An internal communications role at Barclays. I loved my job and had done well in the role, reaching VP by the age of 26. But there were hundreds of thousands of employees, so I sometimes felt like an ant in a giant colony. In the corporate world you quickly learn that, no matter how good you are, everyone is replaceable. You’re part of a big machine.
I’m originally from Australia, but I’ve lived in London for five years. I was on my way to work one day, standing at Canada Water station waiting to get on the tube to Canary Wharf. As I looked around, I realised that everyone was robotically waiting behind one another, all dressed identically. It felt like an episode of Black Mirror. I’ve always been a free spirit and valued my independence, and that was the moment that made me realise I needed to break out of the mould and do something different. So I decided to go back to Australia for a while. While I was sitting on my local beach watching the runners and the walkers go by, I really reflected on the lifestyle I’d missed so much. Being back home had made me realise how much I’d been craving it - I’d been so bogged down with work I hadn’t even realised that’s how I really felt.
Aussies are known for their stripped-back approach to beauty and their affinity with nature. It made me think how great it would be to launch a brand that helped other women get that similar, effortless look using completely natural products. So, within three months of going back to London, I quit my job. It was completely invigorating, but people thought I was nuts because I didn’t have a background in beauty. But I researched everything, found a chemist, put together a 50-page business plan and started looking for investors for my new natural beauty company, Beached. The process was tough though. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year and when I got that call I was on a flight back to Australia the same day. It’s been very hard to face alongside trying to start a business and getting married. I moved my wedding forward to June so my father could be there. I now understand the importance of resilience and having a clear focus.
There were highlights too, though. Executive Chair of Newsworks Tracy de Groose agreed to meet me as a favour to a friend. I don’t think she expected much to come of it, but she left the meeting agreeing to be both my investor and a chair. Following the initial fundraise, she helped shape the business model and brand, and has introduced me to numerous contacts who can help drive brand awareness. We meet weekly and her invaluable mentorship and counsel have been game-changing for the business. You can’t underestimate the power of being around women who have each other’s backs.
Dig deep and enjoy the ride. I’ve never had so many challenges thrown at me as I have over the past two years, both professionally and personally. Not everyone will share your vision, so you need to be determined and have grit to make it happen. Beached has been two years in the making - to see it finally come to fruition is amazing.