welcome you into our Spotlight, Narelle. Please give us
some insight into your introduction to natural beauty care.
While completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information
Management in 1992, a friend introduced me to a new natural
skin care range on the market. The company prided itself on
producing the best products from "science and nature.” They
talked a lot about the good ingredients, but didn’t say much
about the bad ones; in fact they denied having any bad
ingredients at all! Even though the products contained
ingredients I could not pronounce, because they claimed to be
from natural ingredients like coconut and palm, I just
presumed they were natural and safe.
One day, soon after I began selling this “natural” skin care
range to my friends and family, a cosmetic ingredient
dictionary “jumped” out at me while I was browsing through a
health food store. The dictionary told me of the dangerous
properties of the ingredients in the products I was using.
YUCK! I was disillusioned, and quite annoyed! I felt that I
had been deceived. Hence began my search for TRULY natural
My mother-in-law (God bless her) gave me some books on
aromatherapy, herbal remedies, and how to make your own skin
care out of natural ingredients. Surprisingly, even these
books recommended the use of toxic preservatives, (which I
wasn’t going to touch!) So I started experimenting with some
skin creams and giving them away as gifts.
As my research continued, I was captivated with the many
wonderful offerings of Mother Nature, and grew more concerned
about the toxic synthetic ingredients that most cosmetics
seemed to contain. I was inspired to let people know about the
toxins in skin care, and felt I could offer a real
alternative. Some of my articles were published in some
well-respected natural health magazines, and I realised there
was a demand for knowledge about toxic ingredients and truly
natural products. Apparently, I was on a winner!
My hand-made products turned out to be quite popular and my
hobby grew into a home-based business - Intelligence
Cosmetics. It was great; I had just given birth to baby number
3, and this was something I could do in my own time at home.
your current product line develop? What other areas do
you see your company getting into?
Eighteen months later, Alf Orpen approached me after I had a
stall at a natural products expo and challenged me to create
certified organic products. I had been eating organic food
since my first pregnancy in 1994, and I believed
wholeheartedly in the organic philosophy. I was up for the
challenge! Even within my “Intelligence” range, I used
ingredients that I was not entirely happy with. After another
eighteen months of research and development, the Miessence
Certified Organic product range was born!
However, it does not stop there! Our intention is to create a
whole range of certified organic lifestyle products, from
cosmetics, to garden products, household cleaners, pet
products, as well as a range of healthy food supplements to
increase our wellness and vitality! Let there be no doubt that
we will revolutionise the health and beauty industry! Stay
tuned to this company!
would you give to the consumer for using their own power to
turn the larger companies around?
One of my personal objectives is to help level the playing
field between multi-national companies, with big marketing
budgets, and the consumer. Education is the key here. If we
know how to read labels, we can choose to avoid toxins.
We, as consumers, are incredibly powerful; we just need to own
it! The cosmetics industry alone is worth something like US$20
billion a year. Most of this turnover supports the use of
toxic chemicals. If we tell the big multi-nationals, we will
no longer put up with the toxic waste they put into our bodies
and the environment through their products (by refusing to buy
them) they will have no choice but to make the changes we wish
As Ghandi said, “Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.”
There are so many candy-coated evils promoted to us by
tabloids, women’s magazines, and television. We need to look
beyond the hype of big-business propaganda, and not believe
everything we hear! If we commit to educating ourselves and
acting responsibly upon that new knowledge, there is no limit
to what we can achieve.
Be a beacon of light in the sea of ignorance and apathy -
stand up and be counted!
Act to improve your health and wellbeing, daily!
Support companies that support the ethical use of the earth’s
Educate your colleagues and families about toxins in their
environment and food!
Pray for the enlightenment of our planet’s leaders and power
brokers. God knows they need it!
always have an interest in a more natural way of living
(diet, health)? Please tell us more about your earlier
I grew up on fruit
loops, milo and meat with three veg for dinner.
