Carla Oates The Beauty Chef

Female Leader, Carla Oates, The Beauty Chef

Carla Oates, Founder of The Beauty Chef has been at the forefront of revolutionising the beauty industry by combining organic food and herbs to create beauty products, for over 15 years. Carla’s belief is that beauty is not skin deep, but gut deep, and that well balanced gut bacteria is the key to glowing health. Formerly a beauty editor, she became concerned about the toxic ingredients in women’s beauty products and began researching and formulating organic products to offer healthier alternatives.

Carla’s passion for research, design and experimentation, and her drive to educate others on organic wellness, motivates her to innovate. Regularly featured in Vogue, and now stocked on Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop, Carla has perfected her recipe for success.

How has the organic skincare and food industry changed in the last 15 years?

The organic skincare and food industry have gone from being niche and appealing to a small sector of the community to going mainstream. People are more conscious than ever that what they put in their bodies and on their bodies can have a profound effect on their health. There is a wellness revolution happening and organics play a big role in this.

Tell us about your role as Goodwill Ambassador of Australian Organic and what you have helped create as an Ambassador?

I was an ambassador for The Biological Farmers of Australia for around 12 years before it became Australian Organic who I am currently a Goodwill Ambassador for. Over the last 15 years, I have worked closely alongside these great organisations to promote the importance of choosing Certified Organic products for better health and a happier planet. This has involved media interviews and talks at various events. Every year, The Beauty Chef supports Australian Organic Awareness Month by drawing attention to the importance of Certified Organic skincare and food across all of our social media platforms. I am very passionate about the world of organics, as I believe it is the sustainable choice for the farmer, the environment and the individual. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

How important was it for you to build an audience through your Sydney Morning Herald column and publishing your book before starting your business in 2009?

Having my column in the Sunday Telegraph’s Body and Soul section and also my book Feeding Your Skin published by Lantern, Penguin gave me a solid following before I started my business, which I believe was part of the reason that The Beauty Chef was so well received in the early days.

How will technology help advance the booming organic skincare and food industries?

While organic farmers can’t employ the same technology as conventional farmers like using pesticides, herbicides and genetic engineering to improve yield, there are other solutions for organic farmers. Such as mechanical tools that help speed up soil fertility and also hoop houses, which help protect the crops from bad weather. While they can’t use pesticides, they can use other substances like Surround, which is a type of biodegradable clay that confuses insects.

Its more about understanding the land, the ecosystems and finding clever ways to work it efficiently and sustainably rather than technology that requires state of the art, machinery. It is a truly intelligent way to farm. Where you nurture and protect the health of plants, animals, humans and the planet. Technology means the practical application of knowledge, so organic farming has its own evolving technology based on its inherent principle of sustainability.

What is a perfect Mother’s Day gift to purchase from The Beauty Chef?

Our Mothers Day Gift Box! ‘GLOW Inner & Outer’ includes GLOW Inner Beauty Powder and Dream Repair Cellular Serum. The perfect pair to look after your skin on the inside and out.

What’s been your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge has been balancing work and family. Trying not to put so much pressure on myself to be everything to everyone, at home and in the business. And to delegate and ask other people for help. I am getting much better at that now, thank goodness!

There are more barriers in business when you are female, especially when you are a start-up. I have experienced this in many areas from finance to manufacturing. I think this is slowly changing, however, there needs to be a much greater shift.

What are you most proud of?

I am very proud of building a beautiful business from scratch, out of my kitchen and having the resilience and determination to persist and create something that I really believed in and had a strong vision for. Lately, I’ve been working with a team of microbiologists on improving my fermentation process and this mixing of art/design, research and science in my work is my dream job, as well as making the products the best they can be.

Everyday I feel the highs of seeing my brand genuinely help people. I love seeing it grow and also watching the change in public perception around inner beauty, fermentation, bacteria and wellbeing and skin, and being a part of that change. That means a lot to me.

What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?

Do what you love, because success requires hard work. It makes sense to spend the big hours of your working week doing something you wholeheartedly enjoy. Plus, you are bound to be more successful doing something that you have fire, passion and drive for . There are many good ideas out there, but to make them concrete requires belief, hard work and persistence. I love the two sayings. “I believe in luck and the harder I work, the more I find I have of it”. Also, “The art of persistence is largely the art of love”.

You work your best when you are healthy and content. So looking after your health with good nutrition and exercise are very important for feeling positive and energised. It is important to balance work with giving energy to the other things you love doing. Be it your hobbies, spending time with family and friends etc. When your energy bank is full from doing things that fill it, not deplete it, you feel great. And it gives you enough energy to give back to yourself as well as spread the love, whether it be at home or at work.

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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.