Natalie Bond with her son Alfred
Husband and wife team Andy and Natalie Bond launched their natural skincare brand two years ago whilst their first-born child was on his way. Today, they're trading internationally...
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it was no surprise that Natalie Bond would end up going on to launch her own business.
The Yorkshire entrepreneur co-founded Nathalie Bond Organics alongside her husband Andy back in 2014 after she fell pregnant with her first son Alfred.
During the pregnancy, she became very sensitive to synthetic ingredients and was frustrated at the number of products which contained them.
She told BQ: “During pregnancy, I became very sensitive to synthetic ingredients, so I started looking a bit closer at the ingredients in my skincare products.
“I was pretty surprised by how many chemicals I was applying to my skin every day – with little knowledge of what such ingredients could be doing to my skin.
“I ditched all of my old products and started making small batches of skincare by hand in my kitchen using natural ingredients.
“I also found out that the majority of scented candles are created using paraffin wax, which contains known carcinogens. I love burning candles, so it made sense to start making them too.”
Natalie began making her own candles and skincare products from home and when Andy (who was working in product development at the time) saw them, they knew they had the potential to become so much more.
This led to the couple quitting their jobs and setting up the eponymous Nathalie Bond Skincare brand, creating natural skincare products and candles.
Natalie explains: “All of the ingredients used in our range are natural. Sometimes it is hard to navigate the skincare industry as lots of products are labelled “natural” but only contain a tiny percentage of natural ingredients – which is obviously quite confusing for consumers.
“We have no intention of using “natural” as a marketing tool but as an honest statement. Likewise, where possible, the ingredients are organic certified too – so you can guarantee that what you’re applying to skin is truly nature’s finest. And we make everything by hand in small batches.”
The first year in business is always a challenging one but for Andy and Natalie it was even more so given that they had just given birth to their first child. Juggling the day-to-day running of the business whilst looking after him proved to be quite a challenge but was one they thrived under.
She added: “The first year was really challenging! Not least because we had hired a workspace on the third floor and it had a tiny lift but we also had a tiny baby and had to work while he was asleep, which is even harder when you’re sleep deprived too!”
Another obstacle facing the duo was finance. Although they bootstrapped the business themselves initially, they knew they would have to raise extra finance in a bid to continue growing the company. To achieve this, they turned to crowdfunding, which proved a safe bet.
“Early on we ran a crowdfunding campaign and we were overwhelmed by the amount of support we received,” Natalie said. “We exceeded our target and that gave us a seed fund to start expanding the product range.
“With regards to the business side of things, we have also received some amazing support from my dad and a good friend who runs a successful IT company. Our friends and family have just been incredible at championing the brand, buying lots of products from us, and just being there when we needed additional help!”
The support of their family and friends and the money raised from the crowd helped open lots of new doors for the pair and as word started to spread, Nathalie Bond Skincare started to really take off. So much so, that two years on, they are now trading across the UK and internationally.
She said: “We are always meeting a lot of new stockists at trade shows and we started to attract the attention of European stores quite early on. We now also ship to Australia and America. In January this year we also went to a trade show in Paris for the first time, which in turn has increased our international sales and we are going to LA in March too.
“Exporting is now really important to our business. We expect that most of our growth will come from exporting to Europe in the next couple of years. We have been lucky to receive support from the Department for International Trade which has been really helpful in terms of both advice and funding which has really helped grow the overseas side of the business.”
So after launching a business whilst heavily pregnant and growing it into a fast-growing consumer brand in just under two years, what have the couple learned?
Natalie concluded: “Running a business requires a huge amount of energy, grit and persistence. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging and supportive but also who are not afraid to be honest so they will challenge you when they think you’re making the wrong decision. Success takes a lot of hard work and it’s never overnight.
“Remember to rest and don’t compromise family life, no amount of money is worth more than weekends of quality time with family and friends.”