July 25, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Celeste Robertson: Started Natural Supply Co in 2014

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Established in 2014 by besties Celeste Robertson and Catherine Brooks, Natural Supply Co was dreamt up to provide an inclusive community where natural (yet delightful!) beauty, skincare and lifestyle products, along with meaningful information, could be found in the one place.

Also obsessed with all things natural yet luxurious, in 2015 Sarah Scott joined the business, and in 2018, Cath left us (sob!) to focus on her career in law and much busier life with two little ones!

Passionate about using products that harness the power of natural ingredients and are beautiful to have in your bathroom, kitchen or home, we are proud to stock pretty much everything you could need. From candles to makeup, cleaning products to insect repellent, baby products to organic tea… if you love it and want it, we have a natural version for you to feel good about.

Natural Supply Co proudly profiles and shares natural, cruelty-free, zero waste and low-toxic products that we love using ourselves. We embrace the slow living lifestyle, and look for quality over quantity in all aspects of our lives.

In 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, we opened a shop on Rutland Street in Newtown, VIC and have been absolutely loving connecting with our local supporters face to face!

Describe the process of launching the business.

Cath had the idea of starting a toxic-free nail polish business, and asked Celeste – who had experience in online beauty, having worked as the Sales & Marketing Manager at Adore Beauty for 5 years – to start it with her. Celeste was keen, so long as the scope was broader and the site curated the best natural and organic products for the whole family: and so Natural Supply Co was born. Celeste then hit the ground running, contacting brands, setting up the Shopify site, listing products on her honeymoon, and then launching on October 20, 2014; just 6 weeks after the initial conversation with Cath. We set up an Instagram account the week after deciding we would do it, and started posting about the brands we would stock, and connecting with Instagram users in the wellness space.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We are really quick to respond to customers across emails and social media, and we are authentic in our tone across all channels: website, social media, newsletters, and customers in store. We use and love the products we stock, and are very transparent with ingredients in all products. This translates to a genuine connection with our customers, and has resulted in a very high return customer rate (which hovers between 60-65%).

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We’re doing well! We are in a growth stage and the future looks bright; people will always need cleanser, shampoo and laundry detergent! The Geelong community is also incredibly supportive of our store, so between online and bricks & mortar, we are excited for our next period of growth – hopefully with no more lockdowns interrupting our flow!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Absolutely that authenticity is incredibly important for genuine trust; the key to repeat customers (that and excellent, personalised service!). Also, we swear by Klaviyo for incredible segmenting with our newsletter list.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Shopify, Klaviyo, Xero, Instagram – we are very simple! I also did the Kate Toon big SEO course, which was great for learning more about setting our website up correctly.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

For us, it’s been connecting with friends in Geelong – and beyond – who have their own businesses, and learning from their tips, successes and failures. We are so lucky to have an incredibly supportive group of business owner friends.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Make sure you’re filling a gap, and have a point of difference to other businesses on the market. And be available to your customers as much as you can.

Where can we go to learn more?