Michelle Reeve – Incubator Mentor 2020

Michelle Reeve has a life passion for wellness and natural medicine. She is Founder, Formulator and Managing Director for Waterlily Australasia, a leading wellness spa brand stocked in day spas, clinics and salons in Australia and New Zealand and offered online globally. 

The brand was born in 2005 from a naturopathic approach to the skin where health is at the heart of each formulation.  Synergising meticulous formulations, artisan crafting techniques and the finest nutrient rich ingredients to create an effective and aromatic solution for Spa Wellness.

This philosophy imagined by Michelle aligns closely to the wholefood movement where slow skincare and fresh batched beauty is central to each product and ritual.  She is passionate about communications and storytelling to showcase brand values and product integrity.  She is an industry advocate, thought leader, writer and guest contributor.

Q & A  – Norfolk Incubator Program – 2020

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Far North Queensland.  A 70’s free range childhood served me well.  I started my first business when I was seven selling pot plants at the local grocery store I struck from garden cuttings.  Each Saturday morning I’d take my little red wagon loaded with stock ready to go.  I took it so seriously.  An entrepreneur in the making!  I left Cairns to move to Brisbane and have spent a couple of years living in Rome.

Given the choice between living in the city or country which would you choose and why?

As an extrovert the pace of the city suits my lifestyle and provides great business opportunities.  I’m inspired by people and love to collaborate.  The city is where I can link into those ideas, opportunities and experiences.  However, age is starting to expose my inner introvert and escapes into nature is a nourishing part of life.  That tricky thing called balance, right!

Describe your area of expertise?

Small business owner is a synonym for hat stand… we wear so many!  I spend much of my time in the creative space either dreaming up new formulations from new ingredients I’m researching and creating new content or writing for industry or project planning events, releases and launches.  Externally, educating and supporting our spa partners to create beautiful rituals and support their clients.  As the founder I also know that I set the tone for the organisation and am conscious of keeping our heritage front of mind.  I’m passionate about human resources and have strong values around organizational culture.

What are you looking forward to most about participating in the Norfolk Island Incubator Programme?

It’s so exciting to nurture new ideas, finding creative solutions to bring them into fruition.  Two heads (and hats!) are always better than one.  I love creating out of the box solutions and to work synergistically with someone who is passionate about their product and keen to serve their community is incredibly inspiring.

What wisdom or knowledge do you hope to share with the participants?

Starting your concept around a values based approach to business.  You are the brand.  Knowing the WHY behind your concept, and how you serve the market place.  Creating a culture of service, whether it’s your team, your community or your client base.  It’s about crafting compelling sticky value to excite followers to invest in your idea, product or service.

What is the greatest hurdle you have had to overcome in your career and how did you do it?

Having the humility and good judgement to outsource my weaknesses.  Big picture people can often overlook details.  Creativity and financial planning don’t always go hand in hand.  It’s ok to understand all elements of your business but not have expertise in everything.  It allows strong focus on the areas that you excel at to really drive business potential.  Enjoy your business, spend time on the parts you love and outsource where possible the bits you don’t.

If you could solve one problem or issue what would it be?

That’s simple.  Homelessness.  It’s a basic human right and I struggle to understand as a society how we haven’t prioritized the dignity of shelter.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Relax and enjoy the process more.  Sure, punch the air flashes are great, but they quickly pass and it’s the everyday moments of business, people and places that really provide the canvas of our life time experiences.  Stop and smell the roses (says the Aromatherapist!).

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