It is fascinating to listen to the individual stories told by female entrepreneurs’ and learning of how they started their business, what their inspiration was and what led them to make the career decisions they did.
Was it a passion? A goal? A necessity to solve a problem? Every tale harbours a unique DNA and can often say a lot about a company’s ethos and foundation.
I was a high-flying corporate lawyer, who in the decade leading up to the launch of my business, endured several setbacks both personally and professionally. These setbacks, which at times took me to depths I had never envisaged possible, not only made me reassess my priorities – but also completely change my attitude towards life itself. This included leaving my job to nurse my critically ill son who was suffering from severe food allergies, eczema, asthma and anaphylaxis as a baby. This on top of a gruelling divorce meant that my life was turned upside down before I could blink.
So what did I do? I fought and I won.
In the face of adversity, I retrained as a food technician and nutritionist to independently find a cure for my son when there were no medical cures. From that moment, I quickly learnt how to provide a nutritious, balanced and safe diet for my son and in turn, the whole country.
Today, I am proud to now be regarded as one of the leading lights in the health industry with my multi-award winning wellness empire, but it certainly wasn’t a straightforward journey…
When I launched the business we only had an overdraft of £2K so the plan of action was to make sales fast to stay alive. So we did. The question then became, how could we reach more people without paying for PR? We weren’t in a position to pay for that luxury so our team contacted bloggers and influencers, only ever supplying 3 days’ worth of food or juice products to try – we couldn’t afford any more! Neither could we fork out hefty sums to bring celebrities on board, so we never have, yet 20% of our client base are household names, simply down to word of mouth. Take Gwyneth Paltrow for example – in our early years, the American megastar recommended us to Vogue when asked for her best detox.
At Nosh, we solely focus on the best service and making our products work – and they most certainly do. This is what we are known for and in my opinion that credibility speaks volumes.
Next was the challenge of scale and expansion. We attempted to get a loan, but with no luck. So we thought around the problem and set up a crowdfunding platform internally using the software we already had. I asked a lawyer to check my work and how much did he charge? £4K. Over the course of four weeks, the company raised £150,000 for an investment of £4K, my time and my team’s time. I’d call that a success, wouldn’t you?
We required additional marketing budget but with zero funds for this we invested in the best CRM. I had to learn how to use it because we couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it for us. It does the work of ten people, helped us scale massively and still works amazingly well today.
The point I’m making is when life hits you in the face, hit back and hit harder & faster. Treat setbacks as motivators; let challenges drive you to beat them – that’s the only way you’re truly going to make lemonade.
And I am most certainly not stopping there. My intention now is to take the company global. Stay tuned, there’s more to come…
About the author
Geeta is an Indian born in an ex-colony Malawi and I came to school in England in her late teens and never when home!
She spent over a decade working as a corporate lawyer working in London, Moscow and Nairobi and gave it up when her son was ill. She now have 5 kids (including 2 steps) and is surrounded by teenagers.
Geeta is now the CEO of Nosh Detox which she founded in 2007 in beta version and went full time there in 2008 January.