Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Sarah from Summer Salt Body

Welcome back to Meet the Makers! This week we are chatting to Sarah from Summer Salt Body, and I couldn’t think of a better brand to interview in the weeks after arriving back from Hawaii (take me back!).

I met the lovely Sarah a few months back at a trade fair here in Melbourne. It was lovely getting to know and chat with Sarah, it felt like we were old friends even though we had only chatted on social media before meeting. Sarah established her brand, Summer Salt Body in 2014 and it is a Melbourne based brand.

Summer Salt Body creates skincare and beauty products that are natural and vegan, and that are utterly beautiful!

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R. Hi Sarah! Thank you for taking part in Meet the Makers, I know you have a bunch on your plate so I really appreciate it.

Walk us through how you decided to start Summer Salt Body!

S. I was working as a sales rep in the health food industry and became very inspired by the people I would meet everyday who all owned their own businesses. I am passionate about natural remedies and so started creating products and selling them at local markets. It grew from there as we gained stockists very quickly and after about a year I quit my job and took Summer Salt Body full-time.

R. That’s amazing you were able to grow the brand significantly in a year, what an achievement. As the business grows what does a typical day look like for you?

S. I head to the factory in the morning then make a start on emails/ orders/ invoices ect. The courier arrives to pick up all the orders for the morning then we start production of any product low in stock. We have a great little team who work so hard to get everything done.

R. I would think the most important thing in small business is having a supportive and capable team around you so it’s great to hear you have got that. 

What would you say is the biggest challenge in business?

S. Keeping up with everything all at once! As the business grows it becomes harder and harder to keep track of everything at the same time. That’s when you need to start employing people and delegating a lot of work which I find very hard to do.

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R. It’s a challenge isn’t it as you want to balance what you have, cash flow, staff, timeframes – the list goes on!

In business and in life, when a challenge or a tricky task occurs how do you tackle it?

S. There are always challenges in business. I try to step back from it and find a solution. It’s very easy to get swept up in a challenge and let it worry or stress you in some way. All you can do is accept it, find a solution and move forward.

When I find myself over thinking things I try to have a bath and a herbal tea surrounded by crystals, candles and relaxing music. Another thing that’s always good is to get back to nature. Take yourself to the beach and watch the waves roll in or go for a walk in the forest. You’ll always feel rejuvenated and you’ll realise the thing that was worrying you wasn’t really that bad at all.

R. Yes! I think removing yourself, by taking a step back helps immensely. It can help clear the head so you can think of a solution and move forward.

I mentioned above you focus on natural and vegan products, why is this important to your brand?

S. We only source the highest quality natural, vegan friendly & organic ingredients. It’s really important to us that we only use these types of plant-based ingredients in our products which all serve a purpose in nourishing the skin. Anything you put on your skin goes straight into your bloodstream so it’s extremely important to stay away from synthetic or toxic ingredients. This relates to everything you use.

R. This is why I love the products coming from Australian Makers, the awareness around what we put on our skin and how important it is to choose natural products. I love that consumers have access to these wonderful ingredients.

What’s next for Summer Salt Body?

S. We’ve been very busy creating new products in the lead up to Christmas this year! We have just launched a range of Face & Body Oils infused with 24K Gold, Wild Flowers and Crystals as well as crystal infused mists and Crystal Face & Body Rollers. I have a bit of an obsession with crystals so there may even be a few new crystal inspired products launching soon.

I’ve also had a lot of requests for mens and baby products so this will be something to think about in 2019.

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R. I absolutely love the Body Oil, I actually have it packed already for Hawaii. It smells like heaven!

What would you say to someone who is considering starting their own small business?

S. If you’re passionate about anything then just start! I always hear people saying that they want to start something but can’t because of this or that. For me this business started out as a hobby and I never dreamt it would be as big as it is today. You may need to juggle a new business with full-time work but if you just start and put time into it then it will grow and eventually you may be working for yourself full time instead!

R. Oh Sarah, it’s so true. I often say this to people, just start! I wish I had started years ago, but I could find a reason why. I look back and think, I should have just done it, made mistakes, learnt from them. It’s the only way!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

S. I am constantly inspired by the people around me. Wether it be other business owners, successful athletes or someone busking on the street. I absolutely love seeing people follow their passion and it really inspires me to be a better person myself.

