Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Christina from Bayeco

Tonight’s Meet the Makers is short but sweet! We are chatting with Christina from Bayeco. Another Maker whose journey I’ve watched go from strength to strength, a Maker I’ve chatted with and cheered on from the sidelines.

Christina has created a lovely skincare brand, whose mission is to “is to help women look beautiful on the outside and to feel confident on the inside”. The product range consists of the following;

  • Green Tea Correcting Eye Cream
  • Green Tea Multi Action Serum
  • Green Tea Nourishing Night Cream
  • Green Tea Foaming Cleanser
  • Green Tea Brightening Day Cream (just launched!)

The products are made in Australia and use active ingredients such as Green Tea and Kakadu Plum (my favourite!) and contain no parabens, SLSs, phthalates, mineral oils or formaldehydes.

Now I’ve explained a little about Bayeco, let’s get to know Christina!

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R. Thank you for joining us tonight! It’s been such an incredible journey for you, I still recall our regular chats all those months ago when we first met!

What was the driving factor behind starting Bayeco?

C. I’ve always been interested in research and skincare. I like to pick up everything and check out the ingredients list before using a product. Everytime I looked at natural skincare, I’d often put it back down and not use it because I didn’t see active ingredients that I think would work on the skin. And when I look at cosmoceutical skincare, it often contains ingredients which I wouldn’t like to use on my skin because it contains chemicals that I don’t think are good for us.

So for a long time, I haven’t really found anything that I was completely happy with. And it was just an idea to formulate a pharmacist formulated natural skincare which when I speak to people, they also seem to be interested in the idea so I decided to take the plunge and formulate something together with a formulations chemist. It’s hard for someone to know what is good for their skin and what isn’t good. Bayeco takes the guesswork out for them and they can use it with confidence knowing that it contains ingredients that are good for them.

R. Knowledge is such a powerful thing, especially when it comes to what we eat or what we put on our skin and I agree if you aren’t familiar with the terms and ingredients – it can be a real battle.

Walk us through what a typical day looks like for you.

C. I have a bit of a ritual in the morning. I start the day with jumping on the trampoline for 15 mins to get my heart pumping. Then I meditate for 10 minutes after that and then have breakfast with all my vitamins and goodness before I do anything. This way, I know that I’ve got my mind in the right place and it’s easier to make better decisions.

After sending my kids to school, I’ll usually do online packing or wholesale packing, check my to do list, answer email enquiries, talk to my PR guy about any updates. I’m also planning for the next 3-6 months and working out what needs to be done now for later because time flies so fast and everything takes time to make it happen.

I’m lucky to be able to pick the kids up from school and take them to their activities. I often will bring my laptop with me and work while they do their activities.

Then home and dinner. By night, I’m usually exhausted but as a business owner, it’s really hard to switch off so I’m usually still chatting to someone somewhere about Bayeco. And at some point, I’ll crash in bed with a book to relax my mind.

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R. While I have no doubt that your days are jam packed, it’s lovely to see you are able to juggle family and work life balance – it’s true though, it can be so hard to switch off!

Are you currently working on anything new or exciting?

C. The Day cream has been something we’ve been working on and we’re so excited to say that it’s now launched! Apart from that, we’ve been working on a toner and a sleeping mask. These are some exciting products that are in the pipeline.

R. Oh my a sleeping mask! The perfect way to look after your skin and provide some much-needed nourishment as you sleep!

What are your thoughts on gratitude, is this something you actively practice?

C. Being grateful is really crucial in every way. I think when you’re grateful for things in life, it really puts things into perspective. It also helps you to have a more abundant mentality, where you think that there’s more than 1 pie to share. When you’re grateful, it helps you to see opportunities and helps you to think creatively. Either in the morning while jumping on the trampoline or last thing at night, I will make sure that I think of at least 5 things I’m grateful for.

R. I love that, especially the abundance mentality. I’ve written a note to do a little more reading on the subject.

As the founder of a skincare business, talk us through your beauty routine.

C. My beauty routine is really simple. I hardly do anything to my skin! When you use good ingredients on your skin and you’re eating healthily, you really don’t need to do much to your skin. And it’s also really important to use sunscreen everyday. That’s always part of my beauty routine and of course Bayeco skincare.

