Colleen Harte is a Complementary Therapist and Clinical Aromatherapist who has been an organic health enthusiast for some time, she founded organic cosmetics company Lucy Annabella when she realised that ‘being organic’ is as much about what we put on our bodies as what we put into them. She named the company after her grandfather’s pet name for her, and went straight into travelling the globe in her quest for knowledge and the best ingredients and dedicated farmers. On her return to rural County Tyrone she pursued her passion and created Lucy Annabella!
Here are her tips for building a brand with strong values and balancing your career with your life…
‘I start with a great breakfast and I always try to end the day with a gym based workout, go for a run or do some yoga.’
What’s the inspiration behind Lucy Annabella?
My experience as a clinical aromatherapist and my clients’ desire for functional products was the foundation to Lucy Annabella creation. However, I didn’t want to sacrifice my desire for all things luxury in my quest for healthy bath and body care. So, we chose to combine beautiful aromatherapy products which deliver therapeutic results for client’s needs, whether that be muscle ache, skin complaints, stress or insomnia.
A typical day for you?
It is a cliché, but no two days are similar for me as I can go from travelling to support our great international sales partners, to instilling the Lucy Annabella passion with the press, or in production or even having an office day. No matter what my day holds there are a few things I always make sure I do. I start with a great breakfast and I always try to end the day with a gym based workout, go for a run or do some yoga. I organise my schedule rigorously in order to complete all my tasks and I finish my working days with a power hour, in which I tackle my inbox, post and my daily notes. These basic routines keep me organised and healthy so I’m able to drive our beautiful brand.
‘[my biggest inspiration in life is] the growing number of powerful women out there who embrace the fear and jump into their own inspirational entrepreneurial path.’
Why is there a bigger demand for organic products nowadays?
I think it is a mix of our customers becoming savvier and questioning the harmful ingredients in some of today’s cosmetics, and as a result they are seeking a better option. I also think the organic food movement, which is now mainstream, has spread naturally into the beauty sector, which explains the current demand for certified beauty products.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
I have so many, from close family to the growing number of powerful women out there who embrace the fear and jump into their own inspirational entrepreneurial path. Jo Fairly, the founder of Green and Blacks, has had the greatest impact on my desire to push the boundaries of the norm and build a brand I believe in with my whole heart. She has and continues to build a positive global brand based on Organic Chocolate (which also happens to be delicious), when the concept didn’t even exist.
What career/life advice would you give to young girls all over the world?
Never take no for an answer – crave your own path and fight for what you believe in.
‘My family in a large part, hold Lucy Annabella up. They are the first brand ambassadors, my greatest supporters and also the only brave soles who will tell me when I have got a plan wrong.’
What was the hardest part of starting Lucy Annabella and how did you overcome it?
The hardest part at the start was getting buyers to meet with me. But I was persistent and eventually they started to meet me and list Lucy Annabella and some of those first buyers are still our heroes today.
Have you got any tips for the perfect Sunday evening pamper session?
Of course, a pamper session has to start with a scrub and bath. I adore the Lucy Annabella Cloud Nine Bath Milk (£43, Space NK) followed by the Argan and Frankincense Treatment Oil (£42, Space NK), which I use as a body moisturiser. I also comb the oil though my hair, as it works as a great hair treatment too!
And I have to have an aroma candle burning in the background, the Lucy Annabella Bergamot & Palmarosa candle (£32, Space NK) creates that ultimate blissful ambience. Once your skin has been treated with such lavish luxury, you feel so smooth and relaxed.
‘It has been said that there is a thin line between genius and madness and I think to be an entrepreneur, you have to find the balance between the two.’
Which products from Lucy Annabella would you recommend as perfect holiday gifts or treats for career girls to have some me-time this season?
Our Time Out Bath Milk (£43, Space NK) is the perfect holiday recovery bath milk and it encourages busy women to take time for themselves. I’d also recommend the Argan and Bergamot Treatment Oil (£38, Space NK) as this will help repair and replenish her tired skin.
How important do you think family support is when you’re pursuing an entrepreneurial career?
My family in a large part, hold Lucy Annabella up. They are the first brand ambassadors, my greatest supporters and also the only brave soles who will tell me when I have got a plan wrong. It has been said that there is a thin line between genius and madness and I think to be an entrepreneur, you have to find the balance between the two. My family understands that and help to keep me balanced.
What’s your workwear uniform?
My work uniform has organically become quite monochrome while still remaining smart casual. We are a luxury brand with our roots in natural and my work wardrobe reflects this ethos. I adore Zara for smart everyday wear and their shoes are brilliant. LK Bennett are great for business dresses, especially when a boardroom is looming.