If you’re continually hearing the word “magnesium” but don’t quite know what all the hype is about, let the women behind The Base Collective clear things up for you. “Magnesium is involved (and is required) in over 300 processes in the human body… The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that over 70% of the population are magnesium deficient which indicates we are not getting enough from our diet...
Amazingly, the skin is our largest organ of the body and is also an effective way to absorb magnesium directly into the bloodstream, whilst also being extremely nourishing for the skin,” explains co-founder Cassie Sanghvi. In short, magnesium can often be a cure-all for common ailments such as muscle fatigue and cramping to blood glucose control and insomnia. The Base Collective’s ethos is simple – to make magnesium-based skincare and wellness products that not only increase your daily intake but that help with general overall wellbeing via simple skin absorption (their Magnesium Oil is a simple spray-on formula that leaves zero residue). A sure-fire way to get your daily dose with minimal fuss or effort. We caught up with Melbourne-based founders Cassie Sanghvi and Carly Pountney to hear how they’re running The Base Collective with the demands of motherhood, why natural skincare is more than just a passing fad, and how an easy morning start to the day is necessary when you’re juggling babies and business. Go to www.thebasecollective.com.au
Co-founder Cassie Sanghvi
Can you tell us a bit about your career backgrounds before launching The Base Collective and what drew you to starting your own business?
Carly: I’m actually a banker by profession. I graduated with a degree in economics/finance and have been working in institutional banking ever since really. The last few years I have been specialising in the institutional lending space as a product manager. Very different to skincare and wellness! What drew me to starting the business was really a creative outlet initially. I’m not very good at sitting still or having downtime and it seemed like a good side project to start and hopefully learn a lot from. As it turns out it sort of took off a little more quickly than expected and is definitely more than a ‘hobby’ now! Cassie: I’m a pharmacist by profession and have a passion for health and wellness. Working in pharmacy was actually my first part-time job after school, and I loved it so much I went on to study it at University. From here I managed a couple of pharmacies and then decided to expand my skills and took a sales role at Pfizer. Since the birth of my first born I have been lucky enough to primarily be a stay at home mum (or household engineer as someone once said to me!) and have been conducting some home medication reviews to keep up my pharmacist registration. It was from here I was looking for something else to keep me ‘occupied’ that The Base Collective was started.
Magnesium is the magical ingredient behind all your products, what does it exactly do and why is it so amazing for everything from muscle fatigue to sugar cravings?
Cassie: Magnesium is involved (and is required) in over 300 processes in the human body. Some people refer to it as one of our master minerals, as it’s involved in everything from muscle function to blood glucose control. An easy way to think about it is similar to photosynthesis – most of us will remember from high school biology that in order for plants to make oxygen they first need the right components, namely Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sunlight. It’s the same in our bodies, we need certain minerals in order for processes to happen – magnesium being one of the big ones. If we are low in magnesium then these processes can’t occur and this may result in symptoms such as muscle cramps, sugar cravings, and headaches, for example. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that over 70% of the population are magnesium deficient, which indicates we are not getting enough from our diet. Amazingly the skin is our largest organ of the body and is also an effective way to absorb magnesium directly into the bloodstream, whilst also being extremely nourishing for the skin. Win, win really.
You’ve said before the driving force behind starting your own natural skincare line was having children and being mothers - how so?
Carly: I think once you have children, you have a different standard you expect from products you use on your family. I’d always leaned towards natural products but didn’t really understand the intricacies of what is on the labels until Cassie gave me a crash course when we first met. Once it became clear how hard it is to find genuinely no nasty products we felt that was a gap we could really work in and bring something new and fresh to the market. Cassie: I’ve always had an interest in living the natural and organic way of life. Having children amplifies your emotions and you want to make sure you are making the best possible choices for your children. Being a pharmacist I’ve always read ingredient labels and found it a struggle to find skin care that I felt comfortable using on my family. So many companies would market things as ‘free from this’, and ‘free from that’ and on the surface, in a split decision you would be forgiven for thinking it is ok, when in fact they would be sneaking other not so great ingredients in and relying on no one noticing – I mean who has the time to read every single thing! We wanted to create a brand built on trust, that was clean, green and safe and wanted the busy mums of the world to know that when you purchase a Base Collective product for your family it is a genuine no nasties product and is safe for you and your family.
How do you juggle career and motherhood at the moment?
