Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Marisa from Marisa Robinson Beauty

I am so so excited for today’s Meet the Makers! As Meet the Makers grows and develops it excites me to broaden the range of guests that I have on the series.

Today, we chat we a fellow Beauty Blogger, Marisa Robinson, who has been extremely supportive of not only myself but the wider Beauty Blogging community – gotta love that girl power!

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While I have (and will continue) building relationships in this industry, at times I have found it challenging to develop on those relationships. We are all moving through this life at an extremely fast pace so it is easy to get carried away in your own bubble.

Not with Marisa, she is always so engaging with myself and other followers and is even running a Beauty Blogging Challenge over on her website right now!

R. Good Morning and Happy Sunday! My favourite question first up, tell us, what lead you to starting your business?

M. I was always inspired by the bosses of the small businesses I worked for and the lives they were creating for themselves. My parents raised me with a really strong work ethic and I always gave 110%, but one day I started thinking ‘instead of making them (my bosses) rich, why couldn’t I work that hard for myself and live the amazing lives they were?‘.

It didn’t happen overnight, I was still working full-time when I launched my first business which was an online jewellery boutique selling collections from independent designers. I loved doing that and it was successful but unfortunately the timing in my life wasn’t right and I didn’t pursue it.

I continued to work full-time, all the while wishing I was doing my own thing, until about 4 years ago when I started freelancing as a Digital Marketing Specialist, studied makeup artistry and worked at a retail makeup counter just to be more hands on with makeup. I did wedding and occasion makeup for about 12-18 months before I realised that blogging was what was really filling up my cup and it made me feel so fulfilled that I was able to help other people by sharing my skills and knowledge.

Fast forward to today and I am still freelancing as a Digital Marketing Specialist while also being a Beauty Blogger and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

R. As I mentioned above, I absolutely love your presence I the beauty world, your passion and the fact you are so supportive of others. 

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t running your business?

M. Probably working for someone else and making their dreams a reality haha but I would like to say travelling the world or running an animal sanctuary.

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R. Running an animal sanctuary would be actual goals! We have an amazing one here in Melbourne called Edgars Mission, I will take you there when you visit Melbourne.
What does any given day look like for you?
M. I wake up (usually by my cat Bear) and check my emails and social media accounts. If I am seeing Digital Marketing clients I have breakfast get ready and head out to see them which may be all day or just for a few hours. I do a lot of my digital work remotely so I am lucky that I have the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime!
But when I am blogging or creating content I usually set myself up on my laptop and try to write a few blog posts or set up my camera and film some videos for YouTube. I don’t have a strict schedule and mix it up so no two days are the same.


R. I’ve found the beauty industry (like most industry’s) has it’s fair share of drama – with some influencers willing to “spill the tea” at any moment

How do you deal with any negativity that comes your way?

M. I have been fairly lucky and not had to go through negativity in my blogging career but I have been faced with some difficult clients and strong personalities in my day jobs. It actually took a lot of internal work for me to realise that those people are generally more unhappy within themselves than they are with me but it can be hard to see that at the time.

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R. I completely agree, and while it can be challenging to make sense of, generally those that are making things difficult or causing trouble tend to be frustrated in themselves.
 

What’s next for Marisa Robinson Beauty?
M. I am excited to announce that I have launched a Beauty Blogging Bootcamp where I will teach budding bloggers how to successfully create a blog and turn their passion for beauty into profit.
R. When I heard you were launching the Beauty Blogging Bootcamp, I was so excited for you. What an absolute gift to those that are curious about the industry and want to learn how to make something from their social media!
Any specific tips for those wanting to start a business in beauty?
M. Find your niche. It is a very saturated market so you need to find a way to stand out and your unique point of view.
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R. Yes! Finding that niche is important, and also having a creative edge. I also think being your genuine self helps too!

I note that from January 2018, you ruled out using any products that were tested on animals and not cruelty free. How important is the use of organic/natural ingredients to you and your brand?

M. I have been using more natural products lately, especially skincare, and I think it is super important to recognise what we are applying to our bodies. Just because something is applied topically doesn’t mean your skin isn’t absorbing it. People are so conscious about the food they are digesting but I think caring about what products you’re applying to your skin is equally as important.

As a Cruelty Free Beauty Blogger I am also very conscious of using products which aren’t tested on animals or sold into Mainland China where animal testing is a legal requirement.

R. Who has been the most influential person to you and your business?

M. It would definitely have to be one of my clients who I met through a previous job. When I told her I was going rogue she believed in me 110% and lined up a lot of the clients who I still work with to this day. She will never know how truly grateful I am for the support and the opportunities she has given me.

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R. Sometimes we just need a little push, a little motivation and a bit of support to help us take that next leap of faith.

