Many of you will be familiar with Bare Biology, the brain child of Melanie Lawson and, in our humble view, the best Omega 3 supplement you can buy. Bare Biology was born out of her own personal experience as a mum and the search for products that would actually deliver the nutritional benefit promised on pack. 7 years later, and she has a company that is setting a new benchmark in the supplement space. We loved talking to her about her business, her own menopause experience to date and her tips on managing it well. And we know you’ll enjoy reading her story too.
First, tell us a little bit about Bare Biology. What did you feel was missing from the sector when you started? And what led you to decide to fill that gap?
I founded Bare Biology in 2013 which feels like a lifetime ago now. I became an Omega 3 convert during my pregnancies after struggling with post-natal depression and anxiety. It’s such a critical nutrient for both baby and mum but when I started researching products, it became clear that most supplements available were of such poor quality they’d be more or less useless. If I was finding it hard to find a good Omega 3, I knew others would be too. I knew a market must exist for a premium supplement that would actually make a difference to how people feel.
We know that Omega 3 is really important for the heart and mind. How can it nourish women as they transition through the menopause?
Omega 3 essential fatty acids play a really important role in the health of our cells and also hormone production:
“It’s well documented that Japanese women’s experience of the menopause is worlds apart from ours. Nutritional studies show that Japanese women get 1,300mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per day from their diet, compared to just 200mg here in the UK (and that’s an average - so many are getting 0mg).”
Omega 3 also really supports our brain health which is important for mental resilience and managing stress levels.
You've been running a rapidly growing business for a number of years now. Has entering the peri-menopause influenced your outlook towards work and life?
I’ve become more relaxed in many ways, much more stoic in my outlook. I’m also more confident in my instincts and beliefs.
How do you define success for your business and yourself individually?
For me I feel ‘successful’ if I feel I’m working hard to live according to my values. I do set quite high expectations for myself but if you aim high, you might achieve something half decent.
For my business, apart from the usual metrics such as revenues and growth, if I have very happy customers and an engaged team, we’re doing OK. If we stop hearing success stories from people who use our products and we stop feeling enthusiastic about our work, something has gone very wrong.
Has your definition of success changed over time as an entrepreneur?
In the early days it was purely about getting established and building the brand. We still have lots of work to do of course. Now it’s about constant improvements, learning from failures and successes and keeping an open mind to how the business can evolve.
What correlation, if any, do you see between age and ambition?
I’m more ambitious now than I was when I was younger because I’m master of my own destiny now. I know I can go as far as I allow myself, or as far as the inner critic or doubter will allow. I don’t have bosses to please and I don’t have to do any company politics, which I was really terrible at. I therefore know I can achieve a lot more now. I also feel l have less time as I approach my fifties. There are many other things I want to do, so I need to get my business to a place that will allow me to have other ambitions and goals.
What are your aspirations for the business over the next 24 months?
I’m writing this mid-Covid lockdown, so obviously on a basic level I just want the business to survive. Which I’m sure it will (fingers crossed). We’re embarking on a big re-brand with new packaging and a new direction which will open other avenues for new products, new audiences and new markets. Our focus will remain very female. We female folk need lots of love and support throughout all our ages.
What do you wish your younger self had known about:
Life – I’ve always wanted to be ‘happier’ but have realised that what it actually means, to me, is not being bored. If I’m excited, or motivated, or interested and hopeful for something I’m working on or planning, then I’m not ‘unhappy’. I squandered so much time in my youth and wish I’d challenged myself more, learned more and tried more things.
Love – loving someone who doesn’t love you back is a tremendously bad waste of time, energy and love. Toxic relationships and people who make you feel bad about yourself should be ditched at the earliest opportunity.
Health – it all starts with what you eat, drink and how much sleep you get. Also, stress really does make you ill. Putting a lot of effort into training yourself how to react to stressful situations will have a dramatic effect on your physical health. Sleep plays a big part in our ability to not just cope, as does meditation (I love Sam Harris Waking Up app).
Work – spending your life doing work you hate must not happen. Work can’t always be fun or rewarding, but we need endeavour and we need challenges and I genuinely see my business as a hobby. Not because it’s trifling, but because I love what I’m trying to achieve so the work is part of the journey and it’s actually pretty pleasant. Mostly.
What would be your key advice to women entering the peri-menopause today? What practical steps could they take to better support their bodies and minds? And what has worked / is working for you?
Nutrition and the right supplements can make a huge difference. We can drive the car that is peri-menopause and menopause. We don’t have to be a passenger. Taking a serious and committed approach to nutrition and avoiding foods that exacerbate mood and anxiety (sugar, alcohol, caffeine for example) are invaluable. Weight training, mobility and tennis are forms of exercise that work for me. I’ve tried running and I didn’t get anything out of it. It’s really important to build strength and stamina and I love the feeling of my muscles growing. There are myriad physical benefits to strength training but also mental benefits. I want to feel like a superwoman, not someone being put out to pasture.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MPowder community about our second spring?
It might sound corny and clichéd but it’s true;
“This is our time now and we have the knowledge, the life experience, the battle scars and the inner strength to achieve anything. Want to be Prime Minister? Why not? Want to be a weight lifting champion in your 60s? All possible. Make this ‘alive’ time, not ‘dead’ time.”
You can find out more about Melanie and Bare Biology at www.barebiology.com