Robyn Smith: Turning Her Love For All Things Organic into Business Like a Boss

35, director and founder of Faithful To Nature

Although she loved her job as an innovation consultant in London, Robyn Smith always wanted to make a significant contribution to making the world a better place. With a full-time gig, it was difficult to find the time to do that, and so she returned to South Africa, with a passion for honesty and transparent labelling of product. She launched Faithful To Nature, South Africa’s largest, green online shop with the vision of becoming ‘Africa’s Green Amazon’. Faithful To Nature sells natural and organic products, and was one of the first companies worldwide to create and implement a strict ingredient policy, where every product is checked to make sure that it is as green and as safe as its manufacturers claim it is. Faithful-to-nature.co.za

On what SA women entrepreneurs need more of…

I believe that we need more of what women all over the globe are hungry for: ourselves. The modern woman has to be so many things to so many people, and as a result, we are often hard on ourselves. We treat others with kindness, but abuse ourselves with negative beliefs about ourselves. As result of this high-pressured environment, many women are confused about what they really want. Let go of perfectionism and embrace yourself.

On what’s great about the business world…

I love that there is no ceiling in the business world. I find it exhilarating that every day brings the potential to create more. To do new things. To discover more. There is abundant opportunity when you love solving problems as I do, and being an entrepreneur creates a limitless platform for innovation.

On initial concerns…

I had very little cash flow to begin with, and in truth a limited understanding of how important cash flow really is. However, one of the silver linings in starting a business with little starting capital is that it fosters a lean culture and it forces you to be really innovative. We had no marketing budget but if we had, we may never have invented the novel marketing materials we now have.

On what’s been achieved so far

From day one, we have always been proud of the exceptional customer love that we have received, and in my darkest of days it is what kept me going. I knew that if we were making so many people happy by providing the service that we were, the business had to be viable – even if it wasn’t making a profit. We also count our large inventory of authentic, non-toxic and ethical products as a major achievement. It has taken courage to turn suppliers and countless opportunities down because our strict standards were not being met.

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