Ever wondered what it would be like to launch your own business?
Cue Naomi Lean, a self-confessed skincare junkie and total business bad ass based on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast.
Sick and tired of continually being let down by store-bought skincare products, Naomi launched L’Elu Skincare in February 2018.
After spotting a gap in the market, she created a customisable skincare brand which gives customers the freedom and support to pick and choose the skincare ingredients that suit them best.
Better yet, these bad boys are handmade and 100% organic and cruelty free.
So what does life look like for a first-time business owner? And what gems of advice does Naomi have for other young women starting out on their professional journey?
I caught up with Naomi to find out!
Madeleine: Naomi, thanks so much for sitting down with us and sharing your story. Is a career in skincare something you’ve always wanted?
Naomi: If you had of told my fifteen year old self that ten years later I’d be running my own skincare business, I would’ve thought you were joking!
Growing up I was never really into skin so this type of career was never on my radar. But during my twenties I experienced my own skin troubles and started researching and trying lots of different things.
After a time I began to find ingredients that really worked for me and then my interest rapidly became an obsession!
Now I’m kicking off more formal study in skincare and cosmetic chemistry and trying to build my knowledge as much as possible.
Madeleine: And how about working for yourself, was that on your radar?
Naomi: About four years ago I began to seriously think about working for myself. I was fresh out of high school and straight into the workforce and working for someone else just never sat right with me.
I’ve always been a really hard worker and all that effort would pay off for my employer, but not necessarily for me, if that makes sense?
But these days I feel much more sure of myself, knowing that all the work I put in is for me and my own business.
With that said, the challenge is that now everything is personal. When you’re so close to the business, even constructive criticism can hurt a wee bit, haha.
Madeleine: What has launching your own business taught you?
Naomi: That you need to be disciplined and driven, because there’s nobody else that’s going to do it for you. If I want my business to succeed – it’s up to me.
I launched L’Elu Skincare in February this year, and I had been working behind the scenes on it for about two years before that.
During that time I was working in a pretty full on day job and had so much happening with L’Elu as well, trying to get it off the ground.
I always heard people say it’s hard to start a business. But man, I had no idea, it’s really tough. But it’s taught me that nothing will stand in the way of something you’re really passionate about. Because here I am!
Madeleine: Did you have any support in setting things up?
Naomi: With the actual set up and logistics of it all – that was all me. Because it was important to me that I built it on my own (I’m annoying like that).
BUT, I had my amazing friend Amber supporting me, advising me, encouraging me, giving me feedback from the very start. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t involved or unavailable. You really learn who your friends are at times like that.
And of course the unwavering support of my partner Loc, who somehow stayed with me throughout all the tantrums LOL. Seriously without these two, L’Elu would not exist and I am forever grateful to them.
Madeleine: What does work/life balance mean to you?
Naomi: Not letting your job take over your life or impact relationships and your health.
Madeleine: What advice would you give to other young women who want to start their own business?
Naomi: Do it! Don’t doubt yourself or let fear hold you back, go for it.
Madeleine: Do you work on your own or as part of a team?
Naomi: Just me! Although my puppies are always trying to be involved haha.
Madeleine: So us tell us more about L’Elu Skincare – what is it all about and what type of products do you offer?
Naomi: L’Elu is French for “The Chosen” because it’s all about customising your skincare to suit you.
I’m a really fussy person and being a major skincare junkie I found myself thinking, ‘Oh I wish this product didn’t have these two ingredients,’ or ‘I wish I could add this ingredient in’.
So I thought, why not create a brand where you do have that choice?
L’Elu started with facial oils, but I am currently developing a series of cleansers, moisturiser, facial mists and toners.
Unfortunately developing new products takes a lot of time and money! And as I’m the sole investor I am relying on my own income to get them off the ground. It might take me a little bit longer but I will get there!
Madeleine: What sets L’Elu Skincare apart from other skincare brands, and other oil brands?
Naomi: The thing that sets L’Elu apart is definitely the fact you can create your own products. They’re completely customisable, which is something I felt lacked in the skincare / facial oil market. Pick the ingredients you want, and leave out the ones you’d like to avoid.
Madeleine: Do you have another job on top of L’Elu?
Naomi: Yes, on top of running L’Elu I currently work full time as an administrator. I plan to keep working while I grow my business and invest the money into developing new products.
It can be tough trying to maintain a balance. Because L’Elu is my priority but I still need to stay committed and engaged in my day job.
Madeleine: What does a normal day in the L’Elu Skincare “office” looks like for you? Do you have one?
Naomi: My L’Elu ‘office’ is a bit all over the place which is unusual for me because I’m a very organised person! I have a dedicated workspace at home however I tend to drag it all out in to the dining room more often than not. I feel so locked away at the back of the house!
Currently my normal day is heading to my day job then gym. Once I get home I go through orders, create the product, play with oils (lol) and then get them ready for sending. Plus all the admin stuff behind getting the orders off.
I also spend any spare time developing, researching and planning ahead.
Madeleine: What are your career highlights to date?
Naomi: The feedback I get from customers who love my product. I mean, I love my product, but it’s still a bit weird to me that other people like it too. Every time I get a message, or get tagged in a post, it just makes me so, so happy and proud.
Madeleine: How have you built professional connections in your industry?
Naomi: Pretty much all through Instagram! It’s such a hub of creators and like-minded people, I’ve met some really awesome girls on there.
Madeleine: Where can we find L’Elu Skincare?
A massive thank you to Naomi for taking part in this interview. Want more career interviews with real women? Check out Meet Sophie Morgan-Short: Paid Media Manager, London and Meet Sophie Zoricic: Ballerina.
Until next time,