank those that have given their time or knowledge. Most of us are so busy juggling so many balls, that to be acknowledged can mean the world.
Gratitude links directly with self-care, do you have any other self-care tips?

A. The self-care tip which is essential to the skin is always cleansing and applying an antioxidant serum in the morning and night. Sleep is also critical! I recommend always getting to bed before 11 pm. The hours we sleep before midnight are the equivalent of two hours of rest and repair!

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R. Insane, I didn’t know that about sleeping before 12am! Not that I’m normally up then as I love my sleep but it’s crazy to think how not getting enough sleep really does affect our skin, body and moods!
Finally, any tips for those looking to move towards green beauty? Where is the best place to start?

A. I recommend that people start by considering swapping the products they are using most regularly and on the largest surface are of their body. This is normally their body wash, cleanser, lotion and foundation.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a great site for looking up products and ingredients and finding out the toxin profile of what is being used most regularly. Swapping out these products for natural alternatives means that you are effectively reducing a substantial proportion of your toxic load just by replacing five to six products.

There are some wonderful sites which provide toxinfree and green beauty alternatives including Nourished Life and Beautiful Because. They have an incredible and affordable range of alternative skincare and beauty products to choose from which are equally as effective as their conventional counterparts.

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R. Thank you Anna for your time, as I mentioned I’m extremely grateful. You have provided a fantastic insight into life with Edible Beauty and yourself. I’ll be taking away quite a few tips (especially sleeping before 11pm) and also looking into your new  Native Collagen Powder!

I would also like to point out that all photos used today have been provided by Anna & the Edible Beauty team. l have included several as they are just too stunning not too share!

You can find the wonderful range of Edible Beauty products here.

I hope you enjoyed tonight’s Meet the Makers as much as I did! Check back on Monday for my review of the Edible Beauty Travel Set!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Ann from Pure Nut Macadamia Skin Care

It makes perfect sense, that today of all days, we meet Ann from Pure Nut and get to know her and her beautiful “one ingredient” brand a little more. Why you may ask? Well I’m fairly confident that today marks one year since we actually met.

I remember approaching Ann’s stall at a Trade Fair, here in Melbourne. The Happy Organic Girl was so new, and I actually think it was still known as @hausofmonochrome. I was so nervous to tell people I was a blogger, and that I wanted to do more to support small business’s.

Ann was so lovely though, she made me feel right at ease and I ended up buying a few products so I could take photos for Instagram. Even after meeting, Ann has been so lovely and encouraging along the way, sharing photos I took of her products. She has given me a lot of confidence, something I am very grateful for.

I have featured Pure Nut several times on the blog, you can find the articles here;

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Pure Nut is a beautiful family owned business, located in Northern NSW. On their property they harvest their own Macadamia nuts and turn that into gorgeous oils to use in their skincare range.

They have a stunning range featuring eye creams, lip balm, face scrubs, body scrubs and their most popular product pure Macadamia Nut Oil. I love how natural the range is, and the packaging is gorgeous.

R. Hi Ann, thank you for being part of Meet the Makers. Not sure what I would have done if you had said no, as I just knew you had to be part of it. Can you believe it’s been a year since meeting at Life Instyle! 

Let’s start with the all important, what lead you to starting Pure Nut?

A. As we are macadamia farmers ourselves, I was researching the benefits of macadamias as a food and I came across lots of information about how good macadamia oil is for your skin. I trialled it myself for a year and gave to friends and family to try to see if it was as good as the research says. I loved how quickly the oil soaked in and the how my skin felt so much more hydrated. I really noticed a difference in the feel of my skin and the fine lines, especially on the back of my hands and on my face. If I didn’t truely love it and use it myself then I couldn’t sell it! Macadamia oil is also very healing and repairing and great for after sun use.

R. I agree, I love the way it makes my skin feel. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I love the moisture it puts back into my tattoos. It always helps them to look so vibrant.

Since starting Pure Nut, what have you found to be one of the biggest challenges in business?

A. Living rural on our farm, accessing resources can be difficult (even though much can be accessed online I like to look at things first). It can also be a little isolating working from home on our farm as I love being immersed with other creatives.

