Friday 16 August 2013

2Inspire profile: Niki McGlynn founder of Niki's Organic Balms

Niki McGlynn transferred her training as a homeopath and reflexologist into the cosmetic sector by producing her own range of organic balms. She spotted a gap in the reflexology market and has never looked back. Find out what inspired her to start her brand.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?

I don't think that I have a very 'typical' business day, every day is very different. Most days I have either homeopathy or reflexology clients and of course each treatment is very different - I really enjoy how the therapies are very different from each other. Homeopathy is very focussed and cerebral, whereas reflexology is more instinctive. I now have two set days a week where I can concentrate on growing and developing my balm business, so they are more desk/computer focussed. I am usually at my desk by 8.30, clearing emails, clinic appointments start at 9. I enjoy the freedom of working for myself but I think fall into the trap of never actually stopping work. Social media is a great way for a small business like mine to connect with customers, so I quite often concentrate on that in the evenings, write a quick blog post or tidy up my website.

 What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started Niki's Organic Balms sort of by accident. When I qualified as a reflexologist, I struggled to find a product that I was happy to work with on my client’s feet. I didn't want to use anything petrochemical based as that went against all the principles of offering a healing treatment. Plus I didn't want to use it on my hands. Also, most feet creams are peppermint scented the smell of which I found exhausting to use all day. In addition, a lot of my clients were coming in with very cracked heels because of wearing flip flops in the summer. I was therefore giving them a blend of hypericum and calendula tincture and suggesting they mix it with olive oil at home and soak their feet – resulting in the crack going. I was also offering a lot of short taster treatments at school events in order to build my practice. I was worried about the condition of some of the people's feet I was treating, so I decided to make my own. I started off by using hypericum and calendula oil to deal with cracks and Tea Tree Oil to deal with any nasties on people's feet. Unfortunately the smell wasn't great (unless you like Tea Tree) so I added in the Lemon Tea Tree on advice from an aromatherapist friend and Original Balm was born. My clients absolutely loved it and wanted to buy some, so I started making extra for them. Once I realised I would have to charge for it, I got it licensed, once I had spent money on that I wondered if it would have a wider appeal - it has grown ever since then.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
I think that the recognition from organisations such as the FreeFrom Skincare Awards and The Green Parent. To be competing against large companies and still winning an award or even being shortlisted reinforces that I am doing something right.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

Keeping going in the current financial climate, cash flow is hard - people are much less willing to take a risk with a relatively unknown product. However I do find that I have the absolute best customers. They are as loyal and as passionate about it as I am. I get such amazing feedback that I would say they are my inspiration.

  What are your future plans for the business?

I have other products that I would like to bring to market, a men’s range including shaving oil, as well as other products that blend health and beauty.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Gosh, that is a hard question. This whole business has been such a journey, and when I have got it wrong, I have learnt so much. If I had done it differently, I probably wouldn't be still doing it!

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?

The world is changing and particularly the world of business. When I talk to some of my therapy clients who are so unhappy in their lives and their jobs, I often ask them what their dream was - most of them have grown up in a time when chasing your dream was considered nonsense. Now things are different, there is a lot more collaboration and help, particularly for women and if you are running your own business there is no glass ceiling.
  What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?

Do your research, get some help, there is a lot out there. Be determined and be focussed.

  What or who inspires you in business and why?

Rachel Elnaugh is a huge inspiration, she runs mentoring for small business with an esoteric edge. I came across her on twitter one Christmas when she was doing a pop quiz on musicals, I won some mentoring and have been with her ever since. She is very good at getting to the very root of what needs to be done. I am very inspired by people who are good at getting things done Shaa Wasmund, Mark Attwood and Jo Cameron are all people who spring to mind, in that spirit of collaboration and dynamism.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Contact Details

Niki McGlynn

Niki's Organic Balms

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