Jeannie's Interview for the Women Mean Business Conference
Jeannie was recently interviewed for the Women Mean Business conference in Darwin. We thought we'd share her answers with you here.
What inspired you to create your business?
While travelling around Australia with my family, I made the decision to leave my corporate career behind and start my own business, not really knowing what, where or how. It was also during this trip that I started looking for a natural alternative to the conventional insect repellents we were using. I tried a few products out there and after much research, decided to try making my own. Together with a friend, I starting making and selling natural products at the Darwin markets in 2010, just for the fun of it. This soon developed into an obsession for me and in 2011, I decided to study to become a qualified cosmetic chemist and specialise in natural ingredients. Over the years, my business has grown way beyond my expectations with our Natural Wonders range developing organically thanks to the direct customer communication we get in the market environment. We now have over 40 stockists in the NT, Victoria, SA, Qld and WA. We also participate in numerous festivals, markets and shows in VIC, NT, Qld, WA and SA.
What has been your greatest achievement in your business so far?
From the very beginning my goal was to grow the business to a level where it fully supported my family so that my husband and I could work together on a full-time basis. We managed to achieve this in 2015, and since then my sister has also joined me in the business full-time to help with the marketing and wholesaling side of the business.
What has been the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I can honestly say that owning your own business is a huge juggling act, with a never-ending to-do list! My biggest challenge is really a personal one, trying to strike an effective balance between work and family. Due to the fact that I love what I do, I am quite happy to work in the business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as it really doesn’t feel like ‘work’ to me. However, I am mindful of having 2 beautiful boys coming into their teenage years and wanting to spend as much time with them as possible. It’s something I’m not very good at juggling but hope to improve on this year, by trying to be more specific with our business strategy, which will in turn help me be more specific about the tasks I work on.
Which countries do your customers come from and where does your product/service have the most relevance?
Our Good Riddance Mozzie & Midgie range is our biggest seller as it provides effective natural protection from mosquitoes and midgies. In Australia, our sales are highest in the southern states over the summer months and highest in the more tropical regions during the dry season (winter months). This year we have had a huge interest from distributors in a number of Asian countries. We currently have a distributor in Hong Kong and are setting up agreements with distributors looking to take it in to Taiwan and Korea. We also have interest from distributors in the UK to take the products into Europe.