R. In some ways, we are lucky to live in a digital world with access to information and the tip of our fingers but it can be extremely isolating – sometimes we just crave that human connection.

How important is the use of organic/natural ingredients to you and your brand?

A. This is key to our business with our ‘ Farm to Face’ theme (natural farm grown ingredients). Our Face Oil and Body Oil has JUST ONE plant-based ingredient… no long list of ingredients. We want our customers to feel confident they know exactly what is in their moisturiser…..no preservatives or chemicals just macadamia oil. As our Oil is plant based, straight from Nature, it’s important our other products also have the best natural derived ingredients.

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R. I love that – Farm to Face. How often can we say that about our beauty products. Are you working on anything new or exciting?

A. We are currently having a Face Cream with Macadamia oil + Manuka honey formulated. As the farmer, we take the macadamia oil & Manuka honey (which we source locally) to a cosmetic lab in the City to have the products professionally formulated. Early this year we changed our Face Oil + Body Oil packaging to highlight it has just ONE pant based ingredient. (Australian macadamia Oil). We will also have a larger 500ml Face + Body Oil bottle available soon so you can refill your smaller bottles, which will create less waste.

R. The new packaging looks amazing, It’s wonderful that as a consumer, I have access to such a pure beauty product.

Any tips for those wanting to move away from mainstream beauty products and into green beauty – where should they start

A. Always read the ingredients ( Some brands will say it is a particular oil but when you read the ingredients it will include other ingredients).
Buy Australian made or grown (as Australian Standards in our laboratories / factories are often higher than other countries).
Give your skin a chance to get use to the product (If you haven’t used an oil before it may take a couple of days for your skin to love it).
Just because a product is expensive it doesn’t mean it will work better than another product. Sometimes you may pay more for a Big Brand name. Pure Nut 50ml Macadamia Face Oil retails for $14.95! I use to personally buy expensive Day Creams and Night Creams but now I that I use our macadamia Face Oil & Eye Cream my skin simply doesn’t need anything else! Macadamia Oil can hold its own in the big world of skin care. It doesn’t need a long list of ingredients added, PLUS it really will make a difference in how your skin feels!

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R. Checking the ingredients is so important! On the back of that, I think knowing what the ingredients could be or the terms used is just as important.

How do you relax and enjoy your downtime?

A. Late afternoon, as the sun begins to set and the sky puts on an amazing show of colour.
I am married to my farmer husband and a mum of four teenagers. A long with my skin care range, Pure Nut, I run a Guesthouse Accommodation in a cottage on our farm. Our 50 acre macadamia farm is Northern NSW and a short drive to the beach. I love walking by the sea with the family and our dog Scoot. Living and working on the farm I enjoy catching up with friends for coffee or dinner at one of the many fabulous local venues in Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lennox Head, Alstonville or Ballina! We’re pretty close to some great beaches and cafes!

R. Your guesthouse sounds amazing, I definitely need to come and pay it a visit! I love the photos you share of the farm, it looks so lush!

It sounds like you are on the go often, what are some of your self-care tips?

A. After a recent, very unexpected health scare, I love the mantra … ‘Self care is not a luxury it’s a necessity!’ Along with family… your health is everything! I read ingredient labels more and just take a little more care in what I put into my body and on my skin. With a very busy family and work lifestyle, I am consciously trying to take a little more ‘me time’, even if it’s not for long (AND not feel guilty about it). Plus for my family … stepping away from work & the computer and being more present.

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R. I’m a serious believer of “me” time. I can definitely agree with your comments about health. I had an operation in May and I’m still recovering. I’m restricted with what exercise I can do, and even the cleaning (although that’s not the end of the world ha!) but I often think about everything I could do before it.

What is your purpose and why?

A. As macadamia farmers I am passionate to spread the word on how fabulous macadamias are for your health and the amazing profile the oil has for your skin! Our macadamia oil is sourced from a collaborative of Australian farmers and is of high quality.

R. I remember our first meeting, the way you explained the products to me – you could just hear the passion in your voice!

Tell me a little about your beauty routine and how we can implement the Pure Nut products into our routine.

