During May we highlighted talented mother-led businesses and their founders! The next amazing mother and business owner which we get to share with you as part of our Women at Work interview series is Robyn Smith of Faithful to Nature.
Today Robyn shares openly with us about her journey with Faithful to Nature – a business we admire for the wonderful green goodness it has brought to our lives!
Tell us more about yourself and what you currently do?
I founded Faithful to Nature in 2006. It’s been a hugely challenging and rewarding 13 years and I have finally been able to hand over the day to day management of the company to an amazing CEO and her superstar management team… every founders dream!
I now act in a director and brand ambassador role for the company which has allowed me the opportunity to build my other passion which is working one on one with people to break through their blocks to reach their potential and make their dreams come true. I do this through a healing practice and meditation classes that I run from my home.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I’ve always loved to work independently, so that I can be as progressive as I want to be, and it’s also been my lifeblood to work towards having a positive impact on the world around me.
15 years ago I was obsessed with changing the world through more ethical retail and purchasing and now I am obsessed with changing the world through building consciousness and inspiring people to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.
I guess I’ve been very fortunate to have had the right skills and character to follow my heart. In other words, pretty much every day of my career has been a labour of love.
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I studied a bachelor in business science with my honours in marketing at UCT. I was on a student loan so worked various jobs throughout this time that helped build experience and confidence in the market.
What was your first job in the industry? and what path has your career taken since?
I started waitressing as soon as I left school, I worked in promotions and as a tutor as well at varsity, then I taught English in Vietnam and South Korea to pay off my student loan.
My first official job in my industry, and my last actually, was as an innovation consultant for a top award winning firm in London that I worked at for 2,5 years before starting Faithful.
What have been the highlights?
Definitely the beyond amazing team I have worked with and managed over the years. Honestly there is something so special about most of the staff we have attracted at FTN and I love them with all my heart.
What’s the best part of your job?
My role has been fine tuned to the point where I get to do what I really love and that is to focus on the big picture vision building and strategic parts of the business.
I am still involved with marketing, creatively, on a very high level which I thrive on too.
I particularly love, as the team and resources have grown at Faithful, how quickly our innovation pipeline is moving. It is amazing to watch what the talented team make happen on a monthly basis.
What is the most challenging part?
Not being involved with the day to day operations when I can see the team are tired or there are the odd complaints, which even after all these years I still take personally and want to move mountains to fix.
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different?
I have a very disciplined set of morning rituals and these, along with my daily meditation, take up at least the first hour of my day which starts at 5am.
The next 3 hours are spent with my boys aged 18 months and 7 years. By 9am Kojo, my youngest, is down for his first nap, and Cas is well into his school day and then my work day starts.
I usually see my clients for my healing practice in the morning, unless I have a scheduled meeting for FTN which happens once a week on average.
I spend a few hours in the afternoon working on various Faithful to Nature projects, and the remainder of my day is with my boys.
I walk my dogs in our surrounding hills and mountains at 5pm, while my husband baths our boys.
Evenings are usually spent with my husband or running meditation classes. I try and keep weekends as free from work as possible, apart from Saturday mornings where I take on excess clients for my healing practice.
What are the “secrets” to your success?
Most people do not realise how close Faithful to Nature came to not making it in our early years. It was a slow rough start and honestly the greatest secret to my success is that I never gave up.
I think this is what really sets those who don’t make it apart from those that do. I have also always nurtured my own self-development and have, over the years, invested a lot of time and resource into building my own self-awareness and softer skills sets, which I know have given me an edge in manifesting my dreams to my highest hopes.
As a mom how do you get the balance between your family and career life right? Your tips and tricks?
It’s a constant challenge! But I have found that being a working mom who practices many of the principles of attachment parenting has meant that I have had to make a huge commitment to focus on the quality of time spent with my family rather than quantity.
It’s become like a working meditation to be as present as possible with them, so that when I am not working, I am 100% parenting.
Obviously, being my own boss has afforded me flexibility that many moms do not have and I appreciate in many ways (not all) that this does make it easier.
I’m also a big believer in the value of family holidays where we leave our routines and spend as much time in the outdoors together as possible. We do a lot of weekends away and usually 1 or 2 big trips a year.
What do you do for fun in your down time?
I love to walk in the mountains and collect crystals which are scattered in abundance around the various Cape Town hiking trails. I also do a weekly free dance class which I absolutely love.
I also paint and I write and I’d be lying if I said that one of the greatest escapes for me wasn’t a good novel – I’m a big fan of fantasy fiction.
What do you still want to achieve?
World peace. Ha ha. But seriously yes. I want to keep on breaking my own ceilings of what I believe I can possibly do with my one very precious life. I hope to start many more impactful businesses, I want to keep challenging myself to learning new skills and stretching my comfort zones and I’d love to be having the impact and working with larger and larger communities. In other words, it is a dream to have local and international impact one day (did I just say that out loud? 😉 )
What an inspirational woman, Robyn we love that you followed your hearts desires in your work!
“By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others”
If you know an inspirational woman at work that you feel needs to share her story please do get in touch!