Meet Caitlin O’Farrell and Rosemary Jonas. Founders of MUD, a range of clay-based wellness products designed to extract toxin build up from your gut, skin and lymphatic system. Even better, it is cruelty-free, vegan and made in Australia. This is their entrepreneurial story.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
We (Caitlin O’Farrell & Rosie Jonas) both met at RMIT University, and established a friendship after discovering we had common interests in health, wellbeing and beauty. After chatting about our own health journeys, we discovered there was a gap in the market for a luxury, experiential detox brand, and hence MUD (My Ultimate Detox) was born.
We’re both career driven individuals, and at the time we were working very hard, and playing very hard which eventually lead to burnout. We were burning the candle at both ends.
We discovered the benefits of Bentonite Clay, and its detoxifying properties and decided to experiment. We created something that was both healthy, and good for your body and skin, but also extremely important for the mind and soul. Allowing ourselves that 20-40mins in the bathtub at the end of the week, detoxifying and relaxing and having some “me-time” did wonders for our health and wellbeing.
There was nothing like our MUD Detox Bath soak on the market at the time, so we decided to test it with our friends (who absolutely loved it), and so we decided we’d try to sell it. The rest is history.
Now we’ve innovated again and delved into the Edible Beauty scene – with Edible MUD. Our brand new Food Grade Australian Bentonite Clay – with the ability to detoxify your insides and assist with gut health.
How did you get your business started?
We had toyed with the idea of starting a business together for a little while. We gave ourselves homework to come up with 10 different business ideas, and come back to the group the following week.
Within those twenty different ideas – there was one idea, that was on both of our lists. Immediate market validation! haha
We researched some recipes, ordered some ingredients and waited for the post to arrive. Within a week we had decided on a name, a skeletal marketing plan and brand identity.
When the weekend came, we tried out a few different mixes, decided on our final MUD Original recipe, and ordered our labels.
With very minimal capital, we had started a business within seven days.
That was the easy part…
What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?
There have been a whole bunch of lessons, both in life and business, that we’ve picked up along the way. This experience has been a life lesson in itself. Even though we studied Entrepreneurship – nothing prepares you for starting your own business. The fear and self-doubt of taking the leap and starting your own business is completely washed away by the learnings and knowledge you gain by just ‘doing’ it. (P.S. that’s a massive hint to just start…even if you don’t think you’re ‘ready’)
- The top lessons we’ve learnt so far are:
Your business only works as hard as you do. Both working full time, whilst also owning a side hustle can be exhausting (and also exhilarating). You just have to push through it.
- Don’t worry about what others are doing, stay focused – it’s not a race, believe in yourself and your vision, the rest will come.
- No one wants to see you fail. Even though it’s a big competitive world out there, other businessmen and women can be extremely supportive and helpful, and there is always help if you ask for it.
What do you love most about having your own business?
We both love being able to make our own decisions when it comes to business. Watching our baby grow from idea, to start up, to international brand. The best thing about being your own boss is having the flexibility of working when you want and how you want without having to report to anyone – other than ourselves. With that comes a huge responsibility to self-motivate and perform. The great thing about having a partnership is that we hold each other accountable. We found that by creating clear roles for each other we have been able to excel at this.
What are your top 3 tips for starting a business?
- Create your business in a field that you really care about. We have heard this time and time again but it really is so important. It can’t just be about making money, you need to feel deeply passionate about making a change in the world and helping people in order to succeed. Otherwise, when you don’t experience overnight success you will lose interest and momentum.
- Patience is key and comparisons will not serve you. Everyone loves an overnight success story, however, the truth is no one experiences success overnight. Years of blood, sweat and tears lead people to their shining moment – whether that was failed businesses, years working in an industry or networking your butt off, anything worth working for takes time. During your journey you cannot compare yourself and your business to others, it will just make you feel like a failure. You just need to stay on your course and believe in your vision, know that one day you will get there. Instead of comparing, we focus on complimenting and celebrating our fellow business owners in our field.
- Pivot or preserve based on constant validation. Seek feedback from your customers on a continuous basis and always strive to better serve them. Your fans are what will keep your business afloat and they are the ones who should dictate your strategy. Focus on their behaviours and constantly work to create better products and services which meet their demands.