A. Very simple – clean, exfoliate & moisturise! I exfoliate about twice a week and after cleansing I apply Pure Nut Eye Cream (with Manuka honey) and Face Oil morning and night. For my body, I will often mix a few drops of my favourite essential oil with about 5 to 8 drops of macadamia oil to nourish my body and smell amazing! Macadamia oil is great for travelling as you can use it to take make-up off (it’s fabulous for taking off mascara), as your moisturiser (Face + Body), for the dry ends of hair and great for healing any little skin abrasions or for after sun care.

R. What a wonderfully simple and effective skincare routine. Less waste, fuss and more results! I must say, I love using the scrubs when I am in the bath as not only do they smell AMAZING, I love how it makes the water all milky.  

Ann, I would like to say a massive thank you. For not only letting us all know a little more about you and Pure Nut but also for your continued friendship and support! 

If you are keen to try the Pure Nut range, now is the perfect time. Ann has generously offered 30% off for 2 days using code FARM at checkout.

A cheeky tip – check out the lip balm! It’s another one of my favourites.

Happy Saturday!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Kaja from Herbae Thylacini

Since launching the Meet the Makers series, the weeks seem to be flying by! I can hardly believe it’s Saturday night and time for another interview! I also can’t believe we are nearly in August, where on earth is the year going!

Tonight we chat with a Tasmanian based local Maker, Dr Karolina (Kaja) Skraskova from Herbae Thylacini. Kaja has a world of knowledge under her belt, including a PhD!

For readers not familiar with my blog I actually was lucky to review 3 products, the Calendula & Lemon Balm Facial Oil, Chamomile & Leatherwood Honey Salve and the Wattle Seeds, Lavender & Tea Tree Scrub back in March of this year. You can find that review here.

Kaja enjoying some time outdoors

R. I always like to start the interview by thanking the Makers, so thank you! I know it takes some time to put together responses. Let’s start with the all important questions, what lead you to starting Herbae Thylacini?

K. You may be expecting a variation of a story of how I’d had enough of putting chemicals-laden cosmetics on my body and so went on and developed my own skin-care range. But I have to disappoint you. The fact that all our products are made exclusively from all-natural ingredients was more of a matter-of-course for me rather than the main motivation behind starting Herbae Thylacini. What I was truly aiming to do was to introduce a range of herbal remedies for skin and dental care which is based on local, and now I mean native, Australian medicinal plants. Hence also our name: “Herbae Thylacini” is Latin for “Herbs of Tasmanian Tiger”.

When I moved to Tasmania a few years ago, I was all pumped up to broaden my knowledge of pharmacy and medicinal plants by learning about Australian phytotherapy. I was surprised how heavily is Australian herbal medicine based on European traditions. I decided to change that and that’s why I founded Herbae Thylacini. While our products do draw on the European phytotherapeutic knowledge (which is an intricate part of my pharmaceutical background), they honour Australian nature and local medicinal plants.

Next to my Pharmacy degree I also happen to hold a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and that has enabled me to start researching local plants from a very practical perspective. I have been collaborating with the local university in Tasmania and have found some pretty cool things about local plants. And there will be more, I am sure!

Herbae Thylacini is a very unique project that connects my life-long passions and expertise in pharmacy, medicinal plants and chemistry-oriented research. All with one aim: to shift Australian phytotherapy into using more of locally available medicine. It may be a long-distance run, but I am super excited about the journey!

R. With your extensive knowledge of plants and how they react with the body, how important is the use of organic/natural ingredients to you and Herbae Thylacini?

K. Organic and natural are both qualities that play key roles in our herbal products. And so do local ingredients, which we source primarily from Australia or (even better) from Tasmania. They are not always available this close to home, but generally, this is our ethos.

Originally, I was growing a number of medicinal plants for our herbal range myself. But that proved to be just too time-consuming. These days Herbae Thylacini supports local growers of medicinal herbs. Rather than buying certified-organic herbs imported from overseas, it is often better to buy medicinal plants from a local grower who uses organic practices although (s)he perhaps did not have the funds to invest into a “certified-organic” accreditation. It is often difficult, if impossible, to trace the path of imported medicinal plants: Who grew them? When? How were they stored before and during the transport? And many other questions, that should concern every user of herbal medicine.