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R. Oh sunscreen! So important and the one step that is so easily forgotten.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

C. I’ve travelled to many places in the world because my husband and I love travelling. My absolute favourite place in the world is Japan. I’ve been there 3 times now. I love every season there. I love looking at the autumn leaves, I love their scenery, I love the snow there, I love the food there, I love the people and I love the culture. I love that they live their lives in sync with nature. So much of their beauty is about going with the flow of things and not trying to force something. That’s the Japanese way. It has to be my favourite country hands down.

R. Japan is on my list, it looks stunning! The scenery is perfection, and don’t get me started on the food. I could be easily tempted to make it my next place to visit.

Thank you again for spending some time with us, and sharing a little more about yourself and Bayeco. It’s been lovely!

If you would like to explore the Bayeco range, you can do so here; https://bayeco.com.au or via Instagram @bayecoskincare.

Who would you like to see next on Meet the Makers? Send your ideas my way!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Kailah from MG Naturals

Good afternoon friends, and happy Sunday! I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend. Did you watch the AFL Grand Final yesterday? I didn’t but I thought there would be many who are so decided to delay the posting of this week’s Meet the Makers!

Today we are chatting with Kailah from MG Naturals. I met Kailah close to a year ago in a Facebook group for business women, aptly called “Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine” which is a wonderful community of women supporting women!

MG Naturals is one of those brands I really love, creating wonderful make up & skincare products that are vegan, organic and 100% titanium dioxide free. Which is great news for your skin considering what we apply to our bodies is absorbed into it.

MG Naturals have a range of products from vegan brushes, foundation, bronzer to lipstick and mascara. Kailah also loves feedback and suggestions on future products, if you have a great idea you can contact her here.

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R. Welcome Kailah to Meet the Makers! It’s been wonderful watching the brand grow! Tell us, what made you decide to start MG Naturals?

K. Becoming a Mama led me to start my business, the MG actually stands for Mama Going Natural. Before my daughter was born I assumed that all products sold in stores must be safe, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to sell them, right?! Boy was I shocked to find all the chemicals & toxins that were in products that my family used every single day.

I couldn’t find any makeup brands that I was 100% happy with, so out of necessity MG Naturals was born to create safe, natural products for my family & friends, it actually took off quite by accident! There was such a demand for safe, honest makeup!

R. I always wondered what the MG stood for! That is very cool! It’s amazing the demand for safe, green make up and skincare and I believe as Australian Makers we are leading the way in producing great quality green products!

How & why are organic ingredients important to your brand?

K. Organic natural ingredients are the cornerstone of our brand. If I won’t put an ingredient on my sweet babies skin I wouldn’t include it in our products. If we can’t make a product to our exacting standards of purity & safety then we just don’t make it.

We want people to know they can trust us, the green beauty sector can be a mine field of mis-information & green washing so we like to think we stand as a beacon for people to trust & believe in, they can safely order our products & know we don’t use any nasties, ever!

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R. Argh green washing is so common and it drives me mad! It’s true, as consumers we don’t have massive amounts of time to be reading through ingredient lists so you think you can trust what the packaging says – unfortunately it’s not always the case.

Are you currently working on anything or any new products about to launch?

K. We have so many new & exciting products in the pipeline. We are constantly testing out new formulations & playing with makeup. Formulating green makeup can take a lot longer as we try to recreate the look, feel & function of big brand makeup just without all the nasties. We have so many products in various stages of testing & production: a fuller coverage solid foundation, lip n cheek colour pots, a full coverage colour-correcting concealer palette, liquid eyeliner & we want to get into pressed powder products later in the year.

R. Oh the lip n cheek colour pots sound exciting – well it all does! I can see how the formulation process can take a little longer than traditional methods.

Do you have any tips for those who are wanting to move away from mainstream make up brands and into safe and vegan alternatives?

K. It can be expensive (but very worthwhile for your health) moving into green beauty & tossing out all your non-green makeup.

To make it easier on your wallet I recommend starting with your foundation or BB cream as these products are often used every day & are being absorbed into your skin. Then I’d look at your lip products as we inadvertently consume a lot of lipstick & lip balm overtime. Those would be the products I would worry about first & then everything else can be swapped out as they start to run out. But just changing those products alone will reduce the amount of toxins & chemicals your exposed to each day.

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R. It’s amazing just how much lip balm/stick we consume without even knowing it. I seem to go through so much of it, so ensuring what I use is natural is extremely important to me.

Where do you draw inspiration from each day?

