Women’s History Month celebrates women’s achievements and contributions throughout history. Beginning as a weeklong celebration in 1978, this was petitioned to be extended, and by 1987 March was designated to celebrate Women’s History Month.
Of course, the most recognisable date of March is International Women’s Day. This year the global theme of IWD is focused on women in leadership. To celebrate Women’s History Month, I conducted a series of interviews with different women in business to gain insight into how they got started in the industry, challenges they’ve faced, and what advice they have for women looking to start their own business venture.
To kickstart this series I sat down with Tamara Eacott, the Director of Green Living Collective. GLC is the official distribution channel of Eminence Organics in Australia and growing each year. Between juggling a successful multi-national business, family, and exciting upcoming projects, Tamara is a busy woman. Still, I managed to pull her aside to discuss how she originally discovered Eminence, her passion for waste reduction, and how she manages to create a positive environment for her ever-expanding team.
Fifteen years ago, you brought Eminence to Australia. How did you hear about the brand?
I had been living in Canada at the time and I started working in a spa that stocked Eminence and used it in treatments. It was instant love. At that stage I had been in the beauty industry for around twelve years working with at least a dozen different skin care brands. So I knew there was something special about Eminence that made me sit up and take notice. I love the brand more now all these years later.
Eminence is a B-Corp brand and is passionate about sustainable farming practices and waste reduction. Do you share these passions?
Yes, absolutely. Both personally and professionally. I try to improve everything we do as a business and as a family to tread lighter on the earth. I make sure that we use the REDcycle system for our soft plastics both through our business and at home. My house and the business are covered in posters that tell us what we can and can’t recycle. We are continually trying to work out ways to reduce the waste in our business. All packaging is reused. Anything that is delivered, including our Eminence stock, we keep and reuse for our own deliveries. Any cardboard that can’t be shipped out, is shredded and used as pack fill. We are always looking out for new ways to improve our practices.
Since 2004, Green Living Collective has grown considerably from a tiny business operating out of the downstairs of your home to now having up to a team of ten people. How did you manage this change?
For a long time, I managed to operate all parts of the business on my own. Slowly, very slowly, I hired my first office manager. She took over the day to day running of business which allowed me to travel, see more accounts, and introduce more of the beauty industry to Eminence. Then with each passing year we just needed more and more team members to come onboard. Today there are now ten of us who are very busy little bees. I think because this growth was gradual, I always had a period of adjustment before bringing the next team member on. It is a bit surreal though and sometimes I find myself walking into the office thinking ‘what are all these people doing here?’
What is your ethos with managing your team?
I employ intelligent adults who have amazing talents at what they do. I am not an expert, so I allow them to do what they do best. I try to lead by example by concentrating on what I’m good at. I enjoy providing a team environment where we can help each other and where the decisions of the entire team matter. I find the way we work is a great balance for everyone because it allows them to concentrate on their strengths. We certainly have plenty of day to day challenges but focussing on their core talents allows everyone to enjoy what they do and still get plenty of workplace satisfaction.
How do you juggle having a family with a successful business?
With extreme time-management and organisation skills, an understanding husband, and a supportive and autonomous team. One of the biggest challenges was trying to find the balance between being a mum and being present in my business enough to actively grow it.
What challenges have you faced in business?
Like a lot of people, I went into business because I knew I was good at a particular thing. In my case, I felt like I was a good beauty therapist and that I knew my industry really well and knew an amazing product when I used it. I learned quickly, however, that owning and running a successful small business is so much more than just being good at a particular thing. It was such a big learning curve to go from being a great beauty therapist to running a multi-national distribution company.
What advice would you give to women looking to start their own business?
Now that I’m seventeen years in, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having a small business is such an integral part of my life. My advice would be to surround yourself with people that have strengths that you don’t. Let them do what they do well and be transparent.
Finally, what does 2021 look like for you?
2021 is looking action-packed. Our only child has just started school so that’s been a bit of a lifestyle change for us. Business-wise, Eminence never fails to pack our calendar with exciting happenings. Green Living Collective has also been working hard to bring some other very exciting news later in the year. Watch this space.