Furthermore, as I have already suggested, our herbal range takes advantage of the abundance of native Australian plants. Why? Well, because we live in Australia! There is all the talk about local and organic and sustainable in the natural skincare world. But why using exotic ingredients imported from all over the world, when I can reach out to our own local herbal medicine?! I think that honouring local medicinal sources and knowledge is incredibly important for sustainability.

R. I absolutely love you are using Australian botanicals, we are very blessed to have some beautiful herbs/plants. A little like Kakadu Plum that has more vitamin C than an orange!

Whats next for Herbae Thylacini, are you working on anything new or exciting?

K. Herbae Thylacini started by releasing a relatively modest range of herbal products. We are currently offering four herbal remedies for skin and dental care. But our vision is big! I am always working on new formulations, trying to re-discover or discover local medicine. I am pretty close to finishing a brand-new product, which I plan to introduce in Spring. Keep an eye on our Website or Instagram page if you want to know what is brewing.

Apart from that, I am preparing a poster presentation of my recent research of Tasmanian plants, which I would like to share with the scientific community later this year. I share snippets of my progress through our social media channels, so that the information gets to as many people as possible.

R. A new product how exciting, another reason for me to continue to wish away winter! It’s been so cold here in Melbourne!
Outside of Herbae Thylacini, how do you enjoy some downtime?

K. After I had mentioned to my friend recently that my days consist mostly of work, work and more work, she asked: “Do you at least have any hobbies that would compensate for all the work-load?” That made me pause – “Of course I have hobbies!”, I thought, only to realize that my top hobbies are science & medicinal plants – the actual objects of my work. And to top it all off, everything else I love to do is connected to them in one form or another: I love a good bushwalk in a forest, I enjoy reading books about plants and herbal healing, and I never miss an opportunity to engage in a science discussion with my partner. What is perhaps as far from science and plants as it gets amongst my hobbies is Exercise. I started racing in athletics when I was 14 and over the years moved to long-distance race-walking and later to triathlon. Since starting my business I refrained from competitive sports, but I still enjoy a good run, bike ride or a swimming session in a pool in Hobart.

R. I love hearing how that passion, that your downtime revolves around your work. Where do you draw inspiration from each day?

K. Each day when I can learn something new is a reward for me! My work of a research scientist is surely often full of surprises. (Some of them less pleasant than others.) But the days when I realize I have discovered something new pay for all the frustration research necessarily brings with it sometimes. I also love my pharmacy-related work. Knowing that my knowledge helped someone to fight off a health issue is one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever experienced!

R. Perhaps my all time favourite question, what does your beauty routine look like?

K. This may be quite funny, but I really do not use very many skincare products – I do not find there is the need. Having said that, recently I became obsessed with natural soaps and always like to try out a new formulation from some of the Tasmanian soap-makers. I also enjoy using our Wattle Seeds, Lavender & Tea Tree Scrub to exfoliate my face and whole body. I do this usually twice or three times a week. Then I moisturize my face with Herbae Thylacini Calendula & Lemon Balm Facial Oil – a great combination of medicinal plants and botanical oils that deeply nourish the skin without making it greasy. All grown in Tasmania or Australia, of course 😊 I sometimes complement our own skin-remedies with products from other reputable natural skincare makers. Being so influenced by scientific approach, my demands on other makers’ products are usually pretty high. Luckily, there are some local makers, whose work I really respect!

Apart from my modest use of skin-care products, I sleep a lot, eat fresh food and spend every day at least an hour outside, preferably doing sports.

R. That sounds amazing. I’ve recently been making an effort to spend my lunch break outside. It may only be 30 minutes but it’s so nice to clear the mind and step away from the desk. What is your Favourite place in the world, where you can relax

K. This must be any forest in the world! 😊

R. We have some beautiful places here in Victoria, you will need to pop over and we can go exploring together!

Thank you Kaja for your time, and your in-depth responses! I especially loved hearing where you draw inspiration from. That’s inspired me!

Happy reading all,

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Jumana from Herbs and Heart

When I look back over the last year of The Happy Organic Girl, I’m not only proud of how much it’s grown but also that I’ve been able to play a role in promoting other business’s and what they have to offer.

A week or so ago, I received a wonderful compliment “you’re not like most bloggers, you actually blog”. Time will change how we do things, that much is true but really how far does a single instagram post go? How are we accepting that as a norm?

When I look back on the brands I’ve collaborated with, I love to get to know them. I want to know as much about their business as I hope they want to know about mine. After all, why shouldn’t we all just support each other?

This could not be more truer for when I first was contacted by Jumana from Herbs and Heart back in November 2017. Jumana shared so much of her passion in that first email, and her why.

I shared a review of 3 of the products I was sent plus the Face Mud, I purchased myself. You can find that review here.

As I mentioned above, I absolutely love getting to know the Makers I collaborate with. So when I was in Sydney for Finders Keepers in December 2017, I couldn’t resist stopping by and saying a big hello to Jumana (plus taking a sneaky selfie!).

Tonight, we sit down with Jumana and get to learn a little more about her and Herbs and Heart.

R. Firstly, I want to say thank you for being part of Meet the Makers. I know how busy we can get, especially those juggling a small business!
Let’s start with a little about Herbs and Heart, what lead you to starting your business?

J. I’m curious, stubborn, and a mild hypochondriac, all wonderful beginnings of what eventually lead to become Herbs & Heart. It started with my own skin troubles during my teenage years, and as every overly paranoid person, I took to google to enquire on how I could best help myself. I stumbled upon the many DIY Home remedies, and experimented a lot with my own skin, with incredible results. It’s when I first became a natural skincare enthusiast.

Things got serious for me in my early 20’s however, when my curiosity to bridge gaps in my knowledge led to me further investigating the chemicals in traditional off the shelf skincare, with the scary fact that the average Australian women puts over 515 chemicals on her body everyday. My stubborn will to do something about this lead to me enrol in further studies in product formulation & natural cosmetic science, and Herbs & Heart eventually came into being.

R. Over 515 chemicals per day? That’s an insane statistic and one I didn’t even know! Imagine that, surely that’s the reason more people are moving towards Green Beauty. With that in mind, how important is the use of natural ingredients to you and your brand?

J. It is one of our core values of course. As a brand we want to minimise the effects of harmful chemicals in any capacity we can, to our physical beings and our planet earth. Hence sustainable, plant-based ingredients remain at the forefront of our products. By choosing natural, we also encourage a conversation between consumer and ourselves to truly understanding what it is they are feeding their skin, and make empowered, informed decisions.

R. I remember at Finders Keepers, overhearing some of the conversations you were having about the products – I love that you take it that one step further and encourage that dialogue. Education is key! 
If you weren’t running Herbs and Hear, what would you be doing?

J. I’d be a doctor! I was in fact transitioning from design to medicine when I detoured into cosmetic science.

The Maker, Jumana

R. Sometimes navigating around skincare can be tricky, and scary for some taking a risk with a new product. Do you have any tips for those looking to move towards green beauty – where should they start?

J. Research, Research, Research. Knowledge is key! You as a consumer have complete right to know what goes into your skincare, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask! I want to live in a world where product labels are demystified, where the consumer is no longer dumbfounded by the language, and tricks of complex labelling.

R. Exactly! Green Beauty doesn’t have to be scary, especially if you equip yourself with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Like you said, ask lots of questions. Ask the Maker what ingredients are used, if it’s cruelty free and how the ingredients chosen will work together to provide results.

Now Jumana, you have shared a little about Herbs and Heart, now tell us more about you! The biggest question I ask people is – have you figured out your purpose?

J. I’ve always known my purpose is to help people, but I took time to figure out how exactly I wanted to do that. Herbs & Heart is my vehicle for impacting this change. Today, I can see the business helping our customers feel good in their own skin, but tomorrow I know I want to be able to give back to bigger projects, both environment and social cause driven through our business, even running our own projects. Currently we donate 10% of all our profits to environmental causes.

R. I absolutely love that about Herbs and Heart, not only are you donating a percentage of profits to environmental changes but you actually breathe this value. I’ve noticed even with the packaging you use, gorgeous recyclable glass packaging.

