Irene Falcone, CEO and Founder of Nourished Life created the business in 2012 to provide trusted, environmentally-friendly beauty products. Her website offers the best and latest in natural, organic, vegan, ethical and sustainable beauty health and wellbeing products, as well as naturopathic advice.
From selling her car and house to raise $30,000 to bootstrap her fledgling business, Irene has grown the business rapidly, turning over $400,000 in her first year and $20 million+ this financial year.
Irene has been awarded as a 2017 Women2Watch in Retail Disruption Honoree, a Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2016 NSW Category Winner, a BRW Fast Starter and a Deloitte Australia Technology Fast 50.
You started Nourished Life with $100 in October 2012 and bought 100 cherry-coloured lip balms. How did you decide on the first product to test in market?
I have used this product myself for a long time, and I absolutely love that it is completely natural and vegan. The quality of ingredients and smooth consistency also really stood out to me. I knew that the people reading my blog would love it as much as me.
You grew Nourished Life into a $20m+ business in four 4 years. Which growth stage was the most difficult to manage, and how did you overcome those difficulties?
Each stage of growth came with significant challenges, which at the time I didn’t feel prepared for. However the more obstacles I overcame, the more I was able to trust my instincts. When Nourished Life experienced very significant growth, it became difficult to manage every aspect of the business myself, as I had been doing previously. Learning which tasks to do myself and which tasks to delegate helped me tremendously during this period.
Nourished Life started with a team of local Mums. Why did you want to employ Mums in particular and what policies did you put in place to ensure you had employee satisfaction and business growth?
As a mother myself, I know the unique challenges that mums face when balancing family life and work life. When I used to work in a corporate environment, I faced a lot of anxiety stemming from managing my work/family life. For example, when asking for time off if my children were sick.
When hiring staff, I wanted to address these challenges and provide practical solutions. I created a warehouse shift for our mums to come in after morning drop off and finish in time for afternoon pick up. I know that the unexpected does happen, so all of my team know that their family commitments can take priority when needed. My team know they have job security, and the support of each other if things go pear-shaped.
You have a background in media and advertising and have achieved incredible media success for Nourished Life. What advice would you have for entrepreneurs wanting to generate media interest in their business?
Media interest will generate itself if you are providing the right content.
What’s been your greatest challenge?
I have to think logistically about tasks like warehouse management as much as tasks like school pick up and drop off. Managing tasks such as scheduling, transportation, and inventory control applies to both my family life and work life!
What are you most proud of?
I am so proud of how far Nourished Life has come, and I’m so excited to see how much further it will go. I started it packing boxes with my Mum, running to the post office, answering phone calls, and writing blog posts. Now I have a dedicated team who help me do a huge job that couldn’t be done if it was just my Mum and I!
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
I live by the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. You might not necessarily be right in every choice you make, but as long as you’re empowered to make important choices, you’re on the right track.
What’s one product you couldn’t live without and why?
It has to be the 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. It helps to de-puff and brighten around the eyes, which is often needed being a mother and a business owner. I haven’t found a better product to fake a good nights’ sleep.
Women make over 85% of purchase decisions. You’re Femeconomy. We want to help you shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality. The power is in your purse. Sign up to our monthly enews to stay informed.