R. Very true, inspiration is all around us. Our time here is so short, I love seeing those around me taking risks to get the life they want. 

What are your thoughts on purpose and gratitude?

S. I think it’s really important that everyone feels they have a purpose in life. I am really passionate about the things I believe in. I don’t know that I’ve found my purpose but I think it changes depending on what stage you are in your life. Right now I’ve got a little one year old girl and another baby due very soon. I just want to provide the best life I can for my little ones and give them lots of different experiences that this world has to offer.

I always try to remind myself of how lucky I am in this life. There are always things to be grateful for. I try to go to sleep each night with a thought of gratitude in mind. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of wanting more or never being satisfied with what you have. This isn’t a bad thing as it keeps you motived to keep working hard but it’s definitely important to step back from time to time and appreciate what you’ve accomplished and what experiences you’ve gained. It’s not about material possessions and I really believe that less is more.

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R. It’s such a fine line with material possessions. I’m struggling with that a little at the moment as I head to Hawaii. I absolutely love Sephora, but do I really need the stuff I want to buy there? Would I be better doing a boat cruise or snorkelling adventure – it’s a tough one!

As it is #selfcaresunday, any self-care tips you would like to share?

S. Self care should be practised everyday and it can be as simple as accepting help from others when you need it instead of overextending yourself. It could even be simply appreciating your body for how amazing it really is rather than picking out all the things you don’t like about yourself. Self care doesn’t always mean taking a relaxing bath or treating yourself to a face mask. It’s about the way you treat and talk to yourself from day-to-day. Talk to yourself as you would a friend.

R. I like that, sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves. I am going to make a note to talk to myself as a friend this week and consciously keep that a the front of my mind – thank you!

What is your go to skincare or makeup product?

S. Summer Salt Body! 🙂 I pretty much only use my own products or I create something that I’m looking for. I’m all about natural remedies so I’ll never put anything on my skin that is fake or toxic.

img_7726-e1540094115894.jpgR. Amazing! I wish I could just whip something up to suit whatever I needed for my skin. That’s an achievement in itself having those skills!

Thank you again for joining us Sarah, best of luck with the new Bub and the Christmas rush!!

You can read more about Sarah on the Summer Salt Body website located here www.summersaltbody.com and via Instagram here @summer__salt

Enjoy your Sunday lovelies!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Yong-Li Zhou from Enbacci Skincare

Just like that, Meet the Makers is back after a 2 week break while I was in Hawaii. I met some amazing Makers while I was in Hawaii and I’m thrilled that some even said yes to taking part! Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of weeks for various blog posts on where I visited, where I ate and where I stayed while in Hawaii. I can’t wait to show you all my adventures.

Tonight however, we are chatting with the beautiful Yong-Li from Australian made Enbacci Skincare. Nan, her mama and co-founder, and Yong-Li created the beautiful range right here in Melbourne with Nan wanting to create something that worked with her sensitive skin.

I have been trialling 3 Enbacci Skincare products and will have a full review for you published this week, keep your eyes peeled!

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Yong-Li Zhou

R. Welcome to Meet the Makers Yong-Li, I’m excited to learn more about Enbacci, especially since your line has some great concepts such as the use of fruit and plant stemcells. Tell us, how was Enbacci Skincare born?

Y. My mum had always suffered from sensitive skin, but as she got older, the severity of her allergic reactions worsened. It didn’t matter how luxurious the item was, if she had a reaction, she would end up with sores and open wounds. It was because of this that Mum and I sat down together and decided that we needed to create something that she could use.

R. Ouch! That sounds super painful. I like you pointed out it didn’t matter how luxurious a product was, your mum would still break out. Sometimes it’s easy to think that just because something is expensive it will work, when really it’s all about the ingredients and how they work together.

Walk us through an average day at Enbacci Skincare.

Y. A typical workday sees me sculling down my protein shake in the morning before heading off to the gym for a morning workout session. I am not really a morning person but I have found this to be an effective way to get me going for a day at my desk.

Between 8am and 8.30am, you can find me on my phone updating all our social media with a post for the day.

By the time 9am hits, I am at my desk writing down my to-do list for the day. Tasks can range from accounting, product development planning or just doing some product development, product designing and editing, ensuring our website is up to date and answering interview questions like these. I also like to be in the know when it comes to our clients, so you can often find me in our new store chatting away with them, getting to know them and developing some rapport. For me, the contact at a retail level is one of the most important for a business as this is where clients determine through their experience whether they will be returning or not.

