Today we are so excited to share a chat we had with the amazing Natalie of Pink Hibiscus. We talked all things business, skincare and wellness and what's coming up for the brand.
Tell us a bit about the people behind your business...
It’s just me, myself and I at Pink Hibiscus right now, although I do have the support of my husband Nic when it comes to making my products and packaging orders. They say it takes a village to raise a baby and I believe the same can be said of running a business. Whether it be my dear friends who help me at markets or making skincare, my fellow women-in-business who offer advice and guidance, or my mum who is there for whatever I need, whenever I need it. It may just be “me” running the business day-to-day, but I’m grateful to have a village surrounding me so I never feel truly alone.
What inspired you to start your business and when did you start it?
A friend invited me to attend a skincare-making workshop back in the early 2000s with renowned aromatherapist Salvatore Battaglia. In the blending portion of the workshop, he approached me and said that I was an intuitive blender and seemed to have an intrinsic understanding of aromatherapy.
Upon thinking about it further, it made sense because my grandmother had been using old remedies with me since I was young!
I was hooked and started making lotions from scratch for myself, family and friends - who were all reporting great results in their skin. The cystic pimples I had suffered from since my teenage years disappeared through the use of my very own products! I had tried everything and visited so many professionals over the years to no avail!
In a desire to explore this further, I decided to study Aromatherapy to deepen my knowledge.
Word of mouth saw me traversing Sydney with my box of essential oils, analysing my customers’ skin before creating bespoke skincare for them.
When this became unsustainable, I decided to formulate a range of products utilising the knowledge I had gained from my work “on the ground” across a broad range of demographics.
At this time, I had started contracting for Fantasy Tan Australia as their Training, Development and Communications Manager and had started another side-hustle - spray tanning. I’d, thankfully, developed an extensive client base that included quite a few celebrities who required tanning weekly, which meant their skin prep had to be en pointe…and it wasn’t!
So…the official Pink Hibiscus skincare range launched with the Body Smoother…the solution to perfectly prepped and exfoliated skin. This product was just magic and became my best-seller really quickly. The lotion base complete with powder fine walnut shell, papaya extract and a blend of nourishing, regenerative essential oils was a two-in-one product that moisturised as it exfoliated and solved my clients’ prepping woes!
The Body Smoother was also the first product in a long line that I have since formulated that solves a problem I couldn’t find a solution to in the market. If I couldn’t find a product that matched my needs, I figured that others might be having the same issue…why not create it myself!
Then...I had a car accident; a head-on car collision (twice-over), whilst on my way to the hospital to visit my father who had just had a heart attack. A P plater ran me off the road at full speed into oncoming traffic and I was lucky to get out with minimal injuries. My life was turned upside down, I lost my contract at Fantasy Tan and decided that it was time to go all in with my business. I believed it was a sign...
The brand grew and, as it did, the acknowledgement did as well. I was listed as number 4 on Smart Company’s Hot 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 list, Pink Hibiscus was featured on shows such as A Current Affair, magazines including Cosmopolitan magazine and The Australian Women’s Weekly, national and local papers and constant wonderful coverage on 2DayFM thanks to one of my clients, Jackie O.
I was still the only person in the business, making everything by hand and personally financing everything. It got to the stage where I reached burnout and I decided to place the business on hiatus while I returned to the corporate world and gifted myself the opportunity to have someone else pay my bills for a while!
Fast forward to 2018 and I started to get enquiries from more and more people about whether I would ever relaunch the brand…I sat with it for a while and decided it was the right time.
It was to be a slow relaunch though, with the new iteration of Pink Hibiscus being a more mature, well-rounded version…just like its founder!
I relaunched with the desire to help people become more confident in their skin and to carve some time out every day for themselves by transforming their daily skincare routine into a mindful ritual.
I wanted Pink Hibiscus products to nurture your skin and your soul.
It’s such an easy and pleasurable way to prioritise yourself first thing in the morning and last thing at night to ensure your cup is filled before you fill everyone else’s.
As women, it seems we're programmed to look after everyone else before ourselves and I wanted Pink Hibiscus to be the reminder and facilitator for some dedicated “me time” every day.
I’ve formulated products that are easy to use and suit all skin types because I want to remove the overwhelm with which products to use to obtain the best results for their skin.
So many of our customers are women who have either never used anything more than soap on their skin before because they just don’t know what to use or have bought all the products they were told to buy only to find that they don’t work or they don’t know how to use them.
Pink Hibiscus offers straight-forward, transformative skincare that works.
What would an ‘average day in the life of’ look like for you?
There’s no average day at Pink Hibiscus HQ! But that’s what makes life interesting in my books!
Generally though, I try to practice what I preach to my customers and start my day with a short meditation, some slow stretching, my morning skincare and gua sha routine and writing in my journal with a cup of tea. This doesn’t happen every day of course, but it’s something I try to adhere to as much as I possibly can because it makes me more productive and starts the day with a positive energy.
I start the “working day” by checking my social media and engaging with my customers...and then see what emails have come in overnight.
I try to segment each day into categories as much as possible (although deadlines, orders and skincare making can sometimes throw that method out the window!). One day might be content creation, one might be big picture planning, one might just be dedicated to making skincare!
Within those segments I work in 25-minute bursts as I find myself more productive using this “pomodoro method” and I aim to plan out each day the night before so I can jump straight into work as soon as I start.
My gorgeous cavoodle Cookie gets a walk in while I catch up on podcasts or making calls either as a break around lunch time or before I start working. Full disclosure though...this doesn’t happen every day as sometimes I’m so “in the flow” I can be sitting at my desk without even getting up for hours on end!
Given that I work from home, I try my best to leave my office and not re-enter until the next morning and I’m getting better at not checking my phone when spending time with Nic in the evening - he might beg to differ though!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The excitement of what a new day might bring. So much can change in 24 hours and I find the anticipation of that intoxicating.
There is so much “why” behind what I do that it gives me a real purpose to get out of bed. I sometimes say there are TOO many reasons “why” I created Pink Hibiscus!
To help solve people’s skincare woes and boost their confidence in themselves through nourished skin, to encourage my customers to take mindful time out for themselves through a nurturing skincare routine, to give back to the community and the environment (a central part of everything I do as best I can)...the list goes on.
It’s because of all of these “why's” that, even on the days when it’s tough to get out of bed, or the days I’m so exhausted I don’t feel like I can continue pushing through, that I do...and inevitably I’m rewarded for it.
How do you make your products?
This really depends on the products I’m making, but every batch starts with sanitising the packaging and my utensils and trimming the atomisers or pumps to size if filling bottles.
I then decide how much I’m going to make based on the ingredients and packaging I have in stock and lay out the respective packaging on the table as our guide. I’ll update the recipe based on the quantity being produced and start mixing...and taking photos and videos along the way so my customers can feel a part of the making process as well!
Nic is in charge of manually dispensing each product and labelling before everything is packed away ready for sale!
What have been the biggest trials so far in starting and running your company?
Time and financial capital are my biggest challenges. I’ve had to maintain freelance work on the side to pay my bills and fitting that in along with running Pink Hibiscus can be really tough.
I often joke that even if I worked 24-7, my to-do list would still never decrease!
A product-based business is expensive to run and that money needs to be paid up front long before sales are made. Whether it be for ingredients, packaging, insurance, design, printing...or any other manner of expense, it takes a long while for a business (especially product-based) to turn a profit and pay you a wage. So, managing your cash flow and coming up with ways to make money fast to get things done and new products launched is part and parcel of the role.
With those challenges comes a huge feeling of achievement though, there’s no better feeling when you overcome them and find a solution!
What is your favourite way of winding down and taking time out?
Reading a book by the beach...a cocktail in hand would be a bonus!
Here at Retreat Yourself, we LOVE dreaming BIG - what is your vision for your company?
To offer a Pink Hibiscus Wellness Retreat where people can either escape for the day or stay! There’s just nothing like this in Sydney... I’ve searched! And, just like when I can’t source a skincare product that suits my needs or wants, I develop it myself! This may seem like a pipe dream, but it’s my ultimate goal for Pink Hibiscus!
This space will not only offer spa treatments and all-weather facilities including a pool, spa and sauna, but also workshops and classes (think meditation, mindfulness, yoga). It will feature a menu derived from fresh, seasonal locally-farmed ingredients, a library so that you can select a book (or two!) to curl up with and an extensive tea menu.
It will have limited accommodation that will be perfect for a girl’s getaway, or just taking a solo break from everyday life!
For anyone out there wanting to start their own business, what would your biggest piece of advice be?
Oh I have SO much advice. I’ll do my best to narrow it down to two pieces though...believe in yourself and trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it generally isn’t, no matter what the official “rule books” or other people in your life may tell you.
And lastly, what does a fulfilled life look like to you?
Having the freedom to do what I like when I like with those I love.
Pink Hibiscus' Vitality Essential Oil Blend was featured in our Winter 2021 Box. Check out Pink Hibiscus' full range here, use the code: RYWINTER for $10 off your next order online (one use per customer) until 31/10/21.