It was her battle with polycystic ovarian syndrome and then an unpleasant experience with morning sickness that fuelled Nikki Warren’s passion towards naturopathy. There were no good quality prenatal vitamins on the market at the time so she decided to design her own prenatal supplement range. She launched her business NaturoBest in 2016 to support women through preconception to parenthood.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
My journey began after commencing the contraceptive pill when I was 27. I started piling on the weight and acne appeared on my chin. As a result, I decided to come off it a couple of months later. After coming off the pill, my period didn’t return, I continued to rapidly gain weight to a total of 10 kilograms, and the acne on my chin only compounded the damage to my self-esteem. Over the next 12 months, my period hadn’t returned and I saw specialist after specialist before turning to complementary medicine. I saw a homeopath, an acupuncturist and finally a naturopath. I was feeling pretty despondent by that time. The naturopath formulated a liquid herbal mixture for me and within three weeks my period returned, the acne started to clear and over the next few months I lost several kilograms.
I could not believe the outstanding results and it inspired me to study naturopathy the next year. That year, while studying and working full time as a flight attendant, I conceived my daughter. In hindsight, my unplanned pregnancy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Being a single mum was tough, but the fast-paced lifestyle I led as a flight attendant prior to my pregnancy, was certainly not good for my health.
Working night shifts on long-haul flights in early pregnancy was a struggle in itself, let alone dealing with morning sickness. I spent many days in hotel rooms hovering over the toilet bowl and none of the natural remedies I tried seemed to help.
Nine years later I was married and ready to prepare for my second pregnancy. By this time, I had studied for six years and earned a Diploma in Naturopathy, an Advanced Diploma in Herbal Medicine and a Bachelor of Health Science. As part of the degree course, I undertook extensive research into morning sickness and discovered some insights I had never heard of in my five years of working as a fertility naturopath.
With this pregnancy, my husband and I followed a preconception care plan and I fell pregnant with my second child straight away. I designed and had made by a compounding pharmacist, a prenatal vitamin that also reduced morning sickness. It worked so well for me and subsequently my clients, that I knew I had to take it to the market. My aim was to help as many other women as possible on a much larger scale than I could in my clinic. So was born my Prenatal Trimester One formula and NaturoBest was launched in 2016.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
NaturoBest was originally a practitioner-only range so you had to have a health practitioner prescribe the product to you. In general, practitioner-only supplements are better quality than retail and this was a very premium product range, so it was important to get that message across to the consumer.
Having a lot of contacts in the industry meant that I was able to approach them and ask them if they would like to take it on. Luckily, 5 distributors said yes so it was a great start to launching the range.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Going retail in 2018 certainly made a huge difference in sales. People were frustrated that they couldn’t buy the product without a referral from a practitioner. The biggest breakthrough in Australia was when a well-respected acupuncturist started recommending my brand to her colleagues and then we attended an acupuncture conference. Sales literally doubled overnight and we’re now a VIP customer with our manufacturer. The power of word of mouth is incredible. Coincidentally, I happened to sit next to the right person on the plane on the way to that acupuncture conference and a deal is underway in Asia that is going to be huge for us this year. The stars were certainly in alignment for me that month!