You’ve probably seen me mention my own skincare business, Wild Leaf Botanicals, on the Skincare Business Foundations website and in my guides.
You might have wondered if it’s still open or not, as I never mention it elsewhere.
You might have tried to look for the website and seen it no longer exists.
Yes, I closed down Wild Leaf Botanicals in mid-2018, and here’s why.
I started Wild Leaf Botanicals in 2015 with a passion for natural skincare plus a desire to start a side hustle from my corporate job in risk and compliance. The brand’s unique selling point was that it used only Australian grown and produced ingredients and I purchased directly from farmers wherever possible.
I had a beautiful e-commerce website, held stalls at boutique markets and sold products in a number of smaller online stores and giftware retailers. I loved the business and my customers. But never truly loved the actual "making" of the products – I can be quite clumsy!
Then, almost two years ago to the day (just before my birthday when I was meant to leave for a trip to Nepal) I was struck down by appendicitis and had my appendix removed. It was a slow and painful recovery, and it meant I missed out on the usual Christmas rush, including a couple of big markets I’d booked into.
Feeling deflated, at the start of 2018 I sat down to work out my goals for the year – and found my inspiration lacking when it came to Wild Leaf Botanicals. Something had shifted (as it often does after a significant life event).
But one morning I woke up with a crazy thought (all my best ideas happen then) that perhaps I could use the skills I’ve gained from 10 years of corporate experience in compliance and audit, and from starting Wild Leaf Botanicals, to help other skincare business owners.
I started the Natural Skincare Makers Australia Facebook group as there weren’t any other Australian-specific groups out there that I could find. I saw a real opportunity to help, with lots of makers struggling with business topics such as labels, pricing and marketing claims. Cosmetic regulatory consultancies seemed out of the price range a skincare startup could afford and not very personal – so like any good business owner would, I set out to fill that gap in the market.
Wild Leaf Botanicals was still operating but it was really difficult to get motivated. All the spare time I had outside my full-time job was spent creating an online course on how to start a skincare business in Australia. I knew that after I launched the course I wanted to support makers to better understand their legislative obligations. I was feeling inspired once again.
By mid-2018, I realised I had to make a call about Wild Leaf Botanicals – should I keep it or close it? As I’m sure you can all appreciate, the emotional attachment you have to your business makes it hard to let go. But I couldn’t nurture and grow it like I wanted, with a full-time job and having launched a new business, Skincare Business Foundations. So I decided to close it, which was a decision my business coach at the time fully supported.
I like to think though that Wild Leaf Botanicals helped me work out my true calling. What can I say – I’m a lot better at using my brain than using my hands!
I’ve since launched a range of resources and services that make it easy for you to understand your regulatory obligations.
I know some people might be sceptical about whether I’m qualified to show others how to start a skincare business when Wild Leaf Botanicals was never a huge international brand and it’s no longer open. I don’t mind admitting it was never a 6-figure business as that was never one of my goals.
My goal was to challenge myself to start a business from scratch – I did a damn good job at that and love helping others do the same through my signature Skincare Business Foundations course. The rest of the path to success is largely down to marketing and I always recommend consulting with a marketing expert if it's not your area of expertise - it’s certainly not mine!
What is my area of expertise though? Interpreting cosmetics regulations and translating them into easy-to-understand information for small to medium-sized business owners. I formalised the knowledge I’ve gained over the last four years by completing a Certificate in Cosmetics Regulatory Essentials course through the Institute of Personal Care Science.
And I’m so passionate about upskilling skincare brand owners like yourself so you know what you need to do to be compliant.
If you’re still in doubt, the testimonials on this website about the course and services speak for themselves.
I hope your one key takeaway from this is that it’s OK to change your direction. Passions shift, and you can always pivot and use your existing skills in a different way. You need to do whatever makes you happy.
And I hope I can help you one day on your own skincare business journey, no matter which stage you’re at.
P.S. I’m so proud of what the Natural Skincare Makers Australia community has become – and that’s all down to its 1500 members, so THANK YOU!