Co-Founder of British beauty brand, Raw Beauty Lab, Sonia Bainbridge is a former Miss Australia runner up and has a major in pharmacology.
Passionate about greater transparency in ingredients in beauty products and utilizing the power of nature within their Award-Winning Vegan Collagen skin formula, Sonia has created a formula that harnesses the power of plants without the need for nasties or animal products – Vegan friendly, cruelty-free and ethical.
1. What has been your Best Life Project to date?
Starting Raw Beauty Lab with my husband, Jared definitely takes the cake. It’s been a journey, but it has been one of the most rewarding things we’ve done together as a couple. When we first launched the business, we’d spent over a year in product development, and were eagerly awaiting our first online sale. We went live..and then nothing.
It was day 11, and we’d still had no sales, and were starting to feel downcast. My husband and I were working out at the gym when suddenly both our phones pinged simultaneously with a notification – it was our first sale! I was so excited that I ran across the room and jumped into Jared’s arms, and he twirled me around. The other gym goers had no idea what was going on – they thought we had gotten engaged and broke into loud applause. It was a special moment, to say the least!
2. The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?
One of the biggest challenges we had was going from start-up to scale-up. In the beginning, we would do all the fulfilment ourselves – taking orders to the post office each morning ourselves. As the packages got larger (and our arms got sorer!), we realised it wasn’t sustainable for us to keep doing it ourselves. Eventually, the order volume grew so quickly that we were up until 5 or 6am trying to get orders out. That’s when we got a fulfilment partner onboard!
3. In hindsight…..what would you do differently?
In the beginning, we felt that it was important to do everything ourselves – both to control cost but to ensure we could respond to client queries as quickly as possible. In hindsight, we would have begun onboarding business partners and building our team earlier.
4. Next steps?
We’re currently working on some new products – keeping our ethos of using wholefoods to help support both beauty and wellness.
5. What lifestyle changes has lockdown made you consider?
We’ve begun walking daily. It’s such a wonderful part of our routine now – a time that we use to catch-up, take in nature and just get away from the work desk. It’s definitely going to be a routine that we continue post lockdown.
6. Kissing frogs …. is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?
Rather than one person, it was 10,000+ people at once. When we were still developing our product, we posted some of our ideas in a Facebook women’s group for their thoughts – and got some pretty terrible feedback. Luckily we took it onboard and went back to the drawing board. Their feedback had an incredible impact to help us develop an even better product.
7. My Inspiration ….who or what inspires you?
My husband is my inspiration. He always encourages me to reach for my dreams, no matter how big or audacious and is always there to cheer me on if I’m feeling discouraged.
8. How do you relax, or do you struggle to relax?
I always struggle to relax – I find it quite hard to switch off as my mind tends to jump to the next project or item on my list. However, since lockdown, I’ve tried to make relaxation a priority and have found that building a routine around my relaxation time helps. I make myself a herbal tea and curl up on the couch with a good book (or, if I’m feeling lazy, Netflix).
9. Guilty secret pleasure?
I find it hard to say no to sugar, and chocolate is a real weakness! However, since starting Raw Beauty Lab, I’ve definitely become more aware of my sweet tooth’s impact on my skin, so I’ve tried to cut down on my sugar intake. I’ve started to have a few squares of dark chocolate a day, which helps keep my sugar cravings at bay and is also packed with anti-ageing antioxidants, so it’s a win-win!
10. Words of wisdom
If you have a dream – do it! The hardest thing is getting started, but if you take it small step by small step, you’ll start heading in the right direction, and you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve!