Clearly the lack of sleep was affecting my decision making when I decided to expand my organic skincare line into a legitimate brand.
Anyone who has had a baby knows that the first six months are often the hardest – at least they were for me. I had undergone an emergency caesarean section and my recovery was slow, aided by an infection and my inability to stop doing all the things you’re not supposed to do (like drive or pretend you have a life).
Needing some mental stimulation, I decided to return to naturopathic practice when my daughter was three months old on the two days that my husband worked from home. Little did I know how hard it would be. I wasn’t very good with the breast pump and so milk supplies were limited, and my brain just wasn’t back to its pre-baby sharpness, which meant everything took 10 times longer. So it would seem crazy that I would even consider expanding my workload.
“I worked out what my strongest skills were (skincare formulations, marketing, sales and social media) and outsourced the rest.”
But I had been making skincare for years, ever since I received a book on how to make natural creams and oils as a teenager and when I entered private practice, I began making formulations for clients to treat their skin disorders. I wanted them to have products that were 100% natural and organic, but still highly effective. Pregnancy only affirmed my passion for natural skincare and I started making balms and oils specifically for pregnant women and newborns.
So I made a plan to get productive. Any time my daughter slept I would turn on the monitor and race to my office/lab as quick as I could. I would give myself a task of making a batch of product, labelling or packing orders, and I generally managed to get it done.
When my daughter was six months, I approached my first potential stockist. They were keen to stock local products and so it was go time. I also signed up for a monthly market which attracted locals and Sydney visitors keen to soak up anything the Blue Mountains offered. I managed to wrangle my mum up from Sydney for this monthly event and persuaded her to stay an extra day or two, allowing me bigger chunks of work time.
It went really well and my retail list started to grow. I also entered some of my products in a competition for natural beauty products and won some awards.
“I chose to go for it.”
My skincare line was starting to get attention, but the only problem was that because I was selling products from my naturopathic practice, they didn’t look professional. So I had a choice to make: throw caution to the wind and create a fully-fledged skincare brand or limit my growth.
I chose to go for it. But this is when I had to admit that I couldn’t do it all. I needed help. I worked out what my strongest skills were (skincare formulations, marketing, sales and social media) and outsourced the rest (manufacturing, graphic design and website creation).
I figured out what I wanted my brand to stand for and how I wanted it to look in someone’s bathroom. I found a local artist whose work I loved (who was willing to come to me), and over the course of two months we met bi-weekly to discuss and refine the design. The same with my web guy. He came to my house, we had lot of phone calls and we gradually worked out the look and feel we wanted to achieve.
I was super lucky to find my manufacturer – she has a small lab in Sydney and could make up any batch size I wanted, and then post the products to me. Game-changer.
The whole shebang took a year before I was finally ready to launch. It’s now been two years and while I’m fairly certain I would never put myself through that level of stress again, I can say that it’s been worthwhile. Clémence Organics has won 13 beauty awards and is stocked Australia-wide and internationally. But more importantly, I’ve gained confidence and faith in myself that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
Connect with Bridget here.
Bridget Carmady is a Premium member and the founder of Clémence Organics.