Monday, March 8, 2010
I am pleased to introduce Chantal Vanderhaeghen from Franc Essentials, a Perth based natural skincare range. I met Chantal at a Women in Business Networking event last year and was impressed with the quality and marketing of her products. If you are interested in purchasing wholesale or retail from Franc Essentials then I encourage you to visit their website.
Please provide a brief description of your business
Chantal Vanderhaeghen has been passionately involved in natural skincare since 1996. Raised in health-conscious Switzerland, it was second nature for Chantal to embrace natural healthcare principles. After completing a double major in language in Australia and a post graduate degree in administration, Chantal's subsequent years of work as a holistic massage and facial practitioner provided the opportunity to intimately study a complete range of skin types and their response to products on the market.
The fact that so many of these products fell short of their promise and often caused reactions to sensitive skin ignited a fire in Chantal. She soon found herself on an impassioned quest to find natural skincare solutions suited, initially, to Australia's unique climate - a climate that encourages outdoor enjoyment, but frequently results in dry, dehydrated-looking skin, accentuated wrinkles and lines, reduced oil gland activity and loss of elasticity. It became clear that carefully combined natural ingredients have the power to nourish and enhance skin the world around, no matter the conditions.
Chantal worked with respected cosmetic scientist Jeanette Kemert to develop the Franc range and also endeavoured to build ecological sustainability into her business with the use of environmentally aware packaging and production methods. Chantal’s product ingredients are safe and, where possible, organic, with no fillers or bulking agents, and just the barest minimum of a chemical preservative to protect the products’ integrity. Chantal has developed labelling that is honest and detailed.
Chantal believes openness and integrity – of product, business operations and marketing – are the cornerstones of successful business and that is why the business is called Franc Essential.
What motivated you to establish your business?
I have been working with clients for years massaging and loved the results that I saw from using essential oils. There was the concern about all the harmful chemicals that are being used in products and how it was not only affecting our health but also our environment. In addition, I wanted to create a skin care range that was elegant, easy to use and to bring the magic of nature into our lives. To me it just seems a logical way to go, particularly when the ingredients are used to their optimum and in the correct manner.
Who is your main target market?
Women who are interested in what they are using, who want a skin care range that delivers on what it promises, who want it to be easy and simple to use. I am now approaching friends and clients to host parties for me so the brand and its values can be spread further through having fun, education, sharing of stories, learning how to use your products correctly in the comfort of your home.
What are your favourite products and why?
That is a difficult question to answer. I must say my favourites are the Franc Vital and Serum combined and the Melt as I love the texture aroma and how good my skin feels afterwards; glowing, fresh, well nurtured, and loved.
What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?
I love meeting women and connecting with them. We all have so much to share and talk about and the product is the medium to this. I love seeing women enjoying using the products and it enhancing their sense of self and well being. It becomes a part of your life and your own values. It is give and take as this keeps me motivated and positive and nourished.
What is the greatest professional challenge you have faced since starting your business?
Again another difficult question to answer as I had no idea really at the time what I was letting myself in for. There is just so much to learn and take into account. I suppose the greatest challenge is believing in myself and getting it out there.
What do you believe is essential for a successful online retail store?
That it is accessible, easy to use, informative, interesting, approachable and that you respond promptly to any queries or orders.
What one piece of advice would you give to people interested in establishing their own business?
Just do it, because if you think about it too much you may put yourself off. And do not listen to nay sayers as it often says more about them than you. Do some homework first just to get a feel for what you are letting yourself in for and talk to others who have already started their own business. Ask, ask, ask. There is no shame in asking because you do not know. That is something I have had to deal with, even it is so illogical as how can you know everything? I just did not want to look like a failure.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
That it is national, ie Australia wide supporting women and the community in all sorts of ways. It is important to keep this in mind as it is more that just the product, it is the brand and its values that I also want to spread.