Please share a little about yourself and what inspired you to create this brand?
My inspiration from my great grandmother’s two Victorian Diaries - She was a Victorian Herbalist and made her own Skin Care Products, in the same field as myself. I researched recipes from the Victorian Era and decided to try my hands at making the same products. At the time I was running a smal successful organic skin care salon and decided to introduce an intial small range of hand made products to use in my treatments and for clients to use at home, with dramatic success!

How would you describe your brand in a nutshell?
Natural/ Organic -Green / Eco Friendly / Vintage

What would you consider to be unique about your brand?
The Vintage History behind our brand. Our product formulations are recreated from original Victorian recipes using Heirloom Botanicals made popular during the 1800’s. Our commitment to producing extremely high quality products at an affordable price.

How many stores/branches do you have and where are they located?
We don’t have our own stores; we trade directly from our Head Office in Lonehill, Sandton (Johannesburg). We trade via online direct selling and market into the Health & Wellness Industry via independent distributors, Spa’s, Health Shops and Beauty Salons. Our Mission from the start was to create employment opportunities for Distributors to market our products and make an income thereby. Our products can be found throughout South Africa as well as Internationally.

What ‘piece of advice’ would you most like to share with people considering a start -up business?
Firstly, as a Christian I placed my business ideas in God’s hands and asked for guidance. A successful entrepreneurial business starts with a great idea in which you believe 100% , secondly in your Vision and whether you are prepared to work hard to achieve both. Consider carefully how your idea will impact other’s lives, whether there is a gap in a particular field, a niche which you feel need filling?

Expect long working hours and little free time, however if you are indeed passionate about your Vision you are more likely to persevere with it despite the hard work which is an ineveitable part of an etrepreneurs life. Flexibility and the ability to deal with problems creatively are great qualities in an entrepreneur so be prepared to do some tweaking to your orginal ideas and Vision.

A few changes will inevitable be needed so don’t get despondent and don’t be too proud to bounce idea’s of friends and family.

Expect that the creation of you business will include a process of ‘trial and error’, some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know ‘hedge their bets’ and start small whilst keeping one foot securely on the ground and this often includes testing the water whilst still in full employment elsewhere.

Fund yourself if you can instead of looking for outside funding , even if it means it takes a little longer .Develop your product/service and then start to do some market research , take a deep breath and ‘get the show on the road’!

The challenge as a business is to stay authentic and true to your brand, how do you achieve this?
By remaining faithful to something other than just financial profits, we strive not to compromise our core Christian values and we have always aimed to be the exception to the corporate rule. Brand authenticity is itself an outcome – the result of continuos, clear and consistent efforts to deliver truth in each and every tough point.

It is a by-product of doing things well, staying focussed on our promises to our customers. We practice what we preach; we’re clear about who we are and what we believe in. When a brands rhetoric get’s out of sync with customers’ actual experiences, the brands integrity and future persuasiveness suffers. We strive to avoid that.

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur? 
I love that I’ve achieved my goal of being able to provide employment for other people as well as myself and my husband – not just our own staff but all our distributors around SA who can earn extra income from marketing our products. I love having the ability to dictate when I workk , when I’ll be ‘in the office’ – a freedom that I never had when I worked in corporate world and it’s one I simply never want to let go of now. If I want to take the afternoon off to go on a hike or visit a friend , I can do it. To be free in a position to help others is a big thrill for me. I feel like I’m putting something back by improving someone else’s life. ‘Taking Off’ like this isn’t possible when working for someone else.
Most days I have several health isuues to attend to, clients to talk to and problems to deal with, I delegate a lot and we’re lucky enough to have a fabulous team of people working with us. Mostly I work in my home office premises , but I can work from anywhere – I was recently in Europe and thanks to technology wherevr I may be, I can still check in daily to keep tabs on what’s cooking. My husband with whom I run the company, and I often take off to the beach(we live at the coast) and can prop ourselves up at a coffee shop or literally on the beach and still work , how special is that?
We love being location independent. A Major plus for me over the years has been freedom to be able to pick and choose what supliers we do business with, you get to call the shots. We have the ability to create our own opportunities by doing things like attending conventions, networking with like minded people online, making new friends and customers and much more. In doing this we carve out our own destiny , we trust our team to do their jobs and allow them the freedom to grow, enjoy their work and thrive, this makes me happy. We focus big time on delivering outstanding service and products to our clients and taking care of our staff. Although I burned the midnight oil for a good few years to build the business, I look at where we are today and thank God for the opportunity, I don’t regret a moment of it.
I feel it is a priviledge to have my own business and give thanks to God everyday for the blessings He has poured out on us over the many years.

What has your journey so far taught you {about yourself or in general}? Has it changed your life in any way? It has taught me patience and compassion towards others , particularly those who have lost their jobs. I too was retrenched many years ago and forced to rethink my working career and realise my entrepreneurial vision. I’ve developed a deep appreciation of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It has been a delight to me to witness the power of nature harnessed in the products we create – from the sweet aromas of the floral essential oils to the uplifting and stimulating scents of the fruits and herbs which God provides through nature.
Working with these awesome ingredients over so many years has changed me , calmed me , nurtured me and brought me peace and wellbeing. My life has changed dramatically as I now have the freedom to do so much more than just sit in front of a PC all day.

How does the future look as far as ‘dreams and visions’ for your brand?
The future looks pretty positive right now, being a finalist in the Pastel/ 702 Small Business Awards has helped us to further ‘Get on the Map’. God willing, our vision is to penetrate the world markets and we seem to be well on the road to achieving that. We have distributors set up in several overseas countries and are in negotiations with a European company keen to market our products globally. We constantly strive to source new and innovative ingredients in an ongoing effort to improve our products to even higher levels.

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