I recently had a chat with the Founder of Bondi Wash to discuss all things business, family and natural living. Thanks Belinda for the gorgeous interview!
I’m descended from the first white child born in Melbourne, Robert Fleming. Our family were farmers on land that is now Flemington racecourse.
I’m a coeliac – as is most of my family on my father’s side. We all blame my grandmother whose father was Irish and apparently that’s where it originated. But I actually don’t mind the diet – it’s much healthier to eat less wheat, as many non-coeliacs are now realising. The only thing I miss is the occasional jam doughnut.
My favourite bush scent is lemon scented eucalyptus – it’s intoxicating, especially after rain. I’ll take really deep breaths if I walk past one to breathe in as much as I can.
2. What is the inspiration behind Bondi Wash?
A passion for fragrance, sensitivity to chemicals and love for the Australian bush – are all behind its creation. A little ‘aha’ moment hit when I was on holiday in Queensland reading the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind which is all about one man’s quest for the perfect scent and set in Paris and Grasse. I started thinking about the French who for centuries have been extracting ingredients and creating products from their botanicals. Surrounded by many native plants I hadn’t even heard of, I started wondering if we could create fragrances and products using Australia’s native flora. Coupled with a desire to reduce chemicals in the home, I then discovered all the wonderful properties of Australian native ingredients – and started creating scents and products to showcase them, launching Bondi Wash in 2013.
3. Compared with other products, what makes Bondi Wash so special?
The ‘naturalness’, the concentration of active ingredients and the fragrances. All our range is 99%+ derived from nature and the 1% is food grade preservatives. We know that the concentration of active ingredients in many of our products is high which is why they are effective, and last longer. And I spent a lot of time developing and testing the fragrances. Introducing uplifting natural perfumes that you use as part of your daily life, that momentarily transport you, is part of the vision behind the brand.
4. The concept of Bondi Wash is to produce a product that is friendly to children, families and the environment. What is your philosophy on natural living?
That’s a great question. It isn’t always easy and I try not to stress too much about choices but where possible I look for a more natural solution. For example, any medical condition that arises I’ll try and look for a natural approach rather than pharmaceutical. In the home I manage to avoid most of the nasty chemicals to keep things clean. I avoid oven cleaners, furniture and rugs ‘steam-cleaners’ and dry cleaners through using one or other of our product range. Nor do I use chemical pesticides and fertilisers in the garden (a worm farm creates fertiliser that’s like liquid gold for the garden). And for clothes, sheets and furniture again I look for natural fibres rather than synthetic.
5. What do you love most about what you do?
I love the variety – no day is the same. And I especially love seeing my daydreams come to life. Watching new products launch and customers embrace them is very rewarding. With a second retail store opening soon, I now also love the process of designing and building the retail spaces (our Paddington store opens in October). I love the people I work with. I work with a terrific team here in Australia and have found like-minded people in a number of countries who represent our brand thoughtfully and beautifully.
6. As a mother of three, how do you balance your work and family life?
It is not easy and there are always compromises. Family comes first but there are benefits from trying to make the juggle work. I really encourage the kids to be independent and build skills so they can help out. For example, from quite a young age they each have allocated nights to cook a meal for the family. Not stressing the small stuff also helps. The house can be very untidy and I don’t worry too much. There are plenty of better things to do than tidy.