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International Women's Day is March 8th 2020. It's a really important day to celebrate women, their achievements and to recognise that we are an equal world regardless of gender, culture, race or abilities.
We are a business founded by a woman and around 90% of our team are women - we do love our men though, just not many apply for roles! Most of our customers are female too and lots of the brands we work with are founded by women. So, today, we're focusing on one of these amazing women who we work with every day. Claire, Founder of ECO. is a purpose-driven leader and one of the kindest you'll meet. Absolutely fabulous!
Claire - Founder of ECO. Aroma
1) Claire, what inspired you to take the leap and start ECO. then grow it into Australia's leading essential oil brand?
My own health and wellbeing were major reasons to start ECO. While I was driving impact and seeing great success as a financial director with several hi-tech start-up companies overseas, I was feeling uninspired. I missed home and wanted to come back to the Gold Coast. I knew that I needed to create something I was passionate about. Thankfully, I had the privilege to work with amazing entrepreneurs, many of whom had great success and acted as mentors and investors to me throughout my career. When I told them about my passion for ECO. they were incredibly supportive and even came on as mentors and investors. Having a team behind me made all of the difference, I knew that I wasn’t alone and felt intuitively it was the right time. So just like that, I took the leap and in retrospect, I am so happy I did, even if at the time I was scared!
2) What is one lesson you've learnt on your journey?
This is a big question. One of the reasons I love working at ECO. is that I learn something new every day. I am continuously pushed to learn for the success of the business. However, I’d say the most important thing I’ve learned is that you can do anything you want. There are no barriers. All you need to start is your own motivation and courage. Then, build a team around you where you can give that gift to them. Empower them to feel that they’re capable of anything. At the end of the day, traditional education doesn’t matter - with the right energy and care, employees can do anything they want. It’s been so incredible to see the growth of ECO. employees– mane of them have been with us for years!
3) Are there three words to describe your day?
Active, challenging, and exciting.
4) What does strong mean to you?
Being strong to me is not being afraid to make mistakes, leave perfectionism at the door. Accept that mistakes and poor decisions are going to happen and be courageous – go for it anyway because eventually, you’re going to get it right. And, when you do it’s going to feel SO GOOD when you do. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not challenging yourself or growing which could ultimately lead to failure. Well, isn’t that ironic?
5) What is your favourite ECO. product?
My favorite scent is Australian Shores. The scent is inspired by natural Australian botanicals and native plants – lemon, eucalyptus, vanilla and tea tree. It’s an homage to my favourite place in the world, the Gold Coast and I’m beyond grateful to call it home. If I’m having a bad day or simply need an afternoon lift I diffuse this scent, it instantly brings me so much joy!
6) Can you name a time you have had to be Bold and Brave?
Recently, we’ve made a large investment to continue our expansion into the U.S. We brought on our first U.S. employee who was just here visiting with us this past week and we celebrated our first shipment of 50,000 units to a new account there. Watching those units leave our warehouse was a surreal feeling. As much as you want the business to grow and expand, you also want it to be safe and stable. It takes a certain finesse to balance risk with reward and I’ve learned over the years which lines to walk and the levers to pull to avoid hardship on the team. For example, I believe it’s important to hire before you need to. Because if you hire after, you’re slowing your growth and straining resources. I feel such a sense of responsibility to employees, consumers, and the world. Rising to continuously exceed everyone’s expectations cultivates bravery and makes me feel oh so bold!
7) Lastly, the theme of this year's IWD is 'An equal world is an enabled world'. What does that mean to you?
ECO. was born with the idea of bringing wellness to the world. I knew that if the world was healthy and supported great things would happen for everyone. We export to over 16+ countries and we’re always expanding. This growth has allowed us to give back in a way I didn’t originally anticipate and since we’re in the position to do so it’s our responsibility to do so. By June of this year, we will be 100% plastic-free and have partnered with TerraCycle to start a consumer recycling program to ensure that ECO. products don’t end up in a landfill. Most recently we partnered with NSW Rural Fire Service and Wires Wildlife Rescue and donated a weekend’s profits to support wildfire cleanup and relief. It’s important to give back and empower others to grow.