International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, age, economic or political. It’s a celebration where we unite as a global community to celebrate women, their endless drive, passion, impact and tireless effort in making a difference.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating our accomplishments as women, and the progress we make each day towards an equal future by bringing together three inspiring duo founders making an impact in their field and communities. Dive in deeper and follow along with us this month as we showcase a handful of incredibly notable and talented women because as women we are stronger together.
Meet business partners, old friends and founders of Equi London, Alice Mackintosh and Rosie Speight. Equi is a pioneering approach to to supplementation that gives results while allowing people to keep up with the pace of their modern lifestyle.
How did the two of you meet and found Equi London?
We are Rosie and Alice, the founders of Equi London and also very old friends. Alice is a registered nutritional therapist in London, and just about to give birth to her first child. Rosie is an ex-banker and already a working-Mum to her two children, one of whom is just 8 weeks old.
Our journey started 15 years ago when we first met in the first week of University, we quickly become close friends and have been ever since. Neither of us expected to ever go into business together but the idea for Equi came about organically in 2015.
We were on quite different paths at Uni; Rosie was studying Economics and then went straight into the City working at Investment Banks for years. Alice was studying Biomedical Sciences, then did a second degree in Nutritional Therapy and went on to set up her London clinic. She still runs a busy clinic now, helping people with all sorts of issues from low energy, skin problems, digestive concerns, immune and hormone imbalances.
The corporate Banking world was a pretty full-on way of life and it’s safe to say Rosie was burning the candle at both ends – like so many of us do! Her skin had flared up badly when she stopped taking the contraceptive pill which she had been on for many years. She was preparing to have a baby so harsh medications were out of the question and she wanted to get to the route cause of her issues. Rosie was already eating pretty well, but as well as a few tweaks to her diet, Alice suggested a range of supplements that not only cleared her skin up but also improved her energy, digestion, concentration, sleep. She felt the best she had in years and it was then that she really realised how sub-par she’d been feeling on a day-to-day basis.
We’d seen first hand the distinct lack of effective supplements on the market from both angles – Alice as a nutritionist looking for products for her clients, and Rosie actually as a customer trying to find something to support her skin. The supplement market is incredibly confusing; from ineffective, cheap mass market products to the supplements Alice had given Rosie. These were only only available through practitioners or specialist websites, were unbranded and sold in single forms -meaning you need to buy and take almost 10 different products, with the help of an expert (or hours of research) guiding you.
We realised that there was a need for readily available, effective supplements that make a real difference to how you look and feel, so we decided to create our own.
What is Equi London and what is your mission?
Our company (and baby!) Equi offers a totally unique, pioneering approach to nutritional supplements. Designed for the busy modern woman, by busy modern women, we have a range of high quality, expertly formulated products that support women at all stages of their lives to help them look and feel their best.
Equi (equilibrium) is all about balance – we believe that a balanced life is a happy life. Be it balancing work and play, motherhood and me time, your diet and your body’s internal functioning… effective balance is the key in all of it! We’re don’t believe in health fads, misleading information or restriction. We’re all about having a few drinks and enjoying life, but nourishing the body effectively so you can keep up with the pace. This is where Equi comes in.
We wanted to create trustworthy, effective products, removing the need to research, buy and take several different supplements to get what Equi gives you in one – perfect for the busy, on-the-go lives so many of us live.
We started with a skin product, Beauty Formula for which we’ve won two awards and then extended our range to include a general wellbeing product which is very energising, mind and immune supporting, Original Formula. We also offer a healthy weight management product, Lean Formula and a Pregnancy product of which we’re very proud to have had fertility experts say it’s the best on the market. As skin is our most popular area and we get people asking if they can take multiple formulas, we have also just released new beauty supplement called Glow Edition, which is a beauty booster that can be taken standalone or with any of our other products. All of our products have their own story behind them and we’ve really tried to fill any gaps in the market we personally see.
What is one standout quality you each see in each other?
Alice – the are so many things that I admire about Rosie and it’s so brilliant to work alongside someone whose skills are different to yours, especially as we complement each other so much. I would say that up there on the list of qualities I admire in her is her ability to deal with any situation. She is not only logical, but forward thinking and can work out solutions quickly, taking every outcome into consideration to come to the right decision. This alongside empathy and great determination is a hugely important part of Equi.
Rosie – Alice truly is the most amazing nutritional therapist, so well regarded in the industry and by her clients; she has a wait list of over a year which kind of says it all. The products she has created with Equi make such a positive difference to our customers that I’ve been brought to tears on many an occasion reading thankful testimonials. She is meticulous in her formulations; each and every ingredient is rigorously researched and specific suppliers chosen for quality, purity and efficacy – I’m yet to see another product on the market that comes close to the quality of our supplements and that’s all down to her.
Beyond her nutritional expertise, Alice is driven, passionate and supportive…and what could be better than building an exciting brand with one of your closest friends?!
What are the best decisions that you have made in your careers thus far? What are the worst?
Alice – apart from obviously starting Equi, it was to actually become a nutritionist. After my first degree I was so ready to start work and get into the big wide world, but I decided to wait and begin another degree so that I could have the best qualification possible. It was a big decision and not always easy, but it really paid off, especially in a world where proper training and knowledge is absolutely essential.
Rosie – the decision to leave my banking job was a big one and I feel it’s definitely been the best one I could have made. I’d put everything into my career in the City but as I progressed up the corporate ladder, I realised that the lifestyle wouldn’t work for me in the future. It wasn’t so much the job as I really enjoyed that, but I wanted to work for myself and drive my own schedule…and balance it with the family that I was planning with my husband. The idea for Equi came about organically, but did so at a time where I could have carried on working for a few more years, but I made the decision to quit and go for it. Now with 2 young children and the ability to drive my own schedule, I’m very happy. Working for yourself means it’s almost impossible to step away and that you never truly take any time off… which can be stressful in itself, but I feel very grateful for my set-up!
In what areas do you want to see women progress in 2020?
We would say that women supporting each other is an area that all women would benefit hugely from. Gossip websites have always been present, but and the rise of social media has in some cases led to bullying, competition and bitchiness on another level.
What this really comes down to is learning to understand ourselves, and strengthening the relationship we have with own emotions, whilst understanding our foibles and weak spots. Not only does this encourage us to manage our occasional jealously and resentment we may feel towards others, but also to learn how to support, nourish and lift others up. Fostering better relationships with our girlfriends helps us lift each other up on a bigger scale.
It is worth mentioning that we totally acknowledge that social media is not just a negative space, indeed is already a platform to encourage supporting other women. Hopefully more of this will help women progress further.
What’s your advice to women trying to make an impact in their career?
There are so many things we have learnt along our journey so far but some of the following come to mind:
- Prioritise effectively – Ask yourself whether each task is really what you need to be doing – we can get so bogged down with the minutia that we sometimes forget the bigger picture.
- Learn how to say no! We just can’t do it all, and we certainly can’t do it all well, so you need to accept that you’re probably going to need to sacrifice something – just remember it won’t be forever.
- You’ve heard it before but keep a list by your bed so that if something comes to you in the night you can note it down and not forget it!
- Make sure you have your to do list to hand at all times – we love Evernote or Minimal List and we can share them so we are both on track.
- Stop working post 8pm and take time to wind down for bed – easier said than done but a better sleep is always guaranteed and we all function after a good night’s rest.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I think in this current phase of ‘feminisim’, we’re in a tricky stage. Women before us were only expected to run the home, mother their children and be happy with that. The feminist movement has driven women’s career exceptions to be inline with mens…and rightly so! However, there hasn’t been a shift in the expectations at home and so what we’re seeing now is woman working like men, but also working as prior generations of women did….we’ve basically doubled our workload and I think on the whole, we’re suffering. I think and hope that the next generation will see a balancing out of woman and men’s role at home and a change in workplace expectation of women – so that they are treated like women and not men. Beyond the obvious maternity and flexible work programs, I think this should also encompass how we perceive talent, which can often be particularly male characteristics. As a society, we also need to encourage men to stay at home more to allow for more equality. As it stands, the equality movement has created more inequality in the amount of work and responsibility women and men adopt within the household unit… but it is a vital step for society so that the next generations can improve.
Which women inspire you the most and why?
There are so many, but right now we are really admiring Audrey Gelman who is an American entrepreneur. She’s recently raised $94 million for her business The Wing, much of which was arranged whilst she is pregnant. Women the world over are cheering a recent decision by Inc. Magazine to feature her looking visibly pregnant on its cover, and we feel this is rightly challenging the perceived status quo on what working women can achieve even if they also want to start a family.
We are great admirers of Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella) a wellbeing cook and blogger turned entrepreneur. She has taken strong criticism from all angles over the years but always stays true to herself, her beliefs and never compromises for short term fame or gain. Her social media is an honest, kind and refreshing account of her business which she gives her life and soul to, as well as her life as a new working-Mum. We also love her podcast where she covers refreshing, unusual and super-inspiring subjects.
What is your self-care routine?
Our morning routines are a really important part of helping us to stay well on a daily basis and managing the constant juggle of life. We find these keep us inspired and above all balanced, which is so important when running a business.
Rosie: I have a 3 year old daughter who will wake us up at 7am, so mornings are spent playing with her, then getting her ready for nursery, which is sometimes easier than others! Then off to the gym for a work out which is a treasured moment of ‘me time’. I won’t eat before I work out, but will have a hot water with lemon and ginger, or herbal tea whilst I’m getting my daughter ready, then a post work out smoothie which is when I take my daily dose of Equi.
Alice: I used to be one of those people that was on their phone and emails from the moment I woke up, but last year I decided to make a conscious effort to spend a few moment each morning focusing on my goals, or even spending 3 minutes journaling whilst I wait for the kettle to boil. This doesn’t always happen but I always feel so much happier when I manage to find time. also love dipping into a book called The Daily Stoic for inspiration – it’s full of soundbites of wisdom!
I am more of a morning exerciser than afternoon, so try and be active even if it’s just popping out for a walk in Battersea Park. However as I write this, I accept that this is all likely to change very soon, as I am due to give birth to my first child in 2 weeks!