R. I have been meaning to get into the retail store! I really wanted to attend your last event, I was sad when I couldn’t get there. 

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

Y. I co-founded the business with my Mum when I was in my first year of Uni. I was so quick and eager to finish my degree (having graduated within less than three years) so that I could properly focus on the business. If I wasn’t running this particular business, I think I might have gone on to do more studying for a time being but I definitely would have found a way to start a business of my own, one form or another

R. What have you found to be the biggest challenge so far in business?

Y. There are so many challenges both from a business perspective and from a personal perspective that one may experience in business. I think for me, it is finding that balance between the two that is most challenging. It is easy for friends to say “you need to relax and take a break”, but what they don’t understand is that you relaxing and taking a break means time away from your business which ultimately provides for your livelihood and the ability for you to relax and take a break free from stress.

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R. Agree! It’s especially tough when you are running a business and have so many ideas and dreams – your mind is constantly on the go. 

I recently found out someone has started copying one of my ideas, it’s a bit rough but I’m trying to take it as a compliment. How do you deal with negativity on a business level?

Y. Not going to lie. It is hard, particularly when you get negativity about something you pour your heart and soul into creating. I recently watched a Youtube video that had someone review one of our products that they received in a Bellabox. The negative comments started to flow out just as she began to open our products. Firstly, she didn’t like the particular full size product that was in her box (there were four possibilities that month) just because it’s not something she needs. Her comments then followed on to suggest how wasteful our product packaging is and how unnecessary it all is and how she would never go on to purchase a product with so much packaging. Ok, valid comments, but that really hurt to hear given that my Mum and I do everything in-house from developing the product, designing the packaging, even selecting the packaging types and finishes so that we are as environmentally conscious as possible as a brand, to hand wrapping (yes, hand wrapping) each of the products in their recyclable plastic security sleeves. Needless to say, this kept me up a couple of nights thinking about how we could fix everything wrong with our packaging until my Mum stopped me in my tracks one day and said, “you can’t listen to every single negative comment out there. We just need to stay true to who we are”. And she was right. There are people out there who aren’t going to like us, but I know that there definitely people out there who love us and love what we do. So now, I listen and I consider the negativity and if it isn’t constructive feedback, then pfft…oh well and bye, not-a-potential-customer.

R. That’s intense, I really enjoyed seeing how you tackled it and got into a better head space, with the help of mum. If I am writing a review, I am always thinking about sticking to what’s relevant, ingredients and how I found it worked. 

Anything new happening in the world of Enbacci Skincare?

Y. We are always working on new and exciting things. The most exciting project at the moment is the development of sheet masks. Its taken us a very long time to develop a serum formula that we meet all of our criteria and more importantly, that we are able to combine them with the particular sheet masks we have designed. We are also working on a campaign for the sheet masks that I am really excited about because to me, it just highlights who Enbacci is and what we are all about.

R. YES! I am so excited to hear this, I absolutely love sheet masks. 

Tell me, how do you celebrate a win?

Y. With family, good food and good wine, then, a good sleep-in!

R. That sounds perfect! Who has influenced your personal and business journey?

Y. Definitely my parents. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their unconditional support. Growing up, I saw them start and end several businesses of their own. I believe I developed that drive I have for business from watching them working hard.

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R. Is the use of organic/natural ingredients important to you and your brand?

Y. Something I say to my clients all the time is that I don’t like using the words organic and natural in our industry. I feel like they are heavily conflated words. Something that a lot of consumers may not know is that organic and natural ingredients are often not a closely regulated, which could mean allergies or other side effects that have not been disclosed, or that they are more likely to have microbes

I prefer to say that we try to use ingredients that are naturally derived or organically sourced, but to me, to have a product that is actually natural or actually organic, the final product won’t last two weeks in your fridge. The exception to that are certain balm/wax products but that’s getting into more of the science and preserving ability of ingredients.

R. There is just so much to learn about terminology, and how much greenwashing plays into it all. I really love your honest and clear response.

Outside of Enbacci Skincare, what do you like to get up too?

Y. I love reading, particularly fantasy and sci-fi genres. When I’m not going through a text-book, you can find me sitting on the couch, rugged up in a blanket with a good book and a cup of tea.

