As huge fans and avid users of ProPlenish we are excited to share this interview with the co-founder, Nicole Prasad.
Nicole is a trained graphic designer who moved into Project Management roles in the design industry working for 11 years within some of Melbourne’s top design studios. Following a passion for health, beauty and business she went on to co-found Australia’s first premium edible marine collagen brand ProPlenish.
Nicole shares her experience with creating and maintaining an inventive business and provides guidance for those of us who are interested in anti-aging the natural way. Enjoy!
What lead you to start the business? Where did your passion for marine collagen/natural supplementation begin?
ProPlenish was created by myself and now husband Damian in 2010. A qualified Sports Scientist and Myotherapist who works with elite athletes, Damian discovered edible collagen through extensive professional research in the field of high performance supplements.
He used marine collagen as a pure protein source for lean muscle gain, tone and recovery with his elite athletes. On the flip side, I am a big beauty product lover and was trying to grow my hair using every over the counter vitamin, shampoo, treatment etc I could find when Damian suggested that I try collagen. Willing to try anything, I jumped into it and was blown away by the results not only seen on my hair but skin and nails also. The results sparked both our interests and we began further research into the ingredient.
Identifying a gap in the Australia market for marine collagen supplements was the first step to really pursuing the development of ProPlenish.
How did the business stem from an idea to a reality? At what point did you realise, this is something special?
The start of the business was quite organic and grew from both our individual interests in the ingredient for different reasons. We initially started the business in addition to both our full time jobs. So most of it during the ‘set up’ phase was primarily done after hours. It was not until we took the leap to put myself into the business full time that we saw it really flourish.
What makes ProPlenish unique?
Many people are unaware that not all collagens are the same. Collagen can be extracted from beef (bovine), pork (porcine), chicken and farmed fish. These animal derived products may carry risks of things such as BSE (mad cow disease) or other dangerous pollutions, toxins or antibiotics used in the breeding process. ProPlenish marine collagen is the purest and highest-grade marine collagen in the world sourced from wild caught deep-sea fish using sustainable fishing methods. ProPlenish ingredients are supported by scientific research,100% natural and are designed to easily integrate into our customer’s busy lifestyle to meet their natural beauty needs.
What are the most challenging parts of running a business?
Being the first to bring Marine Collagen to the Australian market meant that we faced a large challenge in educating people about the role of collagen and its importance in the body. We find a large majority of people are completely unaware that our bodies are made up of approx 30% Collagen and that it's a vital component for the health of skin, hair, nails, muscles. Through social media and various other channels we have been able to explain in laymen’s terms the science behind marine collagen and the benefits of including it in your daily diet.
We also chose to release the product in powder form, due to higher bioavailability allowing the body to more efficiently and effectively use the product. As the majority of supplements come in tablet form we found in the early days consumers were a little hesitant to be 'eating' their supplements so to speak. Fast forward to 2018 and ingestible beauty is now being greater embraced and understood by the consumer.
What are the most rewarding?
The constant highlight for us is hearing the wonderful and positive feedback from our customers on how ProPlenish has helped them. Hearing that including ProPlenish in their daily diet has transformed the health of their hair so much that their hairdresser is questioning them, or has cleared their skin up and given them a glow that even their partner has noticed is heartwarming. Receiving feedback on how ProPlenish continues to help improve people’s self confidence is one of the most rewarding parts of our journey.
What are your top 5 tips for someone starting a new health and wellness business?
- Research and then research some more, this is vital. Understand your target audience so you can provide a product/service and marketing that is on point and relevant to them.
- Consider all feedback good and bad. Seek out opinions and feedback from those you trust and value (consider finding a mentor) as that will prove invaluable, especially prior to launch.
- Invest time into your website (which often also means $’s) as it is your shop front to the world.
- Just start – there will never be a moment when you have everything 100% perfect, if you wait for that moment you will never launch. Be fluid with your approach and be prepared to make necessary changes as you go.
- Choose something that you are passionate about as the old saying goes "Do what you love, and you'll never work another day in your life” it really is true.
Did you ever think that the business wouldn’t make it?
We always believed with great passion that there was a market for the product in Australia. Looking back, we probably never anticipated the success of the business in the early stages. But it’s all come as a result of long hours, dedication, passion and determination.
How do you balance running a business and self-care?
Awareness – acknowledging that for your health and the wellbeing of the business there needs to be balance.
Why is ‘beauty from within’ so important?
Outer beauty is often a reflection of ones inner health. By targeting nutritional deficiencies in the body, indigestible beauty products work by providing the nutrients needed to keep the body in optimal health. Ingestible beauty products can in some cases deliver more effective long-term results than topical as they work from the inside out to address issues.
What are some of your non-negotiable daily rituals and why are they so important?
Hydrate and feed the skin with an antioxidant rich smoothie including a few scoops of ProPlenish, some exercise and a fresh list for the day ahead split into into ‘urgent’and ‘to do’.
Why is it crucial to not only nourish your body with wholefoods but use natural supplementation too?
At ProPlenish we believe that beauty comes from within. Intrinsically linked, beauty and wellness are a culmination of consciously taking care of yourself both inside and out. Ideally achieved by a balance of good nutrition, fitness and mental wellness.
Best health advice you have ever been given?
I love this quote that is hanging in the entrance to Studio PP, as being happy really is one of the foundations to being healthy. “Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life”.
What is your vision for the business?
We hope to continue to take the brand to bigger and better heights in the Australian market and establish ourselves further overseas. We aim to continue to be the leading marine collagen supplement on the Australian market, offering our customers unique and innovative products to look after their beauty from within.
We strive to give our customers what they want and need, taking onboard their feedback along the way to constantly better our products and expand our product line.
You can find ProPlenish at the below links: