Melissa Carter is a true entrepreneur – juggling motherhood and a full-time job, she’s still managed to create her own range of wonderful, natural health and skincare products, called Everday Essentials by Melissa. Melissa is constantly coming up with ideas to create new products that are chemical-free and reduce waste …
Hi Melissa. What’s your association with the Port Macquarie area; are you a long term local?
We moved to Port Macquarie when I was seven, so I grew up and went to school here. I moved away when I was 24 and came back two years ago, having spent 10 years in Melbourne and two years in London.
How did your interest in essential oils and natural skincare products develop?
I worked in a day spa for a few years as a massage therapist, so this is where my interest started. The products we used were relatively natural and we used lots of essential oils; however, as with a lot of commercial products, they still had lots of chemicals in them.
I learnt a lot about skincare during my time there and just wanted a product that was natural and had no chemicals in them. Essential oils have so many benefits aside from skincare, that I started using them in lots of ways.
Why did you decide to create your own line of products, called Everyday Essentials by Melissa?
It started simply because I wanted to reduce the amount of chemicals and waste in our day to day lives. There is so much we can make ourselves with simple, natural ingredients that are so beneficial to us and the environment.
Once I started making things for myself, I started giving them to friends and family and they loved them too, so the next step of creating Everyday Essentials by Melissa came naturally.
What have been the biggest challenges for you in establishing your own business?
Definitely time. I have two small children and work full-time, so finding time to make products, create new ones and advertise is hard. I love getting in and experimenting with new products; however, if the kids are home when I try to do this, it often turns into a messy disaster.
Also, getting the products out there can be hard. The only platform I have now is Facebook and The Foreshore Markets, so if I don’t upload posts regularly or miss the markets for any reason, it can be hard for people to know about the products. One good thing is once someone tries the products, they usually come back for more – which is just fantastic.
What are some of your best-selling products?
The magnesium range of products have been best sellers. Magnesium oil has to be the best seller, closely followed by magnesium lotion, then the bath salts and foot soak. There are so many benefits to magnesium; lots of people are becoming aware of them and actively search for these products. There really is a magnesium product for everyone in the range.
The essential oil blends are wonderful, and there are quite a few to choose from. Some have practical uses, and some are more aromatherapy based.
The skincare range covers you from head to toe, with all over body balms, body scrubs and face care, which all smell amazing and leave your skin feeling fabulous.
I have recently added a jewellery line to the range, which has had a lot of interest. You can use the jewellery to add essential oils to, so you can smell them throughout the day and feel the benefits of them and smell great at the same time, without having to apply them to your skin.
Tell us a bit about the ingredients you use in your products and where you source them.
Most of the ingredients are sourced within Australia, with many coming from small independent suppliers who have the same love of natural, chemical free products. All my ingredients are natural, and my essential oils are 100% pure. Some of my beeswax comes from one of my long-time customers in Port Macquarie who has a bee hive at her house, and she gives me the wax, and my labels are made by a lovely lady in WA.
One of my products is a pouch that holds the essential oil roller bottles, which are hand made by my amazing neighbour, who has her own wonderful business, Bunting & Sew Much More.
What ideas for new products/product ranges do you have in mind?
I really would love to add some cleaning products to the range. I make all my own cleaning products for home and feel this would be a great addition, because the name is Everyday Essentials, and cleaning products are everyday essentials.
I would love to do more eco-friendly, reusable products also. I do make reusable beeswax food wraps, which are fantastic and very popular, but I would like to expand on this with things like reusable tea bags, reusable produce bags etc.
Where is the best place for us to contact you and/or purchase your products?
I am at the Westport Park Foreshore Markets, held every month on the second Saturday, and I also have a Facebook page where you can place orders. I am looking into a website also, so hopefully that will be up and running soon, to make online purchasing easier.
I have recently added a service where you can have your product refilled using the old container, and you will receive a discount. I am trying to reduce waste and thought this is a perfect way for people to get more of their favourite product at a cheaper price and have zero waste. For people based in Port Macquarie, I pick up and drop off, so it’s super convenient also.
One of my biggest achievements so far is The Nature School purchasing Bugs Away Insect Repellent and Hand Wash on a regular basis. It’s so great to have natural products being used by local community groups for our children.
Interview: Jo Robinson.