I do also love cooking and baking. I love creating gluten-free decorated layered cakes and other sweet treats that can be enjoyed by family and friends. I have seriously considered turning this into another side-business!

R. I think you could be onto something, gluten-free layered cakes sound delicious!

What would you say is your purpose?

Y. Tricky question! I believe everyone definitely has a purpose but I don’t believe we all have to know what it is. I definitely haven’t figured mine out yet. My mum says to me that my purpose was to kick my parents up the butt so that they would get their act together when they were younger, but I would like to think that my purpose has changed a bit now. Perhaps it is just to be the best person I can be and a role model for others?

R. Well, I think your work ethos is incredibly inspiring! Purpose constantly changes, so don’t worry if you haven’t got anything set in stone.

Favourite part of the day?

Y. As much as I do love my work, there is nothing quite like the feeling of coming home to my husband and furbaby and enjoying a home-cooked meal.

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R. There is nothing like time on the lounge with the fur baby! I’m excited to see mine furbabies after 2 weeks away, and the husband – ha!

I love hearing about other’s beauty routines, walk us through yours.

Y. Morning: Cleansing with our Vitis Vinifera Rejuvenating Gel Cleanser, followed by our Age Revitalising Eye Defence and our Vitis Vinifera Rejuvenating Essential Creme. I usually just apply a little eye liner and fill in my brows and that is my make-up for the day.

The following is my full night regime that I do once-twice a week:

  1. Remove makeup with makeup remover.
  2. Scrub with our Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Scrub.
  3. Apply our Detoxifying Clay Mask and let that sit for about 20 minutes whilst I am watching something on TV.
  4. Rinse off the mask and apply our Creme.

On most nights, I forego the scrub and mask and just use out gel cleanser to get rid of the excess dirt and oils from the day.

R. I am loving the Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Scrub!

Favourite skincare and makeup product?

Y. My go-to skincare product is our Vitis Vinifera Rejuvenating Creme. I always tell clients how important it is to moisturise your skin no matter your skin type.

My go to makeup product is black waterproof liquid liner. My favourite is MAC liquidline because it is the only one that does not melt on me.

R. Agreed! The MAC Liquidline is amazing, and stays put on eyes too without transferring to my upper eyelid. 

How do you practice self-care?

Y. As basic as this may sound, getting a good night’s sleep and keeping yourself hydrated. There are so many studies out there that look at the negative effects of each of these can have on the body when we lack good sleep or adequate amounts of water. The only thing we are required to do is make a few habitual adjustments.

R. Sleep is so important, not only mentally but physically too. I always know if I’ve pushed myself too hard and not gotten enough sleep – you can tell on my skin!

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

Y. Definitely by the beach. Any beach is fine but if I really had to pick one, it would be Kua Bay in Hawaii.

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R. Oh Hawaii, take me back! There is so much beauty there, my favourite too!

Lastly, imagine money was no object. What would you do? 

Y. I’d hire more people to help me run my business so that I can go travelling the world more!

R. Oh that’s the dream isn’t it! Maybe you can launch Enbacci in different countries around the world and use that as an excuse to travel the world!

Thank you so much Yong-Li for your time and your open and honest answers. It was so refreshing to learn a little more about Enbacci Skincare. 

If you would like to see the full range of Enbacci products, you can do so here http://www.enbacci.com and also connect with Yong-Li on Instagram @enbacci

As I mentioned above, I will have my Enbacci product review live this week too, stay tuned!

Happy Saturday!

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Sydney Makers Meet Up

On Friday, I hosted a lovely lunch with some beautiful Sydney based beauty makers at the Grounds of Alexandria. When I say hosted, I really didn’t do much as the moment everyone arrived magic just happened. I loved that it was intimate enough that everyone got to chat with each other, that at one point Louella whipped out some products for a little demo and that there were so many smiles to be seen.

A special thank you to Davroe and Malie Organics for sending over some surprise goodies for the ladies! They loved them!

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The Grounds are a beautiful place to meet, there is so much to look at and to talk about. Kevin Bacon has left the building but they had the cutest little piggy in his place!

I loved seeing the spring blooms everywhere against the lush green backdrop – so beautiful!!

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Of course I started with a cocktail, it was called a Garden Pavlova – oh boy! It was so yummy with Gin and St Germain the free dried raspberry was a treat!

