Meet founder of organic skincare brand Essential Roots formally known as Natasha McDonald. The mother of one and by profession a midwife for the last 10 years. The beauty entrepreneur decided to start her own range after experiencing postpartum hair loss after having her son. She decided to take the plunge and start her own products after facing a lack of self-confidence. Also reflecting on her own personal diet as a pescatarian for many years, Natasha decided to opt for a plant-based diet.
We talk inspiration behind the brand, the organic movement and where she sees the future of Essential Roots.
Tell me about the brand and what was the inspiration behind it
The inspiration behind the brand stemmed from having personally experienced postpartum shedding following the birth of my son. My confidence was lowered and therefore having a major impact on how I viewed myself in the mirror.
I wanted a natural product that would help my hair; but with so many products on the market promising results, it was frustrating not knowing which one to purchase. Ultimately, I decided that instead of purchasing one, it would be better to create my own. That way, I would know what exactly was in the ingredients and the benefit of each one.
When researching ingredients, I discovered the great benefit of ayurvedic herbs. I specifically choose herbs that would encourage hair growth. Once this information was obtained and all the relevant information gathered, I then created the Ayurvedic hair renewal and growth oil. My hope was that it would repair damaged hair, encourage new growth and ultimately produce thicker and healthier hair.
I asked some family members and close friends if they would like a sample of the oil to see if it would work for them as well as myself and I set a hair growth challenge. They were all required to take monthly photos. As the weeks went on, I was amazed at the positive feedback and of course the results. That is how the Essential Roots Brand started.
Can you tell me about your background and how it helped to create Essential Roots?
I am a Midwife by profession and have been practicing midwifery for almost 10 years. I absolutely love my job and it is such an amazing privilege to be a part of such a poignant moment in someone’s life. I am a mother to a little boy, and of course if it wasn’t for him, I would not have experienced the hair loss, so it was almost a blessing in disguise. Of course, being a midwife, I am very aware that post-partum shedding is hormonal and completely normal. It happens to many women. It is also important to note that there are other contributing factors to hair loss such as stress, low iron and ferritin levels, diet and lifestyle.
As I reflect on my diet, I was a pescatarian for many years, however I realized I was not exactly the healthiest. I opted for a plant-based diet in 2019 and I really began to focus on what I was consuming. I try to live, eat and be as healthy as I can. I feel my lifestyle is certainly reflected in the products I create. They each have a purpose, they are natural, vegan and family friendly.
Where does Essential Roots fit within the growing organic movement?
The Organic movement is here to stay, and I believe that Essential Roots fits extremely well within that movement. A lot of people are certainly more conscious of not only what they are eating but also of the products that they use on themselves and their families, skin and hair. They are more inclined to look at the ingredient list on their food and skincare products. People want products that are animal cruel-free, contain safe ingredients, smell amazing and ultimately that work!
How do you source the ingredients, and do you have a favourite?
Sourcing ingredients initially was quite easy as I could visit markets and collect most of the ingredients there. However, since being in lockdown due COVID-19 I have had to rely on purchasing online. I always purchase ingredients from suppliers that ethically source high-quality ingredients.
What does clean skincare mean to you?
Clean skincare to me means that we must focus on healing the internal factors before trying to fix the external. Diet, lifestyle and hormonal factors have such a huge impact on our skin and hair. I feel we can over-complicate our skin and hair regimes sometimes. We need to just keep it simple.
Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
I see Essential Roots becoming a well-known and respected brand that people will grow to love and trust. Seeing the products on the shelves of health stores would greatly move me and encourage me to have a store which offered hair & skin consultations and treatments. In 5 years, I would love for my product to increase in value at an unbelievable rate. In 5 years, Essential Roots will be that product that people will be lining up for as soon as it drops in store. As people’s knowledge of natural products increases, so will their want and use of them. Essentially, Essential Roots will be in the top 5.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed as skincare entrepreneurs?
I would encourage them to focus on one product to begin with. Research your ingredients, think about your target market. They will then need to write it down and make it happen! Success is never promised but you will never know unless you try.
Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. There is greatness in everyone, and I would let these young ladies know that even if there is a setback, use it as springboard to create another opportunity.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
I am still working on the work-life balance. However, I have a great support system. I work part-time at the hospital which enables me to focus on Essential Roots on days off. It is not easy, there are many long days and nights but when I hear that my products are working for people then that motivates me to propel forward. Balancing life and work do have its challenges but nothing I have not yet managed to manoeuvre.
What have you learned about leadership and entrepreneurship?
I have learnt that to be an entrepreneur you have to be patient and be willing to adapt and conform to certain changes that may be required for the betterment and success of the business. Everything takes time. It is important to be passionate about my craft and business, but also to be realistic. Ultimately, if you do not believe in yourself, then why would anyone else? There really is no room for self-doubt but it is ok to have those moments.
Whilst growing up, my mother has always told me that there is nothing better than to work for yourself. It does have its challenges, and it is a process. I also ensure that I feed my mind with positive energy and with motivational videos that depict success and climbing that ladder.
To lead by example and be the best I can be also requires dedication and commitment. I am committed to jumping all the hurdles and swimming all the seas I need to, to ensure the fairest of chance for Essential Roots success.
You can find more about the brand here: https://essentialrootsltd.com
Writer and Media Consultant
Lena Media Consultancy