Zhanna Gee is encouraging women to slow down and listen to their bodies. She started Slim By Nature to empower women to create a lifestyle that allows them to feel and look their best, offering support, knowledge and natural products to help women lose weight the right way. She has created a simple, organic, three-step detox program, along with a supportive community of empowered, like-minded women.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
After going through 2 serious car accidents, I was left with some back pains and injuries that restrained me from exercising the amount that I was used to, and I found myself piling on a lot of weight. I have always felt comfortable in my body – but this was the first time I felt out of control and I noticed I was no longer feeling energetic, excited, or happy. This was all as a result of gaining weight in an amount I wasn’t used to, and I realised that I wasn’t the only one.
Women around me – my friends, family and colleagues – so many of them were at a point where they felt that the weight on the scales was defining who they were, rather than the other way around. As someone who always supported loving yourself, I couldn’t understand why weight-gain was making me feel so down… But it didn’t help when I opened up to my close circle and they retorted ‘Oh, you don’t need to lose weight! You look fine!’
Everyone feels comfortable in a different way, and for me I knew my body wasn’t thriving because of both my health my low self-confidence. Not only was I feeling uncomfortable, but I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease: an autoimmune disorder that gave my thyroid troubles to this day. So, after plentiful research, I decided to do something about it. I became a qualified nutritionist, started learning about women’s health, and began meeting other nutritionists and naturopaths to create something that all women could use if they were struggling with confidence in themselves. I wanted to create something that would help women – without them feeling ashamed for wanting to lose weight in the first place.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I have always been a passionate entrepreneur; I was running a swimsuit brand when Slim By Nature was born. At one of our collection launch events, I actually ripped my dress – which all happened at about the same time that I was struggling with my weight. This was a bit of a turning point for me. A month later I sold my swimsuit business and started up Slim By Nature.I had already spent so much time educating myself, getting qualified, and meeting the right people… I just had to put it into action. I felt like I had no start-up but when I realised my passion for business and my new passion for health had the potential to become one, I just had to go for it.
In the early days, I was constantly on the phone to ladies who were interested – talking to them, discussing their goals, explaining my story, and supporting them through their journey. I got help wherever I could with creating a website, and I was packing parcels into the early hours of the morning just to make sure the service I was providing was exceptional. I really and truly went all in.
It wasn’t only like this for the beginning though. It took years to get past the point of a one-woman-show. But I truly believe that what kept me going was that I had found my passion. Every phone call with a client asking questions was absolutely worth it when she came back to me 4 weeks later with unbelievable results. Every late night packing and early morning still dragging my daughter to school was worth it when I would get one 5-star review on my small Facebook page. I had found a second passion for health and wellness, and I was doing what I loved by combining it with business. I could help women change their lives and be my own boss.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I think the moment I had a breakthrough was when I finally realised I needed help. I was flooded with parcels, customer service, phone calls, emails, advertising, marketing… I just couldn’t do it all alone anymore! That for me was like, ‘wow, this could be something’. It was both terrifying and exhilarating to think that what I had created could become more. I could help more women, I could share my message, and I could keep working on my true passion.
Once I got help, the team just grew. And there is absolutely no better feeling. I had an array of talent just bursting with ideas and excitement – all beautiful women who had tried my program, seen the potential, and believed in our brand, and only last week we welcomed two new creative gentlemen to our all-women community!
All of my employees and talented creatives that I work with today allow us and push us to move in the right direction. We have built a huge community of supportive women, and the entire team has become a close-knit family. A day in the office will consist of packing, brainstorming, serving walk-in clients, phone calls with clients, ‘lives in the Facebook group, and so much more.
Interacting with our beautiful community and seeing how large and supportive it has become has been such a breakthrough. We are constantly looking to add value and create something more for our ladies.