The Grounds also still had some left over Halloween decorations which was fun to see, I love the styling of this place. They know how to do events!

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After lunch we enjoyed some vegan ice-blocks which were perfect as it was so hot once the sprinkler system shut down! This was the tropical ice-block with kiwi, raspberry and blueberries!

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I thought for this Meet the Makers, it’s a day late – I’m on Hawaii time, I would recap the day and who came along to celebrate all things beauty!

The beautiful Makers included Louella from Kiss Ready Lips, Polly from Sage Cosmetics, Louise from Devine Oils, Sara from Mermaid Cove Organics and Marisa from Marisa Robinson Beauty. My Mum also came along.

All of these beautiful ladies have been so gracious with their time, taking part in my Meet the Makers series. So I thought for this week, we will also recap on their interviews!

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The Makers!

Starting with Sara, my was my first ever Meet the Maker interview. This beautiful lady has gone from strength to strength since opening her online store, Mermaid Cove Organics. Specialising in small-batch products from green beauty makers such as Herbs & Heart, Black Robin and Ili Skincare, Sara has now launched her own face oil range too. It was so lovely to finally meet in person!

You can read Sara’s Meet the Maker interview here.

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The beautiful Marisa from Marisa Robinson Beauty and I hit it off! We have built a lovely friendship online as Marisa is so supportive of all those around her. It felt like we had been friends or years.

Marisa specialises in the digital world, but blogs about beauty after hours. Just last week she launched her first e-book titled “A Bloggers Guide To Working With Brands and Agencies and is a perfect read for those new & old to the game. Marisa also runs Blogging Bootcamps, which sound amazing and something I need to take part in!

You can find Marisa’s Meet the Makers interview here.

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The beautiful Louella from Kiss Ready Lips and I have been friends now for close to a year. I met Louella at Finders Keepers Sydney, where she gave the most passionate demonstration of her products that feature Chia Seed oil.

Louella was kind enough to bring along some goodies for me to try, her new Skin Veil and the very stunning Glowing Dawn Body Oil. With a quick demonstration of the oil that left everyone in awe, friends you seriously you need to check this oil out – so shimmery!

You can find Louella’s Meet the Makers interview here.

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Beautiful Polly from Sage Cosmetics, it was so wonderful to meet you. Another soul that I’ve met, where it felt like we had been friends for ages. It was refreshing to speak with you so openly about life, motherhood, everything and anything.

I love what you and Lou are doing, running workshops to teach those how to make their own skincare products, I can’t wait to come along to one when I am in Sydney next.

You can read Polly & Lou’s Meet the Maker interview here.

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Now, the beautiful Miss Louise from Devine Oils and I did not get a photo together. How did I let this happen? Not happy Jan! Ha! It was beautiful to finally meet you Louise, such knowledge of the industry which I think is wonderful to share. I’m glad you were able to experience The Grounds, you will have to make it your new go-to place/

I also just realised I haven’t interviewed you for Meet the Makers! We will need to change that ASAP. Instead, you can read my review on the beautiful trial set from Devine Oils here.

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What I took away from the lunch, was how beautiful it was that I was able to be 100% myself. I was nervous to meet so many faces, what to say, do, act etc. The thoughts we all have when we meet new people, but I was instantly relaxed and happy.

I am so grateful to you all for joining me for lunch and sharing more about yourselves.

Truly grateful.

Renee
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Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Vanessa from v e e.p bath and body

Another week done and dusted and I am now in the final week before Hawaii! The countdown is well and truly happening – I am just so excited!

Today we are chatting with the fun and utterly fabulous Vanessa from  v e e.p bath and body, a quirky Melbourne based brand with a focus on bright and colourful vegan skincare.

You may have seen my posts about the “Sunday Blues” Mask from v e e.p bath and body. I picked that up on my recent visit to Finders Keepers in Melbourne. It is pure heaven, made to uplift your spirits, which let’s be honest we all need on a Sunday night. It also has ingredients that have been formulated to brighten the skin and also help balance the skins oil production.

Not only has Vanessa created a range of skincare to help women feel confident in their skin, she also supports Soap Aid. This organisation supports communities who do not have access to basic hygiene items, such as soap. In March, Vanessa introduced the one for one soap initiative. For every product sold, Vanessa donate’s a soap bar to a child living in poverty around Australia and across the globe. Since March, she has donated 600+ soap bars! What a beautiful initiative.