Carly: To be really honest I’m probably not doing a very good job of it at the moment! It is definitely a juggle more than a balance. I’m working full time and co-managing TBC so it’s very full on. It can be hard to make sure I am really present when I do get time with my family and to not get distracted with that one last email I have to send. My husband is also working in a start-up company in the facilities management space so it really is chaotic at home. Luckily we managed to find an amazing nanny who helps with the juggle and we make sure we carve out time where we can. It can be the little things like squeezing in a school pick up a week or attending the school assembly to watch our eldest present or dance that makes all the difference so I definitely do that as much as possible. Cassie: Having a business is absolutely rewarding but it means you potentially never tune out. My husband has always owned his own businesses so we are good at setting clear boundaries and it’s no different with TBC. My children are my primary focus, so TBC has to work around this. There are always the mother guilt moments or the thoughts of could I be driving TBC harder if I didn’t have the commitment of my children, but ultimately I know that you only ever get this moment once with your family, one three-year-old kinder concert, one opportunity to go on the prep excursion. At the same time, I think having something other than motherhood makes me personally a better person. I feel like I am a little bit more interesting, even if it’s just to myself for having a career, so in summary, it’s a constant juggling act! Someone once said to me ‘Cassie, women can have it all, just not at the same time’, and this is something that often pops into my head.
Co-founder Carly Pountney
Natural skincare is undeniably having a moment - why do you think this is and what do you think this means for the future of skincare and cosmetics?
Carly: Hopefully it isn’t just a moment and it means that natural becomes the norm. I think people, in general, are becoming more educated and aware of what they are exposing themselves and their families too, and that in turn is driving demand for a better quality of the product. Cassie: Wellness and all that this encompasses has absolutely taken the world by storm. The internet and the rise of social media I think have positively impacted the way people view their health and wellbeing. Knowledge is ultimately power, and the everyday consumer is now demanding skincare and cosmetic manufacturers adopt clean, green, safe principles. I’m proud that TBC was an early adopter and that we have been a part of this growing movement. It’s definitely the way of the future.
What does a typical day look like for you both - how do you structure your days to combine both work and family?
Carly: For me, I’m usually up about 5 am with my 16-month-old. I get a few cuddles with her on the couch before she is off and running so I take the opportunity to jump on my email and get a start on the day. The nanny arrives at 7.30am and I’m out the door and into work. I’m then usually home about 5.30pm to save the nanny and kick off the dinnertime/bedtime routine. After a few nudie runs (them, not me!), a dance-off to Katy Perry or Taylor Swift (again them and not me!) and a mountain of books the girls are usually down about 7.30pm and I jump on the laptop to catch up on TBC. Bedtime is usually around 11/11.30pm and then it starts all again! Weekends I try to keep as work-free as possible but will snatch a few hours when Zoë is having her nap and Amelie is at her dance class. It sounds silly but those couple of hours between dinner and bed are so important to me and I do definitely make the most of them. Cassie: During the week I get up early to read emails and do some TBC work before my boys get up at 7 am, which is then all systems go! I have an amazing nanny a couple of days a week and these are the days I schedule meetings for TBC on, and in between this I work around my youngest and make phone calls and reply to emails when he sleeps. I try to do pick up and drop off most days of the week, but as my boys are growing so are their after school activities which is great as it means I get a little extra time in the day and a little extra work time. I try not to work at night after my boys are in bed, mainly because I’m tired and make too many mistakes! If we have to travel for TBC it’s a matter of rallying the troops to help keep the ship afloat – whether that be my husband being able to rearrange his work schedule, or my parents coming from the country to help out or my in-laws or sister-in-laws filling in the gaps. I’m lucky we are a strong family unit and they are all very supportive.
What advice would you give other women looking to start their own businesses after having children?
Carly: I think everyone is different but in general my advice would be to go into it being really aware it will be a juggle and that it can get hard. And be realistic about what you can fit into your day. There are some days you won’t get as much as you want to be done and that is ok. But also know, you will the most effective and efficient person you can be! Mums just get stuff done. And you don’t know what you are capable of until you try. Cassie: Just do it! You will absolutely make mistakes, but that is ultimately how you learn. Be clear on your goals – what do you want out of this? How big do you want this to be and have you planned how you are going to get there? Reach out to others, humans, in general, want to help others and you will be surprised what advice and help others can be.
What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?
Carly: Self-care for me is about carving out time to do something for no other reason than it will make me happy. It might be a coffee with a friend or using that facial voucher I got for my birthday nine months ago! It sounds trivial, but even just having an hour to myself after everyone has gone to bed to catch up on some Netflix is pretty much bliss for me these days! Cassie: For me, it’s about doing something that makes me feel good. This can be as small as remembering to take my vitamins every day, making the time to call a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while or having lunch with my husband whilst the boys are at school. I’m a big fan of a Sunday bath and usually put on a face mask and hair mask whilst reading a book and this is a nice recharge for me. We all lead busy lives and it’s essentially just the small moments that add up to self-care for me.