Pretty 'normal' diet. I was diagnosed with cervical dyplasia
21, which was a pretty big scare for me. That was the turning
at which I decided that 'health' was the path I wanted to
bought books and read about detoxifying the body and starting
only organic food. Fairly soon after, I was pregnant with my
child. We now have 3 beautiful children, who have been brought
an 'organic' lifestyle. They've never been vaccinated, never
anti-biotics, don't go to the doctors, don't have asthma, ADHD
of the usual childhood illnesses. They are fantastically
beautiful muscular bodies. They sometimes ask why they can't
'normal' lunches, like their friends. I've always told them
wait and watch... they'll be strong and healthy, and their
schoolmates will slowly get fatter and become sicker... which,
unfortunately, has been the case.
began formulating all-natural
beauty products, which books (and/or classes) did you find
Anything I could find! Books, the internet, courses... by far
most helpful to me was refusing to believe that formulating
organic products couldn't be done. Even the books on 'natural
skincare' I read recommended the use of dangerous synthetic
preservatives and synthetic emulsifiers.
What do you
feel are some of the misconceptions about so-called 'natural'
That they ARE natural is a big misconception! WRONG! For
to create one of the 10,000 chemicals found in cosmetics that
claimed to be 'natural', cocoamide DEA, from coconut oil
use of a known carcinogen: diethanolamine. Now, I may be old
fashioned, but to me, adding a carcinogen to a natural
renders it no longer natural! Or safe for that matter! In most
cases, natural is nothing more than marketing hype.
changes have you seen in the public's awareness of toxic
chemicals in beauty products since you started your business?
There has been a huge increase in awareness in toxins in
products in the last decade. We now have very informative
such as Skin Deep (http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/). Skin
is a personal care product safety guide with in-depth
14,228 products - 988 brands of lotion, lip balm, deodorant,
sunscreen and other popular products - and the 6,923
form them. With its core of 37 toxicity and regulatory
Skin Deep provides safety ratings and brand-by-brand
can help consumers choose safer products.
us about your product lines and how they are sold.
Miessence™ is currently the only skin care product on the
that has submitted to, and complies with, the rigorous
processing and labeling requirements for certified organic food products. There
are two levels of certification for organic food products that
Miessence skin care products comply with:
1. Products branded "Miessence certified organics" are
These products contain (excluding water and salt) at least 95%
organically produced agricultural ingredients. The remaining
ingredients (up to 5%) can be non-agricultural substances or
non-organically produced agricultural ingredients, with strict
criteria (eg. absolutely no GMOs or synthetics chemicals).
These products bear the Australian Certified Organic logo.
2. Products branded "Miessence organics" are either "made with
organic ingredients" or are "mineral-based" products:
a) Made with organic ingredients products contain (excluding
and salt) at least 70% organically produced agricultural
Any remaining can be non-agricultural substances (eg, clay,
soda, minerals) or non-organically produced agricultural
with strict processing criteria (eg. absolutely no GMOs or
b) Mineral-based products contain non-agricultural substances
clay, bicarb soda, minerals), with strict processing criteria
absolutely no GMOs or synthetics chemicals).
These products bear the BFA Registered Product logo.
They are sold through a unique multi-channel-enterprise system
incorporates home shopping, health and beauty professionals,
fundraising for non-profit organisations, word-of-mouth
What standards does your company adhere to, when manufacturing
your all-natural beauty products?
We are certified to organic food standards and have all the
Checks and traceability required in the production of organic
foods. Organic certification is your guarantee of product
We've all learned some lessons the hard way. Would you like to
share any lessons that you've learned along the way of
creating your products and starting your company? What tips or
advice do you have for someone just starting off in this
Never give up! Believe in yourself, even when you think no one
does. Have a good product that people want, that you are proud
stand behind. Trust people, but don't give your power away. Follow
your instinct. Know your competition. Hire slowly, fire
Respect your staff and involve them in your vision. Don't try
everything. If you want to grow, let go. Communicate!
your idea of the perfect spa treatment. What would the
environment be like, and what products would be used (and they
don't have to be just your own products ;-)?
A deliciously scented Coconut salt scrub, mud body pack,
massage (by 4 people!) under the shade of palms on a beach of
deserted tropical island with lots of organic fruit and