How Bridget Carmady overcame huge personal loss and used it to light her entrepreneurship fire
Fri 2 August 2019 - 2:45 pmEntrepreneur | Featured | Leadership
Bridget Carmady is a naturopath turned skincare business owner, who was motivated by her own personal experiences and a desire to address a gap in the market, to found Clemence Organics 3 years ago.
In her Blue Mountains based clinic, Bridget saw first-hand that her clients’ skincare needs weren’t met by other products on the market. She was surprised to see the amount of unnatural chemicals added to skincare and a lack of truly of organic ingredients.
Because of this, Bridget decided to develop her own line of skincare, as she was already taking it upon herself to make her own remedies for her clients. Bridget also lost both her father and sister to cancer in the period of 2009 – 2016 which prompted her to investigate health and wellbeing further, and she made a natural cream from scratch to help with her Dad’s radiation burns.
She took a big leap and risk in putting all of her time into launching Clemence Organics and closed up shop at her clinic so she could focus all of her energies on getting high-quality, authentic skincare products on the market that actually alleviated skincare concerns.
Dynamic Business wanted to know more about Bridget’s story and how she knew to develop her products and business when she did, as well as her personal struggles that led to her success and her insights on what works best for her growing brand.
Bridget has also shared her top tricks for getting your products certified.
Dynamic Business: What influenced your decision to establish your creams as a professional range in 2016?
Bridget: While on a holiday in Southern France in 2015 I visited several well-known skincare companies and I couldn’t understand why brands were adding additional unnatural ingredients to their products that were full of so many wonderful natural products already. The presence of chemical-based preservatives and other ingredients was frightening to me. At the time I was making organic skincare products for patients I was treating in my clinic, and I knew that my products offered something unique for those with an appreciation for luxurious, authentic organic skincare, that truly alleviated their skin concerns. It was this trip that gave me the final inspiration and reassurance I needed to turn my products into a professional skincare range. 12 months later Clémence Organics was born.
Dynamic Business: A lot of successful services and products are born from the founder not finding the solution themselves. How did your personal experience with illness in your family lead to you inventing these products?
Bridget: In the last year of my studies to become a naturopath my Dad, Pat Aulton, was tragically diagnosed with throat cancer. While spending time by his side in hospital I couldn’t believe that his oncologist was handing out a petroleum-based barrier cream’ to ‘help’ his radiation burns. Unhappy with its formulation I refused to let my Dad use it. I decided to make a natural cream that he could apply to his burns instead. And much to everyone’s surprise my Dad’s burns improved dramatically – more so than other patients in the ward. It was a calendula and vitamin E based cream and it was this experience that really lit a spark in me.
I saw first-hand how natural products could alleviate pain and help reduce burns. Years later while practicing as a naturopath I found myself making skincare products for clients who presented with a whole host of skin issues. I realised there was a real need for products that were gentle, made from organic ingredients but still able to deliver powerful results. All of this led me to launch my own skincare brand in 2016. The loss of my sister to breast cancer more recently has made me all the more passionate about eliminating toxins from my life. The role that skincare plays in health may seem small and insignificant for some, but when the body absorbs around 80% of what we put on it, I don’t feel we can take it too lightly. I know for me, having full confidence in what I put on my skin (and therefore in my body) makes me feel that I have at least taken control of that aspect of my health. Educating others about the benefits of naturopathically formulated skincare for health, beauty and the environment is now my main mission.
Dynamic Business: With so many skincare products on the market today, how do you stand out from the competition?
Bridget: I think our quality and efficacy is what makes us stand out the most. We have helped countless men and women find solutions to skin issues they’ve been dealing with for years. Many of these people have literally tried hundreds of products to no end, that is until they found Clémence. We have also won seventeen beauty awards which is staggering for such a young brand. We also pride ourselves on a completely holistic approach – from the way we formulate our products to the way we package and ship them. I don’t think it makes any sense calling yourself an organic brand when you then go and put all your products in plastic and package them poorly. We choose the most easy to recycle packaging and ensure the environment and sustainability is considered in all aspects of our branding.
Dynamic Business: What’s been the biggest struggle with launching your product?
Bridget: Starting a new brand and getting yourself known with a limited marketing budget has probably been the biggest struggle. It takes time to establish yourself, for media to catch on and for word of mouth to grow. Three years down the track I feel we’re finally becoming recognisable.
Dynamic Business: What are the main channels that you market? Is it heavily social media dominated, and if so which medium is working best for you?
Bridget: We currently focus on social media marketing as this is what we’ve found works best for us. We get many of our customers commenting on our posts and sharing with friends. So it’s a combination of paid advertising and word of mouth.
Dynamic Business: What are the main channels that you sell? (Exclusively an online store? Or are you stocked in shops?)
Bridget: We have a combination of online and physical stockists. I think it works best to have both so that people have places they can touch, smell and sample products, as well as make an instant online purchase.
Dynamic Business: How has the business grown since 2016 and what are you most proud of since this time?
Bridget: Almost three years in Clémence is growing and growing with strong revenue annually (into the six figures). We are expanding internationally, launching in Japan later this year and other Asian countries to follow. Having said all this, I’m probably the proudest of the customer experiences that have been shared with us. When someone tells you that you have literally changed their life it’s a pretty amazing feeling.
Dynamic Business: What is the future of Clemence Organics?
Bridget: I have an unwavering belief and passion for what I’m doing and through Clémence I hope to make more people aware of the harmful ingredients in their skincare and how they can affect their health. I hope to educate and encourage others to make the switch to natural products which can be just as effective, if not more so, without any of the nasty side effects. We also have several new fabulous products launching later this year which we are very proud of and excited to share. The future of Clémence Organics is so very bright!