Tell me a little about how you start your mornings, and how you practice gratitude.

J. I’ve started to incorporate daily morning meditation into my day. I use this time to also practice gratitude – a simple recount of all the people, opportunities, and things I am grateful for. I find it sets up the day in the most brilliant of ways!

Also, another trick is the brain cannot process stress and gratitude at the same time, hence during stressful times the best way to immediately regain inner balance is by reciting 3 things to be grateful for – it immediately dissipates any stress you may feel. Currently I am grateful for my cup of coffee (which I have successfully avoided for a week), my floofball sleeping next to my chair, and my Ugg boots keeping my feet toasty warm!

Face Mud in action!

R. Don’t get me started on coffee! It’s funny, I always hated it. When I moved to Melbourne I started drinking it (it is the capital of coffee after all!) but I do find it allows me a few moments to just stop and breathe.

Now, the big question – what is the skincare or make up product you reach for most?

J. Our Face Mud. It’s Manuka honey magic blended with 16 other fruit and plant extracts. It’s the bomb-diggity! One little product that seems to be all I need for a skin-pick-me-up anytime, any occasion. 🙂

R. I have to agree with you there, the Face Mud is something else. Do you remember the first time I used it? I definitely didn’t follow the instructions ha! I love that it can be used as a mask or cleanser, nothing beats a multi-use product. 

Featured above is Jumana’s newest product – Forest Nourish which comes in two sizes and looks absolutely divine! Next on the list to try, this features Hemp, Wild Lavender and Oak Moss. You can find it on the Herbs and Heart website here.

Thank you again for your time Jumana and for supporting me along my journey! I’m incredibly grateful #girlboss

I hope you all enjoy your Saturday evening!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Louella from Kiss Ready Lips

I was so excited to ask Louella to be part of Meet the Makers. I knew she would say a massive YES! The reason I knew this, Louella is one extremely bubbly, passionate and positive maker. I admire that Louella puts herself out there to promote her growing business.

I should take you back to how we met. I had flown into Sydney for the day to attend Finders Keepers with my friend. There were two makers I wanted to meet, Louella and Jumana from Herbs and Heart (stay tuned for her interview!).

Louella had the cutest little stall, but had maximised her space so she had the right amount of room to do a demo of the products. I was hooked, I knew I had to have the Rose Omega Face Balm, but I ended up walking off with about 4 other products. I simply fell in love with them, from how Louella spoke about them.

Some exciting news this week for Louella, she was nominated in the 2018 AusMumpreneur Awards! You can vote for Louella here under the “Making a Difference Award – Business” #77. Best of luck Louella!!!

R. Yay, I am so excited to have you join Meet the Makers – and grateful! Can you start by letting us know a little more about Kiss Ready Lips and what makes it unique?

L. Kiss Ready is a range of artisanal, small-batch natural skincare made from mostly locally sourced and food-grade ingredients. My products are enriched with Australian grown Chia Seed oil, a nutrient-dense ingredient high in omega 3, 6 and 9. It’s a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and proven to be exceptionally beneficial to skin nourishment and hydration.

R. I love chia seeds, especially in smoothies, yoghurt, salads and now in my skincare! What lead you to starting Kiss Ready Lips?

L. I’ve always had an interest in the healing power of plants. I grew up in a barrio in the Philippines and I remember my fascination with my grandmother’s herbal remedies. Instinctively I knew then, as a child, that I would love to make natural products!

When I migrated to New Zealand, I was fortunate to work in the healthcare industry. It helped me understand and appreciate the science behind product formulation.

In 2012, I moved to Australia and worked for the Australian growers of chia seeds. At that time, an internationally respected medical school looked into the efficacy of chia seed oil when used by their patients with deteriorating skin conditions. The clinical study showed that chia oil can help improve skin health within eight weeks of daily use. I was so impressed with the results, I started making all sorts of balms and potions with cold pressed chia seed oil at home. My employer was focused on agriculture and health foods, but was very supportive of my side hustle. I enrolled in additional courses on natural skincare formulation, aromatherapy and essential oils. To this day, I still use and source Australian grown chia to support our farming community in Western Australia.

