Nothing like brightening up a dreary winter evening in London with a bit of inspiration from three totally awesome entrepreneurs, whilst sat inside the decadent walls of London’s very own Liberty department store. As part of their Be Well series, Liberty hosted an evening with The Detox Kitchen and friends: how to make it in the wellness industry.
We jumped at the chance to hear Sadie Reid (Hip & Healthy), Lily Simpson (The Detox Kitchen) and Kara Rosen (Plenish Cleanse) natter about how they’ve got to where they are today and share tips, tricks and some pretty funny anecdotes.
It can be pretty tough running a business. It becomes more than just a job, it creeps into every aspect of your life and not a minute passes when you don’t question – am I doing this right? Is this going to work? Is there a market for this? What the hell am I doing!?? We’re lucky enough at CBCo to have each other, partners in crime and somebody to generally absorb some of the highs and lows that being a budding entrepreneur can bring. But either alone or as a duo, starting out with your own business is a huge life change and so we welcome as much advice as we can get.
This trio have some pretty impressive achievements under their belts so we were keen to hear the ins and outs of how they’d got to where they are today, challenges they’ve faced and how they manage to juggle everything and still look a million bucks.
Here’s what we learned:
Never compromise on quality.
‘Wellness’ is a bit of a buzz word at the moment and so it was really interesting to hear from three businesses who have really made it, really cut through the crowded noise of what’s out there and differentiated themselves by one common factor: a great product. And that was a real takeaway for us and something that we will continue to pour into Clean Beauty Co: quality is king. When asked how they’ve managed to stay at the forefront of the London healthy eating scene among tonnes of competitors, Lily stressed that it’s down to the quality of their food. They source good ingredients from great suppliers, have recipes that work, serve decent sized portions and never stray from their healthy mantra. She said no matter how much they scale the business, they will never compromise on quality as consumers can see through that. Kara had a similar message on how her Plenish Cleanse juices are set apart from others who claim to yield similar benefits. It’s all about sticking to your values, in Kara’s case: organic produce, cold pressed method. It’s as simple as that.
The “tipping point” is different for everyone.
By tipping point we mea, the stage that you reach where you’re like ‘oh my god this is just too much I can’t possibly continue to invest any time doing anything else’, i.e. – you quit your job and focus solely on the business. The girls had varying opinions on this. Sadie, for example, said that there’s no harm in continuing on with a semi-solid wage if it’s also possible for you be running your business on the side. It’ll be tough, there will be 7 day weeks and 5am starts and super late nights, but the security of a payslip at the end of the month can give some the confidence to at least get their business off the ground. Both Sadie and Lily agreed that you’ll know when this point is – you’ll feel the moment that you need 100% of your energy focused on your business. It may take a while, you may work part-time for a bit, but eventually you’ll reach that lightbulb moment. By contrast, Kara stressed the ‘go hard or go home’ mantra in as much as you have to give it everything you have from the the get go. Your business gets the whole of you and therefore you accelerate faster. So that tipping point is different for everyone, and that’s ok. You need to find what works best in your situation.
You need to be prepared for your work/life balance to be totally random and skewed.
You will often feel as though you are being a bad friend/mother/wife/daughter. Your time will constantly feel stretched. Ride out the bad times because they’ll make you appreciate the good. The times when you totally boss a meeting, when you’re the coolest mum on the planet, when you manage to pull off that crazy idea…Don’t let the time constraints and tough times get you down. The fact that you are even running your own business is truly inspirational in itself and sets you aside as someone with strength, discipline and courage. And don’t forget to allow yourself some down time! All that hard work deserves at least one PJ duvet day every now and then.
Be smart with your investors.
Raising investment can be a pretty daunting task to approach, particularly if you’ve poured your heart and sole into your business and you’re suddenly faced with the prospect of giving a bit away. Sure, they’re giving you a hella lot of money in return. But it’s your baby! So it’s crucial that the people you bring on board are right for you and your business. Sadie recommend writing a list of the skills that your company could really benefit from. Marketing and PR? Contacts in the industry? Kara said the area she really needed help with was supply chain and manufacturing logistics, so she focussed on that when looking for backing. Don’t be afraid to ask the investors what they can bring to the table and what value they add over others. It’s exciting to get fresh brains involved! Lily made the point that they will often push you to focus on areas of the business that you would ordinarily avoid and encourage you to be better.
And the last piece of advice from us: just do it like a boss.
– Elsie Rutterford
Liberty’s Be Well events are happening throughout Feb. More info can be found here.