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R. Thanks for joining us Vanessa! I simply adore your Sunday Blues Mask, it’s such a treat to use on a Sunday evening as I mentally prepare for the week ahead!

Lets start with what led you yo starting v e e.p bath and body?

V. I’ve always wanted to run my own business and I knew it would be something creative, but I never pictured myself creating skincare. The business started by accident really. I wanted to learn something new so enrolled myself into a soap making class. I soon became addicted to soap making and it kind of went on from there!

R. Ha! That’s amazing. Well you can see the creative side in your products, the packaging is so colourful and fun!

Walk us through a day at v e e.p bath and body.

V. My days throughout the week a quite different to each other.. the day could be spent doing production, admin, photoshoots, designing, developing new products or studying! I do everything myself so no 2 days are ever the same really!

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R. What have you found to be the biggest challenge while you’ve been in business?

V. Comparing myself to other entrepreneurs/businesses and ‘fraudy feelings’ – feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing and eventually I’ll fail (#realtalk haha)

R. It’s so easy to do isn’t it. Second guess yourself and even compare yourself to others. I can tell you now, you are doing amazing things girl!

Have you had to deal with any negativity?

V. I haven’t had to deal with much negativity from others. The main negativity I deal with is from myself. I am quite an optimistic person so it’s not often that struggle with negativity but when I do it’s usually because I’m stuck in a rut or I haven’t had enough ‘me’ time. So I usually schedule in a night by myself (TV, mask, long shower etc) or I watch inspiration youtube vids, listen to like-minded business podcasts.

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R. I find if I’m stuck in a rut then it is super hard for me to pull myself out of it too.

What helpful advice would you give someone who is looking to start their own skincare business?

V. Take time developing products and testing them out before launching. I would get a few great products ready before launching. And have a brand story ready to launch with. I’ve redesigned packaging 3 times since being open for 4 years haha. In saying that though, don’t wait until everything is perfect or you’ll never start. Also, be aware of other brands out there but don’t be following them too closely or you’ll just end of comparing yourself and feeling down. Have a couple of brand role models but be ORIGINAL! There’s a lot of green beauty businesses with almost identical products – down to the labels and product names! That’s not cool.

R. I agree about not following anyone too closely, in any profession. Especially now with social media, what’s going on behind closed doors is often very different to what is happening publicly. I think it’s so important to keep in mind, just to always be yourself.

What’s next for v e e.p bath and body?

V. We recently released 3 new products! The Sunday Blues Brightening & Exfoliating Mask, Cop That! Brightening & Exfoliating toner, and the Anoint face oil.

I’m currently working on 2 face creams and have plans for a hand cream later on in the year!

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R. Wooo a hand cream, alongside cleansers they are my second favourite beauty product! I can’t wait to see the packaging for that.

I also love hearing about people’s skincare routines, let’s chat about yours – what does it look like?

V. I try to do my beauty routine morning and night, but usually it’s just once because I can be lazy. This is going to sound like a plug but I literally don’t use any other skincare products apart from vee.p bath and body haha

  • Cleanse with Mellow Yellow Cleansing Oil or Calming Charcoal Cleanser – depending on what my skin needs that day
  • Tone – ALWAYS TONE! With either of the vee.p toners but currently the go to is Cop That! Exfoliating toner as my skin needs some smoothing out
  • I use a jade roller to depuff my face and get circulation going
  • I sometimes use a face serum that I made up myself for fun 😝
  • Moisturise with the Rosy Posy face cream (coming soon!)
  • 4 drops of Anoint face oil. Massage it into my skin

People always think that’s a lot of steps but it takes me about 10 minutes.

R. Once you get the routine down pat then its super easy. My morning routine is normally just a quick cleanse and moisturise but I spend a little longer in the evenings as I find it nice way to relax.

Now we touched on the skincare routine, what would you say is your go-to skincare or makeup product?

V. My one go-to skincare product is our Anoint Face Oil. I’m obsessed. I put it on morning and night and sometimes just randomly throughout the day.

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R. I will have to pop that on the list of products to try next!

You mentioned above you always thought you would end up doing something creative and have ended up in skincare. How do you think your purposes evolved?