K. I am inspired by my children, they are my greatest teachers. My eldest Aleena is zen, nothing much rattles her, so she reminds me not to sweat the small stuff. My toddler Lexi is bolshy & fearless & does not accept No for an answer, she inspires me to be brave & go after what I want. And our latest addition Baby Aubree is never-ending happy, she wakes up smiling and smiles her way through the day, she reminds me of the pure delight of being alive even when your seriously sleep deprived!!

R. That is so beautiful! They say that kids really are our greatest teachers. I’ve actually been trying to include more child-like play into my life. Things we did as kids that brought so much delight, like rolling down this massive hill at work. People were asking why I did it and I thought why not? It was actually so much fun and left me grinning from ear-to-ear!

What is your favourite part of the day?

K. My absolute favourite part of the day is working at my desk & watching my girls play on the fort in the backyard. Sometimes being a Mama & running a business can be a bit of a hard gig. But when I look at my girls, I know it’s all worthwhile because one day they will be wearing makeup &I don’t want any nasties on those precious little faces.

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R. Finally, as the Maker of such wonderful products, tell us – what does your beauty routine look like?

K. Being a Mama of three (with two being under two) my beauty routine is very parred back at the moment. Alone time in the bathroom is a foregone conclusion in our house so I have to get ready to face the world in a matter of minutes. I always start with our BB Cream in luminous light because that’s my moisturiser, sunscreen & makeup all in one. I then like to apply a few coats of our Organic Volume Mascara because I love lashes & then a swipe of our Wild Rose lipstick and I’m ready for the school run. I used to wear foundation but now that I have no time for skincare I have swapped to the BB as its my moisturiser, serum, sunscreen & makeup in one easy 30 second application (leaving me more time to apply my mascara!).

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R. Oh the ever precious mascara! I don’t know what I would do without it, I love it. Something so simple, that can make you look and feel like you’ve slept for a solid 12 hours – ha!

Thank you again for joining us Kailah. I’m excited for what’s on the horizon for you and will be keeping close eye on the lip and cheek pots!

You can find Kailah’s bright and cheery website here and also reach out to her on Instagram via @mgnaturals.

I’d also love to know who you would like to see interviewed next, feel free to let me know!

Have a wonderful week!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Naomi from L’Elu Skincare

Good Evening and happy Saturday! Tonight’s Meet the Makers is a little delayed as I have my Mama visiting!

I’m pleased to say, tonight we are chatting with one awesome boss babe! Naomi from L’Elu Skincare is simply wonderful, we met when I purchased 2 custom oils from her back in June.

I absolutely love Naomi’s business idea, how cool is it to customise your own facial oils based on how they work on the skin? Plus the packaging is so beautiful! I also really loved the hand-written note that accompanied my package, it was really special and made me realise the impact that buying from a small business has.

You can find the beautiful range of facial oils here and also be sure to check out how to make your own custom facial oils here.

img_4242R.Welcome Naomi! Thank you for joining us, and for letting us into the world of L’Elu Skincare! Let’s start with what any given day looks like for you?

N. Monday to Friday I work full-time, I try to exercise every morning before work and take at least 10 minutes to meditate. My weekdays generally look the same and I actually love routine!

After work I run around with my puppies and take them somewhere fun, then at home I’ll work through social media, any business items, responding to messages, and always working on development of my business (my brain is doing this a lot at work too – oops!). I usually fall asleep on my phone working on L’Elu. Weekends for me are about getting out and about and working on L’Elu, it’s two days where I (reluctantly) push my routine to the side and take the day as it comes!

R. I love routine too, even down to the train I catch and where I get on it! I’m a tad odd like that. What have you found to be the biggest challenge in running L’Elu?

N. Definitely social media! I really struggle  with content. I have plenty ideas and things I want to share, but I’m so hard on myself and think “oh what if people hate it, what if it sucks, this photo isn’t good enough” it’s so silly I know! But that’s my biggest challenge currently! And I never know how much of myself to share, where do I draw the line between being a brand not a personality/influencer?? See what I mean, I think so far into it!! Haha

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R. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt with social media is just be you. Don’t worry about following trends like patterns and things like that. Sure you want it to be visually appealing but we are all different. So if you want to post something, then post it! You’ve got this!

How important is the use of natural/organic ingredients to you and L’Elu?

