Why did I start my business?
This is a bit of a long story, so bear with me. It all started with lip balm…
Illness as a teenager
I suffered a lot in my teenage years with acne, heavy periods, and finally depression. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by a dermatologist when I was 14. She told me there was a high chance I was infertile, so no children for me. She also informed me she’d need to put me on a strong drug called Roacutane which would help to clear up my skin. And this, she did. This dried out my skin so much, that I was constantly applying thick moisturizer, and lip balm, like A LOT. I’ve been addicted to lip balm ever since because I don’t think my skin has ever been the same.
Lip balm, the addiction
Many years later, after buying various brands of lip balm and lip conditioner, I wondered how difficult it was to make. When I was 33 I tried making some for myself. It turned out to be a bit solid in consistency, so I played around with the recipe until I got it right. I made it for friends, and realized it was quite fun as I could add different flavours/essential oils. Then something extraordinary happened…
It was March 2012, I was due to get married in 10 days, and I felt odd. I had been eating really healthy, cut out alcohol, and tried to remove some stress from my life. I didn’t think I could be pregnant because I was supposed to be infertile. But, for a laugh, I peed on the stick. SHOCK. I didn’t move from my spot on the couch for about 3 hrs. I phoned my husband (Who wasn’t due home till about 11pm that night) because, well, I was thinking WTF?! So, that was that. We were expecting a little bundle, and we were ecstatic!
Small person arrived
Leo Tatsu Holmes entered our world on the 16th of November 2012. What followed were about 4 months of crazy emotions, sleepless nights, specialist appointments, and love. Lots of love. Leo was tongue tied, developed colic and food sensitivities, and didn’t sleep through the night till he was about 16 months old. So this time was all a bit of a blur. However, shortly after Leo was born I was disappointed to discover many of the baby balms, and other baby products were full of chemicals. This gave me an idea…
Totally Balmy was born
I thought, if I can make lip balm, surely I can make baby balm. I began experimenting in my kitchen with different ingredients, and gave them to my friends to try (as well as trying them myself of course!). After about a year of tinkering, I came up with two balms. These balms are now known as ‘Chocalicious’ and ‘Sweet Sensation’. For the first year or two of business I gave much of my product away, sold them at markets, started a FB page, and nearly gave up about 2 or 3 times. Starting a business is hard, sometimes soul destroying.
By this stage I thought it was time to get serious. It’s now or never. I now had two children, and they were both sleeping through the night, hallelujah! So obviously I now had tonnes of free time to do whatever I wanted. Ok, so that’s a stretch, but I was getting more sleep at least. Now, Totally Balmy was growing. I had some more knowledge, learnt more about marketing, Facebook, Instagram, doing markets, and ultimately learnt more about what my clients wanted. From here, it’s onwards and upwards. World domination has to start somewhere right?!