V. Purpose is something I think about a lot. I’m quite a ‘big dream’ sort of girl so when I picture my life and my business I aim to grow not just to have wealth or be known in the beauty industry. I want to grow so I can create jobs and a great work place. My vision is to employ people (mainly women) who struggle to find work – new mums, single mums, unemployed for long periods of time, previously homeless. And I want to grow in revenue so that I can give more back to the community through charities.

I think my purpose is something I’m always working on but currently I feel its to help other women (and men) feel they are beautiful, inside and out; that they are loved and they matter.

R. That’s so beautiful to hear, and what an opportunity to help those that need it. I have no doubt that this is something you can achieve!

Running a business can be chaotic, how do you practice self-care?

V. Self-care is not selfish! And it’s almost much more than a face mask or a bath with a glass of wine. It’ll be different for everyone. If you’re an introvert like me, it might be having the TV to yourself for a night. If you’re an extrovert it might be going out. Self care is knowing what you need and putting that before anything else. Schedule it if you need to.

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R. I agree 100%, sometimes it’s even scrolling mindlessly for an hour on Pinterest putting together your dream home! It really does mean something different for everyone.

I’ve really enjoyed writing this interview with you Vanessa, wishing you the best of luck with all your dreams and goals! 

If you would like to connect with Vanessa you can do so her website www.veepbathandbody.com or via Instagram @vee.pbathandbody

Happy Sunday all!

Renee
x

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
x

Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Juliet from Mermaid Julisa

The lovely Juliet and I have followed each other for quite some time now and I was delighted when I realised we would both be at the same trade show back in August of this year.

I eagerly approached Julet, and she greeted me with a massive hug. I’m not the hugging type, and when I do it’s extremely awkward, however Juliet made me feel at ease. We chatted about her new range of nail polishes and a few things she has planned for Mermaid Julisa, and I was so excited for her. I just knew that she needed to be part of Meet the Makers!

Mermaid Julisa focusses on mindful beauty rituals, where you can take time to focus on yourself and give yourself a little self-love. Juliet has a range of toxic free nail polishes in the most amazing colours (Ariel & Ghost Cactus are stunning), acetone-free nail polish remover, crystal rollers and organic Tamanu skin oil.

Juliet’s website is a visual delight too, and makes me want to just dive into the ocean and become a mermaid! You can find her website here.

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R. A big hello to you from Melbourne all the way to sunny Queensland! You’ve had a few massive months since we met, with the trade show and then your overseas adventure. I should say welcome home!

I’d love to start with learning a little more about how Mermaid Julisa was born!

J. I used to suffer from symptoms of hormonal imbalances that have really affected my body and my mind. That prompted me to research about the potential hormone disruptors such as phlates that could be hiding in my skincare, beauty and personal care products.

I feel dedicated to overhaul my care routine with toxic free products and that was the most important decision I’ve made for myself. I pretty much could find alternatives to most products, while I felt there isn’t many choices of toxic free nail polish in the market that appeal to me. I’m attracted to bold, magical shimmers and glitters and I’m very adventurous with styling colours. Most natural cosmetics in the market offer the ordinary and nude palettes only. It’s inspired me to start my own range of non-toxic polish range with the most mermaidy, out of this world shimmery palettes! Also being a green beauty blogger myself before starting Julisa has helped me understand where my tribe is and how to cater to their needs.

R. You mentioned you struggled with symptoms of hormonal imbalances which is one of the reasons you turned to green beauty. Any tips for those also looking to make the switch to green beauty – where should they start?

J. Make a list of types of products you use most and start swapping out your most frequently used products first. Swapping your entire beauty and personal care collection could be expensive to do all at the same time. It took me around 9 months to completely overhaul mine. In the meantime, do your research online on sites such as EWG and Safe Cosmetics Australia – they certify brands that meet their clean ingredient standard (proud to share that Julisa is accredited by SCA). Also follow green beauty bloggers who do authentic reviews (hello @thehappyorganicgirlau!). Getting to read how other people rate the products is the best way to get a feel if those might suit you.

R. I mentioned above that you were in Melbourne with your new product range, with that stunning new packaging! Anything else in the works for Mermaid Julisa?

J. Too many! After launching our recent rebrand the next product range we want to expand is our beauty tools range. I’m currently playing with a few prototypes after my recent visit to our crystal suppliers and I can’t wait to share some sneak peeks on my Instagram! Of course, they’ll be non-invasive and working in line with holistic health practice.