N. I mean this is really important to me, but the number one thing above this I have to say is the ethics of where the ingredients are sourced. Making sure they’re sourced from somewhere that doesn’t test on animals, because whilst a brand can say they don’t test on animals – the ingredients they source individually before creating their product, can actually be tested on animals whilst they still make the cruelty free claim.

So number one for me is that, also making sure we know where the ingredients come from, they’re traceable and that we aren’t engaging in any sort of sub par human treatment, so fair trade. Natural and organic is also way, way up there, for example there’s so many harmful pesticides used on plants these days which end up in our bodies –  not just from food but what we put on our skin, it’s absolutely not worth it. Our ingredients will always be natural, GMO free, and organic.

R. That is so important, and something I’m sure slips most people’s minds. Making sure that the products they purchase aren’t tested on animals nor are the ingredients from wherever they are sourced.

What is your favourite part of the day?

N. When the sun is up!! I’ve been known to say I really dislike night-time. I just love the sunshine so much and it’s when I’m most productive. I’m an early riser for sure, so I can get the most out of the daylight!

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R. How funny, I am exactly the same. I generally get up around 6ish as I feel it makes the day feel longer and I can get so much done!

Anything new on the horizon for L’Elu?

N. Absolutely! By the end of the year we will have a range of skincare. Currently working on balm/oil cleanser, hydrating facial mist, moisturiser, masks and some body stuff – of course all customisable. It’s very exciting but takes time as I won’t release anything until I am 100% happy with it. Then there’s the financial side, it costs a lot of money to get a product ready for sale. But it’s coming….

R. Oh I bet! There is so much to it, than just popping some ingredients together and into a bottle. I’m excited for the cleanser though (spoken like a true cleanser addict!).

What would you tell someone who is looking to join the Green Beauty Community!

N. Definitely. Follow people like you (@thehappyorganicgirlau)!! Also follow #greenbeauty and similar hashtags on social media. People like yourself are so full of knowledge & passion plus the fact you seek out brands such as L’Elu is really getting us niche green skincare brands out there. When you come across a new skincare brand you’re interested in, flick them a message if you have any questions! I think the green Beauty community is such a kind place and many of us are small businesses full of passion and eager to help!

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R. That is so kind, thank you! I just think there are so many wonderful Australian skincare/make up brands who are doing great things for green beauty!

Outside of running L’Elu, working your 9-5 and then managing your social life – what do you do for fun?

N. Getting outside for sure! I absolutely love the outdoors and going on adventures, heading to the beach and trekking through the bush. I also LOVE attending markets and seeing what small businesses are creating and supporting them. I make an effort to head to them every weekend. I enjoy reading, and am constantly reading/researching about skincare, nutrition & mindfulness. Hanging with my partner, puppies and friends is when I’m happiest!

R. You’re lucky to live in a part of Australia that generally has good weather. I’m slowly climbing out of the indoors now Spring has arrived in Melbourne!

Talking of how I’m grateful it’s now Spring, how do you practice gratitude?

N. This is something I make sure I do daily. It’s so easy to have a crappy day and think everything sucks, and I’m not saying it’s bad to feel down about shitty things happening in your life, because we all need to feel that – we are human and everything is relative! However taking a moment to realise how much you have, can completely change your state of mind and then your physical world.

Every morning on my way to work I make sure I think of everything I’m so lucky to have, a roof over my head, food, clean water, air in my lungs, the safe country I live in  – I could go on. I make an effort to openly say thank you to the universe and actually smile – even if it’s forced! It’s so easy to go through each day and think of the bad things & what you don’t have (especially in the world of social media!), take a moment to look at what you DO have.

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R. How do you look after yourself and practice a little self-love?

N. YOU should always be your number one priority!! Put yourself first. This is something I’ve only recently started practicing and it’s made the biggest impact to my life and mental well-being. I’m a people pleaser, always want to make others happy, and that was often at the sake of my own happiness and wellbeing.

I like to think of the emergency procedures when flying – “put your own oxygen mask on before helping others”,  you’re so much better equipped to help those around you when you’re looking after yourself!

R. Ha! I love that, how true though. I will try to keep that in mind also as I have a tendency to say yes to everything without realising how it impacts me.

Thank you again Naomi for sharing your time with us, it has been an absolute delight!

I hope you have enjoyed tonight’s Meet the Makers, feel free to let me know if you have any particular questions you would like asked next or any feedback!

Enjoy your night!
Renee
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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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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 – 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 – 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 – 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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