Let's get real about motherhood as a business woman | Annie, founder of Zen Botanics tells you how

Gratitude Interview Skincare

We have a secret we’d like to share. Ting, our founder of Babylon Grey cannot wait to be a mum. In her fairy tale world, she thinks being a parent is a magical journey full of learning curves. Being a parent gives you a chance to deal with the fears you might have and find the strengths you didn’t know you had.

You have heard all the stories about how difficult running a business is. Let alone being responsible to an actual human being. Nonetheless, the world of motherhood still amazes Ting.

As Mother’s Day slowly approaching, we got a chance to chat with one of our good mates - Annie, the founder of Zen Botanics. She recently became a mother herself and we couldn’t wait to dig in and see what motherhood has been like for her.

Annie, tell us more about yourself and what life is like now being a mum who owns a business in this day and age of the digital world?

I’m a new mother of a 10 months old and currently enjoying life in the present moment. I was living in a toxic lifestyle and fallen sick with an undiagnosed salicylate intolerance. What I’ve experienced has taken me on a wonderful journey towards taking better care of my mind, body and soul. 

Life as a new mother with a business in this day and age is a constant balance battle between the digital world and staying present. To grow, run and market our products require a lot of work in the digital world, especially when we don’t have a brick and mortar store, so everything is purely online based.

It’s a bittersweet deal as I personally love the online sphere and having everything at my fingertips. I can share literally anything at any time and place to a worldwide audience, it’s so amazing really! Most of my light bulb moments and Instagram posts happen in the dark when I’m on my bed after putting Cody to sleep, haha!

It is important though, to still never forget the old-fashioned ways of connecting with our customers and suppliers. We try to instil a touch of that into our brand, whether it be a handwritten note or a simple phone call. 

It has been 4 years since you started Zen Botanics; what were the toughest moments and what were the most joyful ones?

The toughest moments happen when we need to balance wholesale order deadlines and our personal lives. It can be hard when we are exhausted and needing to sacrifice time with family and friends to work on the business. Throughout the years, finding ways to scale the business as it grows brought on some tough decision making whilst not knowing exactly what we are doing. In saying that, we figure things out along the way nonetheless.

The most joyful ones began with my first ever wholesale order. It was a small one, but my very first one! I’ll never forget the day I poured 10 bottles of Night Therapy oils and just thinking “Oh my gosh, I’m actually getting paid for something I’ve created”. It’s a magical feeling. After that, another bigger wholesale order came, and that same joyfulness flooded in. It’s like “Hey, someone is really using our products and valuing them!”.

Of course, joyful moments also include getting feedback from our customers. It helps me confirm that I’ve actually made a difference to someone’s life. In spite how small the moment may seem, we are so glad to be a part of reducing toxins in others lives.

We see you are an advocate of natural beauty from the inside out; what is the biggest influence which you’d like to inspire Cody with, from your no nasty skin care journey?

My biggest influence to inspire Cody with is an utterly simple philosophy…

Be grateful, be present and recognise the impact of our conscious choices. Whether it be through the foods we choose to eat, the toxins we expose ourselves to or the relationships we have in our lives.

Many say parenting is the most difficult job one will experience. So do you have a daily routine as an entrepreneur of a little one; and what tips would you provide for the business women out there who also have young kids?

For someone who likes schedules and predictability, having a baby has sure taught me that these things can go out of the window and what matters is to be present and open minded to flexibility.

As a mother of a young baby at an age that requires lots of attention and is going through such a rapid development, my working hours are really based around Cody. The times I can work on the business is really when he is napping or asleep.

For me, mornings definitely begin with COFFEE, before I tend to Cody and Indie (my second child - pet dog). Pre-Cody, coffee was nothing more than a nice beverage to enjoy. These days my little one wakes up in the middle of the night sometimes, and coffee has become a vital drink I must have in order to function (TRUTH!).

I’m a great fan of Marie Forleo and Tom Bilyeu. I’ll always watch or read their content while I’m washing the dishes, doing the laundry or working in the Zen Botanics space. I get so much value out of their contents and they’ve helped me significantly when I felt lacked motivation and drive.

I’ve found what keeps me grounded though, is practicing gratitude, journaling and meditating. Just a quick moment to take a few deep blissful breaths can really re-energise me, especially when I am time poor. I truly feel like I’m breathing out my stress!

My final tip is to continually expose yourself and surround yourself with positive energy and influences that can lift you up. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a mum-life and lose your drive when you are prioritising your new growing family.

We all have one of those cheat days, or Babylon Grey would like to call it “spoil ourselves days”. Do you ever have cheat days; and what does it normally involve?

I think I have way too many cheat days! Nothing better than chill time with UberEats, a Zen Botanics clay mask and Netflix.

It is so important to truly give your skin the love it deserves; what do you think are the daily skin care essentials for both men and women?

- A real good cleanser. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A simple one without harsh chemicals or strong synthetic fragrances and preservatives will do the job and be good for your skin. Leave the fancy requirements for your moisturiser. A good cleanser is so under-rated!
- A facial oil. There are so many types of oils out there that are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, Squalane oil is my favourite because it’s odourless and colourless. It is easy to use and incredibly beneficial for both women and men. Find a facial oil that is suitable for you and incorporate it into your daily regimen.
- Sunscreen. The sun is the leading cause of ageing and I won’t step anywhere outside unless I’ve applied that trusty SPF!

Now that’s not talk about skin care, we want to know what makes you the most happy and how you would define “happiness”

Happiness to me, is all about the journey and growth. It is when you are grateful for all the blessings in your life, no matter how small or big. 

If you can take your family on a holiday now; where would you go and why?

I would take them to Kyoto and Osaka. It would be amazing for Cody to see the colours, lights and experience the culture in Osaka whilst Mike and I enjoying the food (Ohhhh yes!). We would then escape from the chaos by exploring the beautiful and peaceful towns in Kyoto.

Before we finish up with our last question, can you tell us some fun facts about you?

My bucket list is to spend a week in Vegas with all my family and friends for my 40th and live like it’s my last day on earth (except I’d love to do that every day). Oh, and my guilty pleasure is pepperoni pizza!

Lastly, how do you see Zen Botanics impacting the society today?

We hope to create awareness and mindfulness on the importance of choosing the right ingredients through skincare products we use everyday. 

We’d simply be happy if we can just help one or two people to reduce their exposure to toxins in their every day skincare.

 

We think it is important to ALWAYS celebrate your loved ones. Not only on special occasions like birthdays or mother/father’s day, etc. In a fast-paced world we live in today, we encourage you to practice gratitude daily. Learn to truly appreciate what others have done for us, cherish our planet and love each other deeply. All the little moments count.

If Annie’s story has beautify your experience of motherhood, share it with your mates. (Or comment below to tell us YOUR parenting experience).
If you are interested in using all natural, no nasties skincare, follow Zen Botanics.

As Lana Del Rey once Twitted

“When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that is love”.

We cannot thank those in our lives who has provided us unconditional love (and care) enough. Without love, there is no life.

Thank you to all the mothers; for your strength, support, encouragement and honesty. Happy Mother’s Day.

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