Time for some reflection questions! What’s your favourite part of the day?

M. It would have to be the mornings. I have been waking up early (mainly because our fur baby Bear wants me to feed him hehe) and the sun just streams in through our windows and it makes me feel happy to be enjoying another day! I can’t say I am a morning person but waking up like this certainly makes my day 🙂

R. I love seeing Bear in your stories, he is the absolute cutest!

I often speak about purpose (another favourite question of mine) and what it means to someone. Do you think you have figured out your purpose?

M. I feel like teaching is my purpose. As a blogger I get to teach people about beauty, makeup and share my gift of makeup artistry. I get a lot of self-satisfaction from helping others and love watching them flourish and succeed which is definitely what has inspired me to start my Beauty Blogging Bootcamp too.

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R. This leads me onto gratitude, how do you practice this?

M. I like to take time out and give thanks to the universe for all the amazing people and opportunities I have in my life. I am polite and kind to everyone I meet, I smile at strangers and I try to support the people I love as much as I can.

R. Yes! It costs nothing to be kind. I couldn’t agree with you more!

Ok, walk us through your beauty routine, I’m super keen to know this one!

M. In the morning I always start by washing my face and spritzing it with a facial mist. It is an instant pick me up and super refreshing.

If I am having an off duty day, I just apply a tinted moisturiser or SPF but if I am putting on a face I generally go with the products I have listed in question 8. They are my go-tos and can take me from zero to one hundred in minutes!

In the evening I ALWAYS remove my makeup – that is a non negotiable. I then cleanse my skin (I am currently using one from DermaEnergy) and then apply my night cream/mask and eye cream. I love the Murad Resurgence Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream and Glow Lam Eye Serum.

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R. Haha! Make up off before bed is an absolute must! I admit, there are a few instances where I haven’t followed this rule and my skin has regretted it immensely in the morning.

What would you say are your go-to skincare or make up products?

M. I have so many! Here are my essentials:

– Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Rosewater
– First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturiser
– IT Cosmetics CC+ cream (I am currently trialing the matte and illuminating finish and I can’t quite pick which finish I love more!)
– Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
– Kat Von D Beauty Signature Brow Precision Pencil
– Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb


R. Finally, where is your favourite place in the world where you would travel back to, time and time again?

M. Definitely Bali. Not only because it a stones throw away and there is a spa or beach club on every corner, but because I love nothing more than booking a private villa, chilling in the pool and watching the clouds float by.

R. Oh Bali! Take me back, I’ve been twice and couldn’t agree more. One of the best places for a little downtime and relaxation!

Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us! I wish you the best of luck with your Beauty Blogging Challenge! I have no doubt it will be a success!

If you wish to connect with Marisa you can do so here – @marisarobinsonbeauty on Instagram or via her website http://marisarobinsonbeauty.com/

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Renee
x

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
x

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

x

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
x

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 – Polly from Sage Cosmetics

Sage Cosmetics is made up of an awesome duo, Polly & Lu. I’ve been following their journey for sometime now and was there cheering them on when they launched their newest baby, their website, a few weeks back.

Sage Cosmetics are based in Sydney and offer workshops, where you can learn how to make your own skincare. They even offer Bridal Showers and Hens Parties, which I think is awesome – I wish I could have had that for my Hens night!

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As I mentioned, they recently launched their website where you can pick up essential oils, gift packs and even products such as packaging for making your own skincare.

You can locate the website here, and they are offering 10% off for my readers! Use code HAPPYSAGE to receive your discount.

As part of the Meet the Makers series, today we are catchin up with one half of the duo, Polly, to learn a little more about Sage Cosmetics.

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R. Since we started following each other, I’ve been able to watch your journey which took an exciting turn 2 weeks back when you launched your website! I’m loving the feel of it, you both have done an amazing job! Being such a dynamic duo, what lead you to starting your business?

P. Lu and I have worked together for over 8 years in the natural cosmetics industry and were always each other’s wingman, we just clicked. Lu actually hired me (great choice) and taught me everything I know! At the end of 2017, when Lu was on maternity leave, our previous employers moved the business interstate, making us redundant. It was, in a word, devastating. But in hindsight, a blessing in disguise. We wanted to continue using the knowledge we had gained over the years and share our passion for natural cosmetics and ingredients. Both having natural skills in teaching, we wanted to inspire and coach others to make products with confidence.

R. Two girl bosses kicking ass, I love it! Your classes look like so much fun, I can’t wait to get up to Sydney and join in on the fun. With planning classes and running the business, what does any given day look like for you both?

P. As we are both mums to toddlers, our days are messy and unpredictable to say the least! We try hard to work during work hours, and commit to our family lives in between. Our work days really pack a LOT of intense work into the hours we have to care for our children, but with more than a fair share of questionable jokes and loud belly laughs. Our days off are filled with park dates, kids yoga, non-toxic paint spills, dog walking, summer beach days, being waaaay too noisy in libraries, museum madness and plenty of gardening.

R. I love that even though you are running a pretty hectic business, you are still setting aside time for your family. I think the temptation when you start a business is the freedom to work your own hours but rarely does it end up being a 8 hour day – more like 12+ hours. Therefore I think it is so important that time is set aside for the family – awesome stuff! If you weren’t running the business, what would you be doing?

P. Well who knows. It really feels now like this was the thing I’ve been waiting for, and I never even knew it. I trained and practiced as a Naturopath for many years, and loved being in clinic, but my sensitive personality found it hard to take care of myself while taking care of others. I don’t believe I would have come back to that line of work, but my intimate knowledge of the body, natural health, ingredients and a true love of coaching, brings the perfect combination to this venture. Creating, teaching and inspiring others in this field brings me insurmountable joy, as does working with my brilliant business partner Lu, who is beyond supportive.

R. You mention your knowledge of natural health, how important is the use of organic/natural ingredients to you and your brand?

P. As a person with extremely sensitive skin, I’ve been using natural products for many, many years. For me, it’s the only way to go, and I love being able to help people in the same position to be able to create products that are specially customised to suit their unique skin condition, type and scent preference. We truly believe that there are so many great natural products out there, that there is really no need to use synthetic ingredients. All our products are 100% natural, and every ingredient in our recipes is there to nourish and benefit the skin. And for us, that’s what it’s all about!

R. Apart from the launch of the website, which I absolutely love, are you both working on anything new or exciting?

P. We’ve spent the last 5 months creating our classes and building our website and online store to be a place not only to purchase your ingredients for handmade natural skincare, but to learn all about them. We are so excited to see how people go making and customising the recipes we have available. We are also working on our Recipe Kit concept, which will be kinda like Hello Fresh for skincare. You’ll receive all the ingredients you need, an easy to follow recipe and access to instructional video content. We think it’s going to be A LOT of fun.

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R. Oh my, the Receipe Kit sounds so cool. I will defintely want to be part of that, lucky I’m subscribed to your newsletter so I can keep my eyes open for when it launches! Next, tell me a little about you interests/hobbies outside running your business.

P. Well, to be honest, I’m a real nanna at heart. My hobbies include gardening, crocheting and baking. I love doing arts and crafts with my 3 year old son and playing cards with my parents. Lu is way cooler than me. Her passion is music, she’s an awesome musician and hosts a radio show called Foreign Dub Airways every Sunday arvo.

R. To be fair, I think both interests sound equally cool, nothing like a little baking on the weekend. I bet being in the studio on air would be a total buzz for Lu too! Having a purpose and a why is so important, have you figured out yours?

P. I think for both Lu and I, our why involves our families, but also perhaps even more, ourselves. We could quite easily work for others, but we know that to be truly fulfilled, pursuing this dream of ours is so important. We know how much we have to offer others by sharing our knowledge and the satisfaction of working hard to benefit our little families is incredible.

R. I honestly love that. I love how you recognise that while youre both doing this not only for your little families but also yourselves. Any self-care tips?

P. As working Mums, looking after ourselves is the best way to look after our families. So self-care is so important. I make sure I look after my mental health by checking in with a health practitioner frequently. I journal, meditate and exercise regularly. The thing I love best of all is having a “selfcare Sunday” ritual, vaporising relaxing essential oils, applying a clay mask to my face and an oil treatment to my hair and listening to podcast. Time out, intentional focus on self and a good natural beauty treatment can do wonders!

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R. I’m a massive fan of #selfcaresunday, it’s my favourite time of the week. I love how it can mean something different for everyone, as long as you are taking some time for yourself and doing a little check in – that’s what it’s all about.
Any tips for those wanting to move away from mainstream beauty products and into green beauty – where should they start?

P. For us, green beauty is very much about DIYing. We teach others how to make professional style cosmetic products from their home, and we practice what we preach. My beauty regime is solely handmade products created specifically for my very sensitive skin type. For anyone wanting to follow the same path, I would recommend taking time to get to know your skin type, understanding that although natural, not all products will suit you, and trying to simplify! Single ingredient skincare is simple, sustainable and effective. For example, using Almond oil as a makeup remover or Jojoba oil as a moisturiser.

R. The biggest thank you Polly for taking time out to have a chat. I absolutely loved hearing how you both focus on balance in your lives and I’m excited to be following along your journey as you continue to grow and teach those your natural ways.

Don’t forget, Polly and Lu are offering 10% off for my readers! Use code HAPPYSAGE to receive your discount at checkout.

Have a fab weekend,

Renee
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