When Edwina Pearce’s last child started high school she decided it was high time she did something for herself. That started with swapping baking homemade treats for her kids in the afternoons for blending personal care products. Five years on, Edwina’s the owner of a thriving natural personal care and cleaning product manufacturing company that employs her husband and two sons, with plans to head into overseas markets.
Of all the things to love about her business Edwina says it’s given her the freedom to be the mum she’s always wanted to be:
“Flexibility of working hours to accommodate family needs, the opportunity it presents, learning skills and watching my range become a household name, it is totally amazing and rewarding,” she said.
Flying Solo sat down with Edwina who is the recent winner of the WorldFirst prize to find out more about her small business journey and her plans for the future. WorldFirst are the experts in foreign exchange for small business owners, with market leading exchange rates and transparent pricing.
Tell us what you do, who for and how does it benefit them?
I am a manufacturer of Uniquely Natural, natural hair care, skin care and household cleaning products that are gentle on the environment. We make our range from the raw ingredients in Lonsdale SA and sell into supermarkets nationally. Our range benefits those with sensitive, individuals concerned about environmental impact and those choosing a clean, green living lifestyle.
When did you know you wanted to start your own business?
When I was 44, the last child was in high school and I wanted to do something for myself as green as anything, I started to blend at home. I went from cooking cakes to blending personal care products ( the kids were disappointed that it was the end of the afternoon home cooked treats)
What’s the one resource you’d never be without?
My computer – it allows me to work wherever I am, it helps to create flexibility and accessibility.
What’s the biggest challenge you face at work?
Growth and getting the larger supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths and Aldi to accept our lines.
Is it true that you have plans to expand your business overseas?
Absolutely this is an area I believe will bring a lot of opportunity. Our weakness is that no one in house has had exposure. We have made contact with someone out of office however it has only bought us one small order out of Singapore.
Why is that important for you?
It is important for the growth, of the business. While we have steady traction in Australia, we must look forward to further opportunity. Should we face downturns, other countries could offer stability through this period as well.
What kind of support will you need to ensure that this is a success?
Understanding other countries’ regulations for the products we would be shipping, best shipping options, and the best way to manage payment of an account for overseas transactions.
How do you plan to manage the financial side of this process?
I can give some financial backing, our business only has 30 transactions account, so we do not have a huge financial debt. I would also consider a business overdraft should there be an opportunity. We also store a larger quantity of raw ingredients, packaging etc in-house so we would have supplies to get started. Plus, I’m also going to explore a multi-currency plan with WorldFirst to help me tap into the overseas market.
What’s the best thing about being a soloist? And the worst thing?
I learnt so much about myself, learning skills I did not know I could achieve so much. Sometimes I have surprised myself. Sometimes you can feel alone and people do not realise we are just like everyone else and still have the day to day pressures.
Where and when do you have your best ideas?
When I get alone time, sitting back reflecting without the hustle and bustle of day to day tasks.
What talent do you most wish you possessed?
How to get social media/ better understanding to work well for my business.
What would your mum say is your greatest strength? And weakness?
I emailed mum this question and this is what she said : Edwina shows great integrity, is honest, and trustworthy. She has a love of learning, and displays good leadership. Above all, she shows great determination in all areas of her life. Being a very caring person, Edwina tends to put others before herself, which can result in sometimes being manipulated by others.
What’s one thing about you few people know?
I became a mum at 15 , which was an incredibly overwhelming time.
What is the one regret you do not want to have in this lifetime?
Not spending in time with my grandchildren and children and friends and not doing the things I am passionate about.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Flexibility of working hours to accommodate family needs, the opportunity it presents, learning skills and watching my range become a household name, it is totally amazing and rewarding.