For Marra, Sustainability Is Front And Centre Of Every Business Decision
What’s your story?
I’m originally from Canada where I worked in Corporate Sustainability for years. I helped large corporations navigate muddy waters to become more sustainable and make better choices. When I moved to Singapore in 2011, I continued working behind a desk for multinational corporations, but I felt that in order to create real change, I had to inspire consumers where it matters most, in their homes.
I started teaching workshops on how to make natural products using one very common ingredient, essential oils. But there was one big problem: I couldn’t find an essential oil brand that met my requirements for sustainability. There were good quality products out there, but they were never upfront about their environmental practices, and I wasn’t interested in inflated prices or multilevel marketing (MLM) schemes. I wanted something different and I’m sure many other consumers do too. That is why I started my own brand, My Pure Earth.
What excites you most about your industry?
I love that so many people are looking for ways to live more naturally and sustainably. People understand that living a healthy lifestyle is more than just eating right and exercising. They are making good decisions about the products they bring into their homes, finding ways to reduce stress, and looking for natural remedies to support their health and wellness. I’m excited to tell my story, and am ecstatic that there are so many people who want to hear it.
What’s your connection to Asia?
In my 20’s, I travelled around Asia teaching English, and fell in love with the cultures. So I jumped at the chance to move to Singapore back in 2011. My family and I spent 8 years in the Little Red Dot before relocating to Bali earlier this year.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course! The entrepreneurial vibe is alive and strong. It’s so easy to network and I’m constantly inspired by all the amazing business owners I meet.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Relax. Breathe. Be kind to yourself. Not everything must be accomplished today.
Who inspires you?
Other women who run a business and have little people to keep alive. I recently had my second child and the struggle is real! I’ve never had so many random lists in my life, and at the end of every day they seem to be longer than when I started. Hence, my reason for paying attention to the best advice I ever received… Relax. Breathe. Be kind to yourself…
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
We recently started to sell our products on Amazon and I had no idea how much work goes into being successful on this platform. Many people think that once you become an Amazon seller your brand is an automatic success, but this is only the beginning. There is an entire industry based around helping businesses navigate selling on Amazon and it has been a very steep learning curve.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have spent more time on branding. When I started out, I really had no clear business plan or any idea of what my end product would be. By the time I figured it out, it took me a lot more time and money to step back and create the current look and feel of the brand we have today.
How do you unwind?
When I was in Singapore, I would hike around MacRitchie Reservoir. Since moving to Bali, we have been self-isolating and I haven’t been able to go outside to blow off steam, so I’ve resorted to a stiff drink and a stimulating conversation with my husband.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I fell in love with Chiang Mai as a backpacker in my 20s, and I still feel the weight of the world melt away whenever I go back there. The hiking is stunning, the vegetarian food is amazing, and the people are always lovely.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life,” by Scott Adams, because if you are taking time out of your day to read a book about business, you should also have a good laugh.
Shameless plug for your business:
We work with farmers around the world to source 100% pure and sustainably produced essential oils. From zero-waste agricultural practices to our packaging materials and bottle take-back programme, we make sure our choices are responsible to the earth and to the people we work with. Our products are also the highest quality and purity available, with independent lab reports proudly available on each product page, so you can feel confident that you are buying only the best. www.mypureearth.com
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 1000 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.