City: GEELONG, VICTORIA
Business: NATURAL SUPPLY CO
What: An online destination for all things luxe, ethical and eco-friendly for the whole family.
What was the catalyst for you launching your business?
Our co-founder Catherine Brooks has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and was researching the importance of getting rid of chemicals to look after her health. I have loved beauty products, and beautiful things, my whole life. Makeup, skincare, gorgeous candles, luxe packaging – these little luxuries in life have always called my name. I managed a fragrance counter at Myer during university, and from then on, I was completely hooked. I had a background in marketing and online beauty retail, so it seemed like a no-brainer! We believed in the importance of using cruelty-free, natural products on our bodies and in our homes - and set out to source THE most luxe, beautiful and eco-friendly products available.
When did you have a ‘f*ck-it moment’ and decide you were going to go all-in and start your business?
I had already had that moment and was running a small digital marketing business from home already, so it made total sense to supplement it with an online store that I was so passionate about.
What were some major challenges you had when starting your business? And how did you overcome them?
Cash flow - always cash flow! We injected our savings into the business to get started and then the business had to turn over product to grow and get new brands. The other big issue we have faced is some of our bigger brands ditching independent stores like ours, in favour of stocking the big guys. That hit our bottom line and we had to be creative.
What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
Being selected as one of the faces of the Geelong Small Business Festival last year was a huge honour!
Starting a business can be gruelling - what keeps you motivated, and keeps you going?
Running Natural Supply Co is an absolute joy for me, and while any space in our home has been well and truly monopolised, it is nice that it is filled with products that I love and feel confident using on my toddler, in my home, on my skin and sending off through the waterways. I feel like we are helping to make a difference, and that feels wonderful. I see all the feedback we're getting on social media and via email, and I literally get happy butterflies in my tummy each time someone tells us they love what they're now using or how happy they are with their order. It is the ultimate satisfaction as a small business owner to know that we're on the right track.
How do you create a work-life balance?
I am lucky to run the business from my home and have flexibility with the drop off and pick up times at daycare. My husband is also an incredible supporter of the business and really picks up a lot of the load of running the house and caring for our toddler.