This week’s Q&A is with Natalia Michael, founder of No Nasties Makeup and No Nasties Kids. Having suffered from eczema, allergies and asthma since she was 18 months old – and been hospitalised due to them on a number of occasions – and exhausted every remedy, every doctor, every medicine and every miracle cure to no avail, Natalia became interested in all things organic and studied to become a Certified Health Coach.
As a mother Natalia did not want her little girl using products packed with toxins and chemicals but also didn’t want her to miss out on the fun Natalia had as a child playing with her mum’s makeup so she made some makeup and face paint for her daughter, who was over the moon. When the entire division of the corporate Natalia worked for was made redundant she decided to go into business for herself, and No Nasties was born.
No Nasties started with two blenders and a large pyrex in which she literally made each and every product by hand, even hand-pouring hundreds of lip balms late into the evening. Since then the business has grown to over having 300 stockists across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, USA, Belgium, Bermuda and South Korea with distribution partners in New Zealand, Canada and Singapore.
ISB: How did you stay motivated in the tough, labour-intensive early days?
NM: I have always been passionate about the business, I have never really needed motivation, I just am motivated each and every day to work on the business, connect to my customers and stockists and to provide the best possible service always.
ISB: Did you make any mistakes as you found your feet in the business?
NM: I ordered my first 5000 lot of packaging without any barcodes printed, our first 10,000 containers had no stickers and the sifters had no seals so we had to hand apply 30,000 little stickers!
ISB: And that aside, what was the biggest challenge you overcame making it successful?
J&L B: In the early days, as the business was launching, my youngest daughter Ivy was sick with a severe dairy allergy, colic and severe reflux. She would literally cry all night long with only short cat naps for around seven months. This was a very tough time, trying to launch and grow the business at the same time with little to no sleep.
We have had to adapt to growing quickly, too, which is great but comes with it’s own challenges. Not being able to keep up with demand and manage inventory, manufacturing, costs. Also, for a long time I was doing the bulk of the work on my own!
ISB: How did you get the No Nasties message out to potential customers?
NM: Social media was our only form of marketing in the beginning. Also, our stockists sharing our products and images helped to get the word out there.
ISB: What do you consider the highlight of the No Nasties journey to date?
NM: Each and every stockist that comes on board feels like the first few. Winning the Brilliant Biz Mums “Best Innovative Product 2017” award, being a finalist for Ausmumpreneur in the “Global Brand award 2017” and this year taking Silver at Ausmumpreneur for the “Product Innovation Award 2018”. Our distribution partners, especially in New Zealand, have been an integral part of our business growth and have also given me great support.
ISB: Lastly, what is the #1 lesson you’ve learnt to date that you’d share with others who are thinking of turning their idea into a business?
NM: Don’t let fear hold you back! Trust in yourself and what you have to offer and go for it. Plan as much as you can and be prepared to work very, very hard before you see any real rewards, it takes time.