The Gen Y Series: Natalie Armstrong
Having always known she wanted to run her own business, Natalie Armstrong founded and launched Hey Lacy, a vegan and cruelty free skincare brand using natural and organic ingredients just last month, whilst juggling a full time job and training to become a life coach! Her vision was simple: to create something that uses the most wonderful, effective and simple ingredients Mother Nature has to offer in products that do exactly what they say they will. Hey Lacy does just that!
Tell us a little bit about what’s special about Hey Lacy!
Hey Lacy is really a reflection of me and the things I love! I've created her as if she is her own entity and has her own personality! She's fun, confident, caring and girly and embodies what I feel is important in a cosmetic brand. Using only natural ingredients and ensuring they are cruelty free just makes sense to me. Every day our skin, being our body’s largest organ, absorbs chemicals, pollutants and products we apply to it, yet so many wonderful, incredibly simple and effective ingredients come from Mother Nature and have been safely used for centuries so I really wanted to create something that sums up exactly that, use the most wonderful, simple and effective ingredients Mother Nature has to offer in products that do what they say they will do!
How did the idea for Hey Lacy come about?
My love of skincare and beauty products dates back to my early teen years and I still actually remember the very first skincare product I was ever gifted when I was about 11! Why? Because I was never the girl was beautiful skin, I had acne, pimples, bad skin, whatever you want to call it and I think the person who gave me that gift was trying to tell me something haha. I spent years trying all sorts of brands and products, chemical laden, alcohol and fragrance filled products with an ingredients list you'd only find in a chemistry lab! I never quite found a product that ticked all my boxes and made my skin look and feel exactly as I wanted it. Fast forward to my mid 20’s and I had heard a lot about using natural oils on the skin and began to research this further. I discovered sooo many amazing natural ingredients that you could use on your skin and it really was kind of a lightbulb moment where I thought ‘why don't I look into this further and create something for myself AND for others searching for the same thing as me, because if I love it why wouldn't they?!’. It was after much of this research that I realized so many of these ingredients could be used all over the body, on skin and hair, and so Hey Lacy All Over Hydration was born!
What persuaded you to make it a reality?
I've always known I wanted to work for myself, have my own business, and live my life the way that feels right for me but it took a long time to determine what ‘my own business’ would be. Once I had that Hey Lacy lightbulb moment the ball was rolling and I instinctively knew I was doing the right thing and going down the right path.
What were you most afraid of in starting something new and how did you overcome it?
I was always, even from the very beginning, really confident in my idea and what I was about to embark on and I knew I could do it, so I didn't really have any fears in starting something new. The scary part actually came when it was time to put Hey Lacy out to the world. The part when I was opening myself up to other people's judgement or potential criticism. I think it's only human nature to worry about what other people think, but then I always remind myself that so many people have ideas and hopes and dreams, but few ever actually go after these dreams and turn their ideas into a reality so I'm proud of myself for going after what I want and the support and encouragement I've received from family, friends and even strangers has been incredible and it makes me realise the fear of judgement and criticism is just my ego, my inner ‘mean girl’, rearing her ugly head.
How did you fund the idea?
Credit cards!! Haha. But seriously, its been a constant cycle of paying for everything with credit cards and using my wage from my ‘day job’ to pay them off. I'm not sure how other people do it, and I don't think my way is probably a very clever way, but it just so happened to work out alright.
How have you balanced working full time and starting a side gig?!
I feel really lucky because Hey Lacy doesn't feel like ‘work’, it's more like this exciting, passion-driven adventure that I get to do in my spare time so it doesn't feel like a balancing act. I've also made sure that Hey Lacy has never interfered with my full time job which I think is important. The moment it begins to take over or I can't juggle the two is the moment I will know it's time to reassess my situation.
What’s the big dream? And how will you get there?
As someone who is very multi-passionate I have many big dreams! But currently with Hey Lacy the big dream is to have an entire range of skincare and hair care products, more retail stockists and more social media influencers using and taking about the brand. I am also a qualified Life Coach, so ultimately I would love to be in a position where my coaching business and Hey Lacy are financially viable enough that they are my full time job.
How can people get involved with what you're doing? Is there anything you need help with?
The saying ‘every time you buy from a small business an actual person does a happy dance’ is so true!! Every sale, every mention, follower or like on social media, every review and piece of feedback I get makes me so happy and so grateful that people are taking an interest in Hey Lacy and supporting what I do and it's all helping me more than people would know so that's really the best way to get involved. The hardest thing is just getting your business out there, getting Hey Lacy noticed in the online world where it's so crowded and there is so much competition!
What advice would you give to people who might also want to start their own side gig?
You might have tons of different ideas, and I think most entrepreneurs and multi-passionate people do, but you’ll know when you think of that one that just feels right, the one you can't stop thinking about, the one you can visualize as a reality! That's the one you just have to go after! Don't ignore it, don't let doubt or fear hold you back. Do plenty of research, take all the help you can get, and keep moving forward step by step because eventually it will become a reality.
What keeps you up at night?
Hmm.. honestly right now, nothing, because I believe that everything is unfolding as it should. Ask me again when Hey Lacy is much bigger and I'll probably have a different answer!
What have been your biggest challenges to date (in your career and personally)?
The biggest challenge with Hey Lacy was going from ideas to reality. I knew exactly what I wanted, how I wanted everything, from the packaging to the website to the social media pages, to look but actually making it happen was the hard part, especially with the packaging suppliers who are overseas. It took many emails back and forth, samples that were wrong and dollars spent to finally get the packaging right!
Personally my biggest challenge has been maintaining momentum. I am a self confessed procrastinator and can find it difficult to keep motivated and moving forward with things so I've had to work hard at ensuring I don't sit idle and just wish or think about what I want, but instead actually work at making it happen.
How have you dealt with these?
Out sourcing and utilising the people around me! You can't do everything on your own so finding people who can do the things you can't is crucial. For Hey Lacy I had Wheelhouse, a web and graphic design business, create the logo, packaging, website and product info cards, I had my overseas suppliers make the packaging, I found a great local supplier for the cruelty free and organic ingredients I needed, I worked with you Steph and other amazing Life Coaches to keep me moving forward and reaching the goals I set.
How do you relax and recharge?
I love spending time with my family and friends and being outside in nature and I also really love spending time alone so those three things are my favourite things to do.
If you had to pick one, what's the one problem you most wish you could solve?
Oh gosh, when it comes to humanitarian and environmental issues there are sooo many I wish I could solve!! I truly can't decide on just one! I wish we could live in a peaceful and loving world where the future of the planet was a priority for all nations.
What you’re listening to right now: my all time fave band, Hanson!
Fave holiday spot: I love the NSW Southern Highlands and Thailand! But there are so many places I dream of going!
One thing you couldn’t live without: dessert!