R. I find you incredibly inspiring, especially your positivity – it is a ray of sunshine! However we all know, sometimes business can be tough. What do you find is the biggest challenge in your business?

L. Kiss Ready was a passion project before it was a business. I do everything myself, from formulation and production to sales and order fulfilment. As I don’t have any financial backing, marketing has been my biggest challenge. Unlike mainstream brands, I don’t have huge marketing dollars to spend on advertising and promotions. I’m very, very lucky as my customers (like you Renee!) are loyal and they are helping me spread the Kiss Ready love with their family and friends.

R. Apart from hopefully visiting me in Melbourne (ha!) are you working on anything new or exciting for Kiss Ready Lips?

L. I’ve recently completed a course on cosmetic chemistry. The most exciting part for me was using natural pigments to create textures and colours. I’ve been looking at tinted lip glosses, lipsticks, creams and make up, and I would love to have more time to devote to formulating my own natural make up range. So, watch this space!

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R. Oh Louella, that is so exciting! Congratulations on completing your studies. If you need a human tester, you know where to find me! Do you have any tips for those wanting to move away from mainstream beauty products and into green beauty?

L. When I started formulating my natural products, I also found out I was pregnant! Many of my products were developed out of necessity. I wanted to use (and love) products which were safe, nourishing and effective. Kiss Ready Mama and Kiss Ready Baby are products especially formulated for expecting and new mums and their little cuddly, squishy little ones.

If you would like to explore natural skincare, I suggest starting with two staples  – your lip balm and natural deodorant. These are products which we use all the time. Sadly, there is insufficient research on the long-term effects of synthetic ingredients. Until there is enough longitudinal data on every ingredient’s use and safety, I would personally choose skincare products with simple and natural but effective ingredients. Switching to natural products may minimise your exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.

Fortunately, the growing interest in natural skincare means there is a plethora of products to choose from. I recommend trying as many products and brands as you can; you’d be surprised at the range and quality of products available in Australia today.

R. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes, I feel people think green beauty has to be expensive but in reality it isn’t. There are some amazing brands out there with great natural ingredients that are affordable. Just the other day, I learnt I could use Jojoba oil to remove my eye make up, rather than a harmful cleanser! Amazing! 

What is your favourite part of the day?

L. My favourite part of the day is my morning walk with my two year old. I’m fortunate to share these moments with him. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to appreciate nature together. I try to instil in him a spirit of adventure. He’s a lot more talkative and interactive now, so most days he gets to pick where we’re going – the playground, our local park and gardens or the library. It’s amazing how quickly he is growing up!

R. Your bubba is just the cutest, I love the photos of your adventures together!
How do you practice gratitude?

L. I enjoy walking and will walk when I can. I find it quiets my mind, and I’m most receptive to positive emotions when I’m walking. I practise mindfulness walking – it’s opening yourself up to the elements around you – whether it’s a gentle breeze, or the scent of flowers or freshly cut grass, the birds chirping around me; it’s being grateful for the beauty of nature. Try it one time – let go of the ‘everyday noise’ which usually clouds our minds, and just enjoy nature.

R. How good does freshly cut grass smell, you know you can actually buy a perfume that has been made to replicate the smell of it! How about self-care, any tips?

L. Here’s an unusual one – I make at least one phone call either to a family member or a friend during the week. I’m online all the time and can easily email or message them, but nothing beats real time conversations with the people we love. My family and many of my friends are based overseas, so I really make an effort catching up with them. It makes me feel more grounded and connected. Self care means we take time out and do something which makes us feel good – and these phone calls make me feel so blessed to have loving and caring people in my life.

R. Thank you again Louella, for such an amazing and insightful interview. It has been absolutely wonderful hearing a little more about you and your passion for Kiss Ready Lips!

I’m often talking about my love of the Omega Rose Face Balm, and Louella is spreading the love to you by offering $10 off your first purchase of the 60g Balm! Simply use code HAPPYBALM10 at check out.

The Kiss Ready Lips website is here https://www.kissreadylips.com

Happy Saturday!

Renee
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