A passion for natural and organic makeup, skincare and food led to the creation of Oh Natural, a conscious beauty store. Founder Jenna Mullinger is an Auckland mother of three, and a deep believer in taking care of ourselves with natural goodness, inside and out.
At Oh Natural you will find a huge selection of exceptional natural skincare, makeup and wellness brands – from organic makeup, organic skin care, natural shampoos and natural deodorants to superfoods, supplements and healthy snacks. They only stock the highest quality natural, toxin-free products from trusted brands, so you have total peace of mind.
1: The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
When my eldest son was 6 months old I started to feel like having a little ‘something’, like a project of my own to work on while he was asleep. I also really wanted to work for myself so that I could continue to be a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ further down the track (I now have three boys and still am). I wasn’t sure what to do but somebody suggested I just do something to do with an interest of mine and not to worry about the money-side of things – that would come later if it was something I was interested in. I’d long been a user of natural options for beauty and wellbeing products, so decided to start a blog dedicated to trying them all out and telling (a very small portion of) the world about my findings!
2: The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
After about six months or so of doing that, I came across three natural brands that I loved which weren’t currently in New Zealand: the Soapwalla Deodorant Cream which was the first natural deodorant I’d come across that actually worked! Priti NYC Non-Toxic Nail Polish & Remover, and Hurraw! Organic/Vegan Lip Balms. This lead to me add a small ‘shop’ section to my blog with these products.
3: The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Being able to find various key products that ended up being really popular. Also, learning how much customers love feeling appreciated: We take care with how we wrap our orders up, and always include a handwritten thank you note and a small chocolate to make it that bit more personal. I love getting to know our customers via social media too – there are so many lovely people out there. Also, until recently I had always thought we didn’t have the budget to do much in the way of advertising yet, but after starting advertising this year we have noticed a large increase in business. I recently saw a quote from someone saying ‘you can’t afford NOT to advertise’, and now it all makes sense to me. I’ve never run a business before and everything is just a learning process for me.
4: Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
With various degrees of difficulty! I only ever work when my boys (aged 5, 2 and 6 months) are asleep/at preschool etc, so most of my spare time is working. It’s been that way for about four years now so it’s quite lucky that I love what the business has become. It is definitely interesting at times, I can remember packing a couple of quick orders whilst starting to get contractions with my third bubba, and I am currently typing this all out with one hand whilst said bubba is asleep on me. But for the most part I manage okay. If I can have managed to develop a solid little business by the time my boys are all at school, so that I don’t have to return to work outside of this, it will all have been worth it as it will be great being able to be flexible around school holidays, etc.
5: The Drive: What challenges have you overcome?
I guess the main challenges have involved my own feelings of being able to cope with it all whilst being a mum as well – which is 100% a full time job in itself. I can at times feel guilty because I wonder if having a business as well makes me a more ‘stressed out’ mum…. But if I wasn’t feeling guilty about that it would be something else. Mum guilt is very real! No matter what your scenario, there is always a few different ways to look at it and despite the feelings of pressure at times, I love having my wee men around the house and Oh Natural has become my dream business now.
6: For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
Pros: More motivation to succeed, getting to be in control over decisions and aspects of the business , getting to do something that interests you, flexibility around working hours.
Cons: I guess the one con for me is that it’s like having another child – and it never truly leaves you. When working at jobs in the past I could quite easily switch off at 5pm on Friday and not give a single thought to work-related stuff until 9am Monday.
7: Hopes and dreams: What next?
I would love to see Oh Natural becoming bigger and better – I have so many more ideas and more products and brands I’d like to stock but it’s largely a matter of time, and cash flow. Being a small business can be hard growing. But what I dream about is it becoming enough to sustain our family so that my husband doesn’t have to be tied to his job and we can be a real family business. Then maybe take off and live in the country on some awesome sustainable farm while we run it!