[5 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday everyone and welcome back to another Friday Founder interview! We are feeling particularly hopeful this week thanks to the recent government announcement about the road map out of lockdown.
We want to use this week’s interview to thank some of the unsung heroes of this pandemic: NHS staff, key workers and - often forgotten - mothers.
Mothers have had a very tough time during the pandemic due to having to juggle day jobs, kids and housework. What has historically been referred to as women working a “double shift” (day job + housework) has turned into a “triple shift” over the course of this past year with the added pressures of homeschooling.
Mothers, we are truly in awe of your amazing resilience and power! Who better to talk to this week then, than Fiona Toomey, the CEO of Nessa Organics, a skincare brand created by women for women? All women… which includes mothers!
From the stage of pregnancy and postpartum to menopause, Nessa Organics caters to specific women's needs at every stage of their lives. We couldn’t be happier to introduce this week’s interviewee, so just grab a coffee and keep on reading...
"We never use ingredients that have known allergens. There are so many amazingly effective ingredients that don’t have a long list of allergens, so why wouldn’t we use those? "
Morning Fiona! Welcome to CAROLINA GMX. Could you start by telling me how you first got started in the beauty industry?
Morning! Thank you for having me. Well, I felt let down by the beauty industry after being pregnant with my first kid. There is a complete lack of realism about how our bodies change during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, motherhood, right through to menopause; it is all one big taboo that no one talks about. So, I decided that I wanted to create Nessa Organics as a company that women can relate to, created by women for women. I do not want to hush or ignore taboo topics like the beauty industry still does.
What a powerful message! I love that! You know that we are all about sensitive skin here at CAROLINA GMX, so how does Nessa Organics consider issues relating to sensitive skin and allergies?
I have suffered with sensitive skin all my life, and then when I had a baby it got so much worse with the shift in hormones. Now everything Nessa Organics does is catered towards sensitive skin. For example, we never use ingredients that have known allergens. There are so many amazingly effective ingredients that don’t have a long list of allergens, so why wouldn’t we use those?
So true! That is great to hear that sensitive skin is a priority for you. How does sustainability factor into Nessa Organics?
It is pretty much unacceptable to set up a brand these days that does not consider sustainability to be a main pillar. The beauty industry is fraught with bad practices and what is amazing about small brands is they are really able to take big steps when it comes to sustainability. They can move quickly with trends and it is often easier to see the full supply chain.
That is brilliant news! In a similar vein, do you think people are more conscious of the ingredients in their beauty and skincare products nowadays? If so, why?
For sure! Consumers are savvy. They know so much about ingredients and when they don’t, they Google it! I think people spend more time researching brands and ingredients than they used to because they are really in touch with what works for their skin types.
I completely agree. I think even with friends and family you notice those conversations come up a lot more! What were your biggest challenges in starting up Nessa Organics?
Getting it off the ground was the hardest part; I underestimated lengthy supply chains, manufacturing timings and NPD insights. The Covid crisis has also thrown a new challenge at us all!
Absolutely! What strategies do you think have been key to the success of Nessa Organics?
Just putting things out there that might not be perfect, pivoting and learning from them. Nothing is perfect the first time around so it is all about learning, growing and updating.
And what is your favourite thing about your role at Nessa Organics?
I love beauty more than any other industry, so working within it is a dream! Also, the fact that I created something from nothing, and that something helps people. I must say, it is my fourth baby!
I bet! The journey of creating something from scratch is arduous but so rewarding! Which is your favourite product that you’ve ever created for Nessa Organics?
Definitely the Nessa Organics Nipple SOS. I had such problems breastfeeding as I was allergic to the majority of products from high street brands, so I created this product for the most sensitive nipples.
"Nessa Organics has sass and doesn't shy away from taboo topics."
That is awesome! What do you think makes Nessa Organics stand out?
Nessa Organics has sass and doesn’t shy away from taboo topics.
It definitely does, and we love it! Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment?
We had a big feature in the Daily Mail and it ended up crashing our website!
Wow, that must have been so exciting! What inspires you?
My kid’s innocence.
How lovely! Could you describe what an average day looks like for you?
At 7 AM I get up and deal with my 3 kids under 5. I get breakfast for everyone and squeeze in a shower if I’m lucky! Then, I get all the kids to school & nursery (or start homeschooling as has been happening during covid!) My working day with Nessa Organics starts around 9:30 AM and will involve a lot of meetings, zooms, product testing, brainstorming, picking pantones and giggles with the team! I try to fit in a workout around lunchtime if possible. I have the kids back at 5:30 PM so I have to get everything done before then. Finally, the evening will be made up of time spent with my kids, baths, stories, dinner, Netflix, wine and bed.
So would you say you have a work/life balance?
Some days yes, other days no… We all do our best at this and occasionally my work takes over. Other days my life takes over. I honestly never know which way it’s going to go!
Finally, what is next for Nessa Organics?
Gosh, so many things! We are expanding our range, and doing a big rebrand in June so lots of exciting things are coming soon!
Like what you read? Head to the Nessa Organics site to shop now!
If you fancy checking out some of our previous interviews, you can find them here. Want more from CAROLINAGMX? Check this out: Three Products For Summer: A Sol de Janeiro Review