As someone who is passionate about green living, protecting the environment and preventing animal cruelty, I love to interview eco-entrepreneurs. Today, I had the opportunity to chat with Julie Mathers, founder and CEO of the retailer, Flora and Fauna, and here is what she had to say about starting and running a business.
1). Please tell our readers about your background.
I had worked in retail for over 20 years as well as in consulting and private equity. I had worked across start-ups and large corporates and for the last ten years had worked in digital. Approximately two years ago, I founded Flora & Fauna and I haven't looked back.
2). Why did you start your business?
I am very passionate about the environment and planet and love good customer service. There was a gap. It was too hard to buy good cruelty-free, ethical makeup, skincare, or anything else for that matter. Supply chains aren't traceable and too many products are tested on animals so we set out to build an ethical retailer, and community, where everything you buy is vegan, cruelty-free and ethical but also with amazing customer service.
3). What market does your business serve?
Our market is largely Australia and New Zealand, although we ship internationally. Our customers are focused on their health, wellbeing and making better choices for the planet. Our market is much wider than customers just looking for vegan products. However, Australia is the third fastest growing country for veganism in the world.
4). What's the largest challenge you've encountered as a business owner?
Getting everything done and managing cash flow. There is a huge temptation to want to do everything now and you have to be patient and plan whilst still being aggressive with growth. It is a constant juggle.
5). What's your best piece of business advice?
Ask yourself what your purpose is. I know many businesses, large ones too, that can't answer this question and this is crucial to your ongoing success, your brand, and your authenticity.
6). How do you like to relax?
When you have a start-up relaxation is a luxury but if I get any downtime, I like to be outdoors so I love to run, ski, and just hang out with the many animals we have including Rosie, our pet pig, and F&F mascot. I am also a wildlife rescue volunteer.
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