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R. Oh yes! You are definitely leading the way with your crystal tools. The Rose Quartz Facial Massage Roller Wand is out of this world. I haven’t seen anything like it!

Often in business (and in life) we have to deal with negativity. What do you do to overcome these challenges?

J. First of all, I select my tribes and the type of energy I want to associate myself with. If I could sense negative energy I tend to stay away. But of course, unfortunately, negativity isn’t something that one can completely avoid. When that happens, I always try to stay calm and inspire the person to be positive as much as I can. I think setting your own mindset is really important, and I won’t let anyone else take my positivity away from me.

I feel that having clarity and a focused mind is the first step to any problem solving process. When I feel stressed out when faced with a challenge, I take a step back and have a short quiet moment to calm my nerves. I find that short meditation practice helps immensely, as well as conscious breathing exercise to clear my mind. Because nothing’s worse than creating another problem with a quick-fix type of solution that wasn’t being thought through properly under stress.

R. Mindset is incredibly important. I know, if I am in the wrong mindset I find it incredibly challenging to pull myself out from it. I generally need to remove myself from the situation and take some time out. 

Having been a beauty blogger, and now running your own small business, do you have any tips for those considering jumping into a Green Beauty business?

J. Start small & start now! There’s no better timing than right at the moment when you feel you have that million dollar idea. I’ve come across way too many people with brilliant ideas but their business plan was put off by their own excuses – whether not being able to let go of financial security of a stable job or just being passive about execution. For green beauty industry in particular, I feel that being authentic and knowledgeable is the key to attract your like-minded tribes.

R. Yes! That’s the best advice – start now. I often reflect on where The Happy Organic Girl would be if I had started sooner. I’m just glad I started!

Outside of Mermaid Julisa, what do you get up too in your downtime?

J. Making a switch to green beauty has really opened up a whole new aspect of life and hobbies for me. I’ve been practising yoga for around four years. I tried to head to my local studio twice a week despite my busy schedule.

I try to fit in some holiday travel as much as I can, sometimes by combining work and leisure trips. I love exploring off the beaten track destinations and places where I could marvel at natural wonders.

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R. I love that your business has changed other aspects of your daily life for the best! 

You mentioned you often try to combine work and travel, where is your favourite place in the world to travel too?

J. Vanuatu tops my list of wow-inducing destinations to lose myself. I spent a week on the remote Santos island. The meditative sound of lapping waves on the beach every morning is the best wake up call one could ask for!

R. That sounds absolutely divine, I can just hear the waves lapping on the beach!

Mermaid Julisa is all about mindful beauty, how do you practice self-care?

J. I try to take 10 minutes before bedtime for self-care. It could be a quick manicure session, self body massage, facial massage or soaking in warm bath. I try to switch off my phone so that I can be really mindful of the sensations and how I feel dedicating some precious self care time to myself.

Constantly reminding myself to be mindful about my own ways of thoughts and how my inner energy radiates. I’m trying to be more vocal and open about showing my affection for my loved ones.

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R. I might try the warm bath tip this week. I never really focus on the water as I am always so busy taking photos ha!

Lastly what is your go-to skincare or make up product?

J. I literally can’t live without my rose quartz gua sha. This pretty, non-invasive tool does so much to help with my puffiness (bye-bye marshmallow face!). Also for sinus relief on flights and relieving muscle tension around neck & shoulders. There are so many wellness benefits of gua sha and I feel I’ve just started with exploring more.

R. I absolutely love my Gua Sha tool, the way it curves to my face and the cooling feeling from the crystal is absolute bliss! 

Thank you so much for taking time out to be a part of Meet the Makers! 

J. Was so lovely meeting you Renee at Life In Style in Melbourne! Thanks for having me and I can’t wait to catch up!

R. I absolutely loved meeting you and the bond we have made!

If you are curious about Gua Sha, you can purchase the tool from Mermaid Julisa and shortly I will have available a walk through on how to practice Gua Sha! I can’t wait to share that with you also.

Happy days!

Renee
x

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
x

Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Erin from Tinka the Label

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gia

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

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

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

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

R. What’s next for Tinka the Label?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

R. What is your biggest self-care tip?

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

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

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

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Flora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meka

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

You can find Erin’s designs here.

Have a wonderful Saturday evening all!

Renee
x

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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