Sunshine Coast mum’s $1.3m idea No Nasties Kids makeup booms in lockdown

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A Sunshine Coast mum never could have imagined that suffering from 43 allergies would one day lead to her becoming a millionaire.

A Sunshine Coast mum never could have imagined that suffering from 43 allergies would one day lead to her becoming a millionaire.

Natalia Michael, 38, came up with a lucrative business idea out of desperation after being hospitalised on multiple occasions for her severe allergic reactions.

The Queensland woman created ‘No Nasties’, a makeup brand for kids consisting of all natural ingredients that was “catapulted” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year sales were up by 30 per cent and she made just under $1 million, sitting at $985,000.

This year, due to ongoing lockdowns, sales have risen by even more and she’s on track to make $1.3 million.

“When Covid first hit we saw a little bit of decline,” Ms Michael said.

“As that month went on, we found that as parents were locked indoors with children, it became apparent that they needed things to keep their kids entertained.”

No Nasties is now going gangbusters, in 26 different countries with 600 stores across Australia and Ms Michael has five people working for her including her husband.

Two months ago, they went from working out of their two-car garage to moving into a warehouse at Coolum Beach, near Noosa.

Ms Michael has always been plagued by her allergies.

“At age 29 my body fell apart,” she recalled. “I got so many tests, I thought I was dying.”

She is allergic to basically every kitchen staple and even grass.

Although the allergies don’t cause an anaphylactic attack, they can still be life-threatening.

“What will happen to me, is if I eat say gluten throughout the day, I get asthma, I can’t breathe,” she said.

“And eczema — a rash all over my body. I’ve been hospitalised for both.”

Ms Michael had to carefully monitor what she ate and started to notice what was in the products she used — such as makeup.

Just after she had her second child, she was made redundant from her corporate job.

“In that moment I decided to do something but I didn’t know what.”

Her eldest daughter, Lorena, had just turned six back in 2015 when the idea became obvious.

“She was gifted this play makeup set,” the mum-of-two said.

“It had synthetic colours, it had aluminium. I had to take it off her, she couldn’t play with that.

“I had to bribe her with my makeup.”

However, Ms Michael’s all-natural makeup was “really expensive” so she decided to create her own for her daughter in their kitchen.

Soon lots of friends were asking for the homemade cosmetics and she was doling it out in ziplock bags.

That was when she decided it was time to turn it into a bona fide business.

Ms Michael got No Nasties of the ground using her redundancy payout of $35,000.

She spent a year creating the right formula, conferring with chemists to get it just right.

In 2016, she launched the brand, targeting girls aged between four and nine years old.

“For the first year I did everything on my own – packing the orders, physically making the products, handling all the purchasing, all the social media, all the book keeping, all the cold calling, all the sales, the website, everything,” she said.

“I was the beginning and the end.”

Ms Michael said she was working seven days a week as a coping mechanism for her very sick baby, Ivy, who was crying “24/7”.

“I was beyond reprieve, mentally I was completely drained and exhausted,” she said.

“I was left at home with this screaming baby all day.”

Things got better after doctors got to the bottom of the problem with Ivy. The little girl had inherited her mum’s genes and had a severe dairy allergy.

During that first year, No Nasties made a whopping $129,000 in sales.

“I didn’t take a cent from the business for three years,” Ms Michael said.

“To get the economy of scale, you need to purchase more. Every time there’s money coming in, you have to order more stock.”

The family of four lived off her husband’s wage, which was in the “early six figures”, to pay for their two kids, their mortgage and other living expenses.

In November last year, her husband quit his corporate job to come and work for the business.

He came as a helping hand just in time, with the business rising once again in 2021 thanks to constant Covid-19 lockdowns.

“The business just kept growing, Covid hit and the business just got catapulted,” Ms Michael said.

“We have a lot of people saying they can’t visit their niece, their daughter (because of lockdown) and they’re wanting to send a gift still.”

From June, July and August this year — while both Sydney and Melbourne were in the throes of a lockdown onset by the delta strain of the virus — No Nasties sales have increased by 80 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2020.

Originally from southern Sydney, the Michael family decided to move to Noosa in 2018 for a lifestyle change.

They used their two car garages and a storage unit to house their stock, but 10 weeks ago moved to a proper warehouse.

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