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Robyn, please introduce yourself, so that the world may know who you are!
I am a mother to four year old Cassian and my furry companion Zara. I live in Kommetjie, pretending to surf in my spare time. If I am not at my warehouses you can safely find me on the beach or exploring our mountains.
You started Faithful – to – Nature, an online organic store with a difference! What led you to start this business, how did this venture come to you?
I started this business 9 years ago because I really wanted people to find a haven in our hectic world where they could shop in peace. I was tired of buying products that were marketed to be natural and pure but formulations that told a very different story. I believe that we all deserve to be able to purchase products where full product description is enclosed from absolutely honest ingredient lists; to country of origin and the cruelty free status of the item. The products that we choose to buy have a massive impact on the health of every creature on our planet. It’s a really big deal that we are empowered to make the best purchasing decisions that we can.
And it was from this mixed frustration and passion that Faithful to Nature was born – a worry free platform where people are respected with the truth of what they are buying.
What sort of sacrifices did you make to invest in your dream?
When I returned to South Africa 9 years ago and told my friends and family that I was leaving the world of lucrative consulating work to start an online organic retail business, the general retort was, “Well that’s very nice, but how are you going to earn a living.”
It’s been a long road to turn my dream into the viable and financially healthy business it is today. I’ve had to take a lot of rejection as the concept was so new. I’ve offended many along the way because of our strict ingredient policy.
But every single challenge has been an absolute blessing and I am grateful for the journey as a whole.
What makes Faithful – to – Nature different, what is unique to your business ethic?
We are a business with a really big heart. We genuinely put our customers first. And that’s not only about the amazing customer service that we offer. It is about honoring people and their right to live toxic free lives where profit is not put before our health or that of our planet.
We are one of the first companies in the world to have created a strict ingredient policy that we absolutely never compromise on. This way you don’t have to worry – we have done the worrying for you and have checked every single product to be sure that it really is as green and as safe as its manufacturers claim it is.
You scrutinise each and every single ingredient in your products to ensure that your products are natural and completely in harmony with a green lifestyle. What is “green living” and why should individuals choose to adopt a more organic, wholesome lifestyle? How important is it to check the ingredient list in what we choose to eat and use for our bodies?
Green living is smart living. It’s simply common sense that eating food that is produced without artificial additives, using natural skincare products and cosmetics, and cleaning your home with safe products is going to be much better for you and your family, as well as the planet. Yet, going organic is still mostly considered as ‘alternative’, with many people, even those taking pride in their ‘healthy lifestyles’, buying as they have always done. A lack of understanding the ingredients used in the conventional brands we consume does contribute to this; as well as the natural resistance to change, even in the face of knowing well that the change would improve our lives.
Business is not incentivised by caring. It is incentivised by profit and this is why you need to be an ingredient detective to get to the bottom of what you are actually buying. Don’t allow yourself to buy a product based on how beautifully it has been packaged. What really makes one product better than the next is the ingredients in it.
We have the opportunity to choose better vitality and a healthier planet by changing a few simple purchasing habits. The more pertinent question is: why wouldn’t you go organic? There’s no doubt that those who have made the easy choice are better off with complete peace of mind that what they, and their children, are eating and applying to their skins are truly good for them
What has been some of the most rewarding experiences during your journey to make Faithful – to – Nature, thrive?
Learning to trust and believe in myself. Starting this business was pure craziness but I felt it was the right thing to do. There have been many moments along the way where I have had to take what looked like the more difficult path because that was where my heart was steering me. To learn again and again, that there is no better guidance than your own internal knowning is an invaluable gift.
Have you had any experiences (positive or negative) that were unique to you as a woman?
Laughing – yes! Of course there is still discrimination in the workplace but honestly I am too busy living my life to become a victim to it. I observe it, wish them well and move on.
Does Faithful – to – Nature support any charities, or social drives through the sale of your products?
Yes, we support Food and Trees for Africa; Greenpop and the starfish foundation by offering our customers the opportunity to make donations when they check out. We also donate a fair portion of our profits to ad hoc causes, mostly those that affect the immediate communities where our warehouses are based and most of our staff live. For instance after the recent shack fires in Masiphumele we donated stock; time and money to help get those affected back on their feet.
What does the future look like for your company, what aspirations and inspirations are currently fuelling your fire right now?
We are passionate about becoming the green Amazon of Africa. If there is a healthier; less toxic or more environmentally friendly alternative, we want to stock it. We are also exploring private labelling and educational events.