While Anna Lahey and husband Keiran should have September 13, 2014, ingrained as the day they said “I do”, the couple (and now business partners) were celebrating another major milestone in their lives – the day their company, Vida Glow, sold its first-ever product.
Fast forward six years and the supplement brand is considered a pioneer in ingestible beauty, with a cult following, rave reviews and a rapidly growing team, selling one unit of collagen every four seconds. Not to mention, that customer who first purchased Vida Glow all those years ago, still swears by it today.
But, Lahey didn’t start out in the beauty biz. Instead, she was working as a sale executive in the apparel industry, before going out on her own to launch the revolutionary supplement brand. It all started with a product she felt so passionately about, after discovering it for herself while on holiday in Japan.
“I discovered marine collagen at a point in my life when I was struggling with hair loss,” she tells marie claire Australia. “I had tried nearly every hair, skin and nail supplement on the market with little to show for it, so I decided to give the so-called ‘miracle’ supplement a go. I began taking nine grams of collagen each day, and within three weeks, my hair loss had dramatically decreased. I was truly amazed as I hadn’t made any other lifestyle or dietary changes.”
And while it all started with their hero collagen powders, the brand has gone on to release innovative products including cult favourite Anti-G-Ox and most recently, its Collagen Elixir, flavoured with lemon myrtle and Manuka honey.
Designed as a way to elevate your daily collagen intake, the new release provides a concentrated dose of Vida Glow’s hero product, the original flavourless collagen, as a way to kickstart the habit of taking a daily dose.
“We understand that life gets busy,” says Lahey. “Not everyone has time for an extensive ingestible beauty routine with multiple servings to take throughout the day. Many of our customers lead busy, on-the-go lives, and we wanted to create a ready-to-drink formula that would work seamlessly with the realities that go along with fast-pace living.”
Below, we speak to Anna about her career journey so far, the advice she’d tell other women wanting to dive into a side hustle, and how she juggles the stresses of owning your own business (with three young kids in tow).
What Would You Say Has Been The Biggest Lesson You’ve Learnt In Business So Far?
The biggest lesson we’ve learnt is to invest in people. The people that help you grow your business are the foundation. If you have the right staff, you have to nurture them, invest your time in them and continuously nourish the culture of the business.
The people that are working for you – those people that are so imperative to the success and growth of your business – they have to be invested, they have to love your product. I believe you have to have a good relationship with them, you have to have an open-door policy. The way you treat people is everything. In a time like this, it’s never been more important to nourish that work culture and make sure people are heard. So it’s the greatest taking that I’ve taken from starting a business.
In Those Six Years, What Has Been The Biggest Challenge To Overcome?
We started a business based on a passion, so building a brand was completely new to us. I don’t have any regrets as I’ve learnt so much from this, but we didn’t have that clear understanding of where we were going.
We started with one product in the beginning. The first two to three years, we wasted time and resources investigating new products that probably didn’t fit the brand. Obviously you have to be flexible, as you can see how the world is changing, but it’s useful when you begin to have some sort of road map to really envisage where the brand is going.
Have You Had A Defining “Pinch-Me” Moment From The Vida glow Journey?
My goal is to help empower people with the most effective and innovative formulations. So, it’s always a ‘pinch me’ moment when I hear about the positive impact that our products are having on people’s health, confidence and beauty.
What Advice Would You Give To Other Women Wanting To Start Their Own Business?
Whether in the beauty and wellness space or not, my advice to other women aspiring to start their own business is to believe wholeheartedly in what you’re doing and be prepared to work hard. Whatever you do, be innovative and authentic. It’s too late to be following a trend.
How Do You Manage The Stress Of Owning A Business And Being A Mum?
Mum guilt is a killer, and it doesn’t matter whether you have a business or not. I think it’s an inner conflict. Like every working mother, it’s a juggle. I’ve learnt not to expect ‘balance’. I rely on the help of my support system. I’m blessed to have my family around me, we have a nanny and my husband is hands-on and my greatest ally.
I took a step back from the day-to-day operations of the business, and Vida Glow is not just one person. We have an incredible team and an office full of hard-working individuals with a unified goal. Having a business and growing that business is incredibly demanding, as is having very young children. I can’t do it all and I’ve had to work on letting go of that expectation of myself.
There are days when I feel good, days when I feel like I’m doing a mediocre job at home or at work, days when I feel like I’m rushing through life, and mum guilt is a killer! I rest in the fact that I enjoy what I do, and everything is ultimately for our children. They’ll always be our priority.
What Can We Expect For The Future Of Vida Glow?
Our goal is to be world leaders in the ingestible beauty category. New product development is a key part of our success going forward entering different international markets including the UK, Europe and the US, whilst also fostering our biggest market in China where consumers are very advanced in their knowledge of the ingestible space.