This week we chat to Geeta Powani, founder of natural eczema skincare range My Mia’s Skin Relief. The brand is named in honour of Geeta’s daughter, the driving force behind Geeta giving up a successful corporate career to start her own business.
ISB: What was the inspiration behind you founding My Mia’s Skin Relief?
GP: This is a venture like no other for me. It was born out of the absolute need to help my daughter, Mia, with her severe and chronic eczema. Mia had been in hospitalised twice, had 12 months of UV light therapy, daily bleach baths, regular antibiotics and up to 10 tubes of steroid ointment every month. But still there was no end to her eczema symptoms.
I pressed pause on my corporate career, took a completely holistic approach to manage Mia’s health. From the inside out. This included moving to organic and natural skincare products. These changes have meant that Mia did not require any medication for her eczema for three-and-a-half years. These skincare products are the skincare Mia still uses and are being sold in my ecommerce business, My Mia’s Skin Relief.
ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting the enterprise off the ground?
GP: Honestly, the biggest challenge was getting out of my own way. This was more than just a business; this was my daughter’s life. I was sharing our saddest and most vulnerable journey with the world.
So, the launch started very slowly, taking one step at a time. However as more and more customer testimonials started coming in, we could see that our journey had not only given rise to these amazing natural skin care products for eczema, but people’s lives were improving. This has been so uplifting, and helped me become very clear about our business mission: That every person deserves to shine bright, and not hide away because of eczema.
ISB: And how was it making the transition from chartered accountancy to running your own online product-based business?
GP: I love business. In fact, it shaped my subjects at school, my business degree and completing a postgraduate qualification as a Chartered Accountant. My corporate experience has provided me with an excellent foundation for running my online ecommerce business, it has:
- Helped me to never take things at face value and always look at the root cause of an issue.
- Given me a very clear understanding of the financial numbers when running a business: Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, funding my business, managing cashflow, inventory.
- Provided the discipline to use a use a data driven approach to running my business – looking at return on ad spend, product margins, repeat orders etc.
So, whilst I am guided by my heart with how I connect with customers, I like to make decisions based on numbers and data.
ISB: I understand family expertise is behind the business – please tell us the role your siblings played in the development of your products.
GP: Yes, both my brother and sister are Pharmacists. They have been helpful in my product development so far, but more than that I see that together – as a team – we can continue add some amazing new products to our range.
ISB: How did the COVID lockdown impact on the business, from a positive and/or negative perspective?
GP: On the positive side, COVID lockdown was a time to slow down and bring myself up to speed with new marketing techniques, ecommerce training and read lots of business books.
Negatively, our domestic and international orders were delayed. Deliveries from Sydney to Melbourne were taking over 30 days. I found this so upsetting, as I knew these beautiful customers were waiting for their parcels – and I felt helpless in this process.
ISB: Finally, what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on your business journey you’d share with others looking to start their own enterprise?
GP: You’ve got this! You are stronger, wiser, braver than you know. Don’t doubt yourself, ever! Hold a clear vision of where you want to go. Continue to show up every day taking action towards your goal. And just take one step, and then the next step. Before you know it, you will be inspiring others all around you by just being the amazing you that you are.