How I Started a
Sustainable Beauty and Wellbeing Brand
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Niki Richards and I founded Organa Beauty & Wellbeing. As a sustainable beauty brand with ‘B Corp’ aspirations, our mission is to educate and curate so that people can feel great and look good. We are a conscious beauty brand that puts people and planet first. We currently have three employees.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
As a child, I had chronic eczema and I felt stigmatised and judged for ‘looking different’. Eczema is a visible condition but so much of its root cause stems from what’s going on inside the body from immune and stress responses. So from this point, beauty & wellbeing always came hand in hand.
I also wanted to change the conversation so that our brand would be known as an ‘inclusive’ brand that did not judge or talk about perfection. I then trained as a psychologist and researched visible differences and knew that the industry needed changing. The balance needed to shift from ‘outside-in’ to ‘inside-out’, where inner beauty through wellbeing is just as important as what is on the outside.
The beauty industry also needs to make big strides in changing its impact on the environment (planet) so that it can become a more sustainable, kinder industry. This was all reinforced when I became a mother. I intuitively knew that I had to find products that used ingredients and processes that were not harmful to my family or the planet.
I transitioned into someone who became conscious of what I was buying and using. But I could never get the information, reviews, knowledge or products I needed about wellbeing and beauty in one place. And in 2019, Organa Beauty & Wellbeing, a conscious brand was launched.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
Finance is the main challenge, shortly followed by people. It’s quite easy to launch a business but harder to grow and sustain growth. That’s when finances and people become even more important. Funding is a minefield and sourcing funding can become a full-time job, which means it’s hard to balance the strategy and operational side. Time is another challenge. Give me another day in the week!
Who is your target market?
We have various segments that we target. Male and female millennials are important but also people who are transitioning from one stage of life to another. For example, women who are becoming a new mother or going into menopause. We can target these groups effectively and they want the knowledge so that they become aware of products that are good for themselves and the planet.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
Paid and organic. Through content, email marketing and social platform (Instagram and Facebook groups). We have two Facebook groups, ‘Skin Positivity’ and ‘Conscious Beauty’. The FB / IG promotions have been good for awareness but have not performed as well on traffic and sales conversion. Our email marketing campaign has focused more on a call to action e.g. use promo code.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We do remarketing campaigns where we offer promotions (money off or gifts) and we also work with influencers (never paid). But the message around sustainable beauty and the idea of wellbeing and beauty going hand in hand also resonates with audience acquisition and retention.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
People first. A business with. Social conscience means that we always think about the people we work externally and throughout the supply chain. They have to have the same values. Establishing this culture has been easy. Let’s see if we can sustain it.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
I would have started three years earlier and given myself time to find a business partner, especially one with digital/tech skills. I have made many mistakes (but not too many financial ones yet). My main mistake was trusting someone to develop my website without a clear scope of work. He ran off with my website and money, and I had to start again. I would keep my values, ambition and vision for the brand.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Creating and building.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Time and the lack of. But it can also be a lonely place. Something that has to be balanced with good people around you and the ability to listen to them.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington of Thrive & Huffington Post, Viktor Frankel, book – The Road Less Travelled by M.Scott Peck, Jo Malone, Michelle Obama & my Mum (who was a dedicated doctor for over 30 years).
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
A larger, international distribution and retail group with personalisation and beauty tech at its heart.