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Tracey Hickmott Placed First at La Trobe's Accelerator Program and Scored $10k for Her Business! Now She's Sharing Her Story With Us
By Lauren Fowkes
Are you ready for another installation from our “Perfect Pitch Show” where Brandon Burns, Head of Community – Runway Virtual, interviews small business founders / entrepreneurs about the secret sauce to their successful start-up journey?
In this edition, we talk to the Founder of Natural Approach, Tracey Hickmott, as she breaks down her adventure into entrepreneurship. Tracey has recently been awarded first place in the La Trobe Accelerator Program 2019, a high caliber program with over 60 applicants. She has shared with us her experiences, regrets and the future goals for her business with the hope to inspire other regionally based founders to take the plunge into starting their own. She makes her sales via attending local markets and events, her online shop and has stockists in nine different locations across the country.
We hope to share Tracey’s insight with aspiring founders in regional areas around Australia so that they may learn from her knowledge. Tracey is committed to growing her business and helping local communities expand with her. She is proud to say she has some clarity on what she was meant to do for her career and encourages anyone who is wanting to make a rewarding and challenging change to take the plunge.
Getting Natural Approach Off the Ground
Tracey is no stranger to the afflictions of struggling to find the right products to fit her needs. Natural Approach was founded out of necessity, Tracey knew she couldn’t be the only person in the country experiencing excessive sweating and body odor, nor could she be the only person enduring the low amount of self-confidence that can come with that. She was overwhelmed with the various ingredients that were added into the products she was using, many of which she wasn’t even confident in knowing what they were. She began to make her own deodorant with natural ingredients, feeling much better about herself and what she was putting on her body. “We all think about what we put IN our body, it's now time we think about what we're putting ON our body.” This is the foundation of what she does, providing her consumers with natural alternatives to the harsh products we usually use in our daily life.
At first, Tracey began to gift her deodorant to family and friends and soon she was getting feedback on the product. It didn’t take long for her to decide to build a business and began to sell her product at the local markets and events. She believes it is imperative to listen to your customers or your consumers to really understand what it is they love about your product or your brand so that you can continue to provide this. In her case, most of her customers comment on the fact Natural Approach offers the largest range of scents for natural deodorants and most of all, they love knowing what’s in the products.
What Makes Natural Approach Unique?
Natural Approach is 100% natural and where possible Tracy uses certifiably organic and ethically sourced products to make her deodorant. She is proud to say she puts back into local communities and sources a lot of her ingredients from rural areas and believes that by expanding her own business she will help others around her grow and prosper.
As mentioned, Natural Approach is stocked by nine different retails across the country, but most importantly Tracey herself offers free shipping all across Australia when you buy directly from her! We will include the link to her store at the bottom of this article.
Tracey shared with us her biggest regret when she made the decision to start-up Natural Approach. She admitted that she is an introvert, and as such she was more than happy to do her own thing when it came to starting and running her business. Tracey regrets having not taken the opportunity to meet with a coach earlier in her career and advises anyone who is starting up or scaling up a business to get in touch with any advisors and guides that you can. Her favorite thing about having a coach is having someone there to back you up no matter what, someone who will help you find the strength to make tough decisions and most importantly, someone who believes in you and your idea. She cannot express how vital and rewarding it is to find someone who is like-minded and wants to help you and your business succeed so take the opportunities you can get!
On the topic of advice, we asked Tracey what some of the best and worst advice she has ever received was. The best piece of advice she had received came in the form of a quote from her mentor, Katie Jane, “you become what you think about the most” and this has really resonated with her. Tracey believes it is important to get to know yourself and what you want before anything else. She says, there is no ‘worst’ advice but there is advice that may not apply to you. She believes you should respect and listen to everyone’s advice, but that you need only take on and accept what resonates with you. Every person is different, and every start-up business is different, you don’t need to make something work for you just because it worked for somebody else.
Tracey states that she would be happy to mentor and guide others and really believes in programs such as the ones offered at La Trobe and here at Runway.
Tracey’s Ask and Goals for the Future
As we do with each of our guests, we asked Tracey how we can utilize how community to help her and her business grow. Currently her products are made by hand, which is a process she loves however she wishes to be able to increase the volume she is putting out. Tracey would love to hear from anyone who has experience and knowledge with manufacturing, especially those that had started small like she has and worked their way through supply and demand. Her dream is for her natural products to be accessible to everyone who has need of them, but increasing her productivity is essential in reaching this goal.
Furthering this, Tracey has been in talks with International students thanks to the La Trobe Accelerator Program in order to learn what products and needs would fit their countries. This has proven to be an excellent resource that she hopes to utilize in order to further her knowledge and extend her business all over the globe.
To learn more about Tracey’s product and to contact her, you can use these avenues:
Facebook - Natural Approach