The stories behind the brands we feature in our box are not only interesting, but we get so inspired hearing the different things that people have been through to get them to where they are now. We joined Sharon from Buff and Polish to see what got her started with her beautiful body scrub business...
Tell us a bit about the person/people behind Buff & Polish.
My name is Sharon and I’m the face behind Buff & Polish. Born in Africa, and raised in the Uk from the age of six, I moved to Perth, Australia five years ago with my husband Craig and son James. I feel blessed every single day to call this beautiful place home. With a career in the electricity distribution industry behind me in the UK I wanted something more exciting going forward. Being fairly headstrong and independent working for myself was the ideal option. I love to cook although I don’t do it nearly often enough, and I love to keep fit. I have recently started running again but I’m back to the very beginning and aiming for 5k.
What would an average day in the life look like for you?
My husband wakes me up with a coffee just before he leaves for work at 6.30am. I’ll spend a bit of time going through my emails and updating instagram. I keep my day as varied as possible as I have a shocking attention span. I can’t sit still for very long without getting distracted. I will do a few hours of admin work, then I might go out and do some wholesale deliveries and meet stockists. Nearly all orders are made fresh so most days will have some production time. If I have a market or event coming up I will be making larger quantities so that means more time in production. I generally stop work when my husband comes home around 6pm and we spend the evening together cooking dinner and walking the dogs. But, if something needs doing for the business then I will do it.
We can imagine you’re flat out having to run your business and family life, how do you maintain your own health and wellness whilst being so busy?
Since beating breast cancer last year my health & wellbeing is much more important to me. I religiously see a personal trainer every week and we work on regaining the strength and muscle tone I lost during treatment. I try and do a few extra sessions in between visits with him. I love HIIT training as its short and sharp and suits my limited attention span. I aim to eat well and try and focus on the nutrition benefits of food these days rather than restricting calories. I think nourishing the body is far more important that depriving it. I am a very positive person and will always try and find the good in everything. I refuse to be brought down by other people’s negativity.
What inspired you to want to start Buff and Polish?
Prior to 2015 I was a bit of a beauty product junkie. I was drawn in by beautiful packaging and wild promises. I gave little or no thought to what the products actually contained. Then one day out of the blue I found a lump in my right breast and shortly afterwards was diagnosed with breast cancer. Things literally changed overnight. I found myself thinking about what I was putting on and in my body and did some research. My eyes suddenly opened. So many of the products I was using contained artificial ingredients, toxins and harsh chemicals in some cases. I didn’t want to use these anymore and literally binned the entire contents of my three make up bags and my bathroom shelves. I went out to replace it all with natural alternatives but found that while there were some beautiful truly natural products out there, there were just as many pretending to be natural when actually they weren’t. Marketing is a very clever thing and as consumers we get easily sucked in. A bit further down the track once I had completed my chemotherapy and a couple of the four operations I was to have, I decided to launch Buff & Polish Natural Body Scrubs. I needed a purpose and I new it had to be something I was passionate about. I had given up my previous job when I was initially diagnosed and I wanted to get back to work. So, from my hospital bed surrounded by notebooks, post it notes and painkillers, Buff & Polish was born.
What have been the biggest trials so far in starting and running Buff & Polish?
It can sometimes feel very lonely as I work from home. I can spend hour’s shut in my office and not see daylight or speak to anyone (except virtually). That said, since I launched Buff & Polish I have met and become friends with some wonderful women. We make a point of arranging regular coffee & wine dates with them and we motivate each other.
Here at Retreat Yourself, we LOVE dreaming BIG – what is your vision?
Little by little I want to help people understand that there are beautiful natural alternatives to nearly all mainstream beauty products and cosmetics. I did it the extreme way and threw everything away in one go, but I encourage people to switch things over as they use things up. For instance, next time your toothpaste runs out, don’t buy the same brand. Replace it with one of the natural alternatives. I will be using the blog on my website to share some of my favourite products.
For anyone out there wanting to start their own business, what would your biggest piece of advice be?
Just go for it. If you wait for the time to be right you will be waiting forever. The main thing is to be passionate about the service or product you are offering. Your passion will shine through. And have someone to whom you are accountable. This will stop you getting carried away with the excitement of it all.
How do you unleash your creativity? We're quite passionate about making time to be creative. Why? The benefits are endless!! Stress relief, to reduce anxiety, to switch off and get into a 'flow state', to pump some feel good chemicals through our body, for some laughter, for new friendships...the list goes on!
And so here are our tips for getting your inner creative on (no prior skills needed!) this summer...
Few companies can claim to be as responsible, progressive and worldly as Alter Eco. We thought we’d have a chat to Ilse Keijzer, founder of Alter Eco Australia, about what inspired her to start the Alter Eco Australia brand, and the all-important question of her favourite product in the Alter Eco range!