Entrepreneur, business woman and mother of two, Andrea Horwood-Bux is what you would call a multitasking inspiration. Not only has she helped launch some of the biggest names in beauty throughout her illustrious career, namely BECCA Cosmetics’ first foray into the US and UK markets and founding Invisible Zinc, the world’s first global chemical-free sunscreen line, but she’s also the co-founder and CEO of WelleCo, The Super Elixir Alkalising Formula products alongside model and mogul Elle Macpherson...
Born, raised and now based in Perth, you could say a career dictating the latest and greatest in beauty and wellness products was inevitable thanks to an entrepreneurial spirit that started with the launch of cult independent magazine Australian Style. “We were young (I started the magazine at 19), we were brave and we knew exactly what we liked. The freedom we had to choose our interview subjects, how we wanted to photograph them, the idea behind the story, and the art direction on the page produced a unique result. It was my creative education and I carry the lessons with me today,” says Andrea of her time spent at the helm of the trailblazing publication. It’s no surprise then to hear that WelleCo’s Super Elixir is the magic ingredient behind the successful businesswoman’s overall health, energy levels and weight management, with the highly absorbable and alive nutrients making smoothies (at the moment mixed with hemp milk on Elle’s advice) the foundation of her morning routine. The results, ranging from improved digestion to clearer skin, are noticeable in mere weeks as the body becomes more alkaline, lean and nourished. If you need any more convincing, fellow WelleCo fans include Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Reese Witherspoon, to name a few. We recently caught up with Andrea to delve a little deeper into her approach to business, overall health and wellbeing and why focusing on “we” instead of “me” is a driving force behind her approach to motherhood. Go to www.welleco.com.au
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Awake. Curious. Open.
Can you tell us about your childhood – where did you grow up, what are some vivid memories of your childhood?
I grew up in Perth, Western Australia. The youngest of four children meant there were not a lot of baby pictures of me (mum had her hands full with four young children, a calf and a baby goat – both also on bottles). My father managed to bring his country upbringing to the suburbs of Peppermint Grove and our old house was a true menagerie. As the youngest in this mayhem, I was quiet and fairly self-contained, earning the nickname ‘Mouse’ that has stayed with me all my life. With two big characters for older brothers, keeping out of their way, finding small places to be on my own was probably my natural survival intuition! Some early memories involve going for a ‘ride’ down three flights of stairs in the bottom of a sleeping bag – you get the idea. They went on to be my protectors when boys started coming around, one still is to this day.
What do you remember most about the days when you were editing Australian Style?
We were young (I started the magazine at 19), we were brave and we knew exactly what we liked. The freedom we had to choose our interview subjects, how we wanted to photograph them, the idea behind the story, and the art direction on the page produced a unique result. It was my creative education and I carry the lessons with me today.
You went on to launch BECCA Cosmetics globally and then start INVISIBLE ZINC – have you always been ambitious/determined?
If the idea takes me, if I am compelled by it then yes I am dedicated to making it work. I had just sold my magazine when my friend Rebecca Williams asked if I would help launch her cosmetic range. Becca was in the development stage and I helped raise the capital and launch it in New York and London. She deserves all the success that brand has had. I then started Invisible Zinc after hearing a compelling story from one of the research scientists in the particle engineering department at my local university. They had found a better UV blocker using micronized particles of zinc that could mean the complete evolution of sunscreens away from what is considered less than ideal chemical sub filters. The issue was, the public had no knowledge of what was wrong with the chemical sunscreens so there was no demand. An education piece was required and I felt I could do this, the background in publishing definitely helped. So a brand had to be created, that brand ended up being more valuable than the original company who held the patent. We were in around 8,000 pharmacies in Australia, all Coles and Woolworths and department stores when we sold IZ to Valeant Pharmaceuticals. This was around six years after start-up. Like publishing, I loved the fast growth and having a product that touched a wide audience, it feels more relevant to me.
How did WelleCo begin and can you tell us about the WelleCo journey?
Soon after the sale of IZ, I was doing the last press tour with Elle Macpherson (who I had contracted as the face of the brand) and she told me about her nutritional doctor and the murky-looking green powder she was taking every day. This started a series of late-night phone calls between the doctor in London and myself and by the end of it, I was in. It was so compelling to me that the future of beauty was from the inside, and the future of supplements was going to be natural, absorbable and food based. We were the first to take a natural ingestible onto the beauty floor at Selfridges three years ago. Again, WelleCo products needed an education piece but it really is a no-brainer. Our standards of manufacture and unique formulations result in an efficacy that absolutely drives our growth. Our customers feel transformed, they share on social, they tell their friends and family, they are our best advocates.
What’s the secret to a successful business partnership?
Trust in the people you choose to work with and their skills. I had had to ask my Board and my team to take a leap of faith as we invest in a digital-first strategy from day one (80% of our sales are online and through our own welleco.com site) and create our own internal team who could communicate to our growing community the values of our brand and the way we can add to their lives. We don’t outsource this; it comes from us and it’s genuine. I think this shows.
Why do you think you’ve been so successful in business – what’s your approach to making a business successful?
Everyone looks for a secret, a nugget of golden advice and this may be unfashionable to say but there isn’t one. It comes back to hard work. The holidays you will miss, the planes you have to catch, the extra lengths you will have to go to. A good idea plus hard work.
How can women expect to feel after they start taking WelleCo’s Super Elixir?
First I have to say for me it was more energy, not getting up tired every morning. The nutrients are alive and highly absorbable so this was an instant and potent kick at the start. Then after a few weeks as my body became more alkaline you see the effects in so many ways, including digestion, and as a result of being nourished, your skin glows and looks plumper. Hair and nails, energy and weight loss without trying anything different, just a result of your body functioning within its healthy natural range. And I haven’t had a cold in years (that’s something when you have young children).