Get To Know A #Girlboss // Nicola Inger
We all know that not everything goes to plan in life and business, but being able to roll with the punches and come out on top is what makes a #Girlboss who she is. Nicola Inger of The Unrefined is a prime example of this mentality; Driven, down to earth and the ability to get shit done!
Nicola is a entrepreneur who is striving towards greatness with her umbrella brand that is The Unrefined. With a background in business and PR, as well as Health Sciences, she has combined her passions of nutrition and writing to create a health and wellness space that is honest and refreshing. Not to mention the best tasting Granola out!
Legitimately addicted to the stuff.
I sat down over a green juice with this babe and racked her brain completely about how she got to where she is and her advice to others starting out.
How did you come about starting your own brand, and what was the inspiration behind doing so?
The Unrefined originally started as a sugar free/full fat blog which I operated with one of my best friends (former business partner). We came up with the concept after both going 30 days without sugar and experiencing extreme side effects in the first week (nausea, lethargy, headaches, moodiness). We also both had an obsession with granola and when following the no sugar diet we literally couldn't find any granola with less than 5g of sugar per serving…
Out of the blue, a cafe in Brisbane contacted us through instagram and asked us to develop a “healthy” granola recipe to appear on their menu as “The Unrefined Granola”. This prompted the creation of The Unrefined granola (sugar free, full fat granola with less than 3g of unrefined sugars per serving). After a night of experimenting with healthy ingredients, selling it to the cafe the next day and it being a huge success, we decided we would continue on and launch it as a product off our instagram. The year that followed became a massive experiment.
Once our granola took off we began searching for other gaps in the market and listened to what our followers wanted. After posting a number of photos of us in bikinis and countless girls asking where they could purchase our suits, we decided we’d also introduce a one-off swimwear line. It sold out in the first month!
An eBook came next (a lifelong dream of mine!). I had always wanted to write a book and as I am extremely passionate about nutrition, food and hormones, I thought I'd create a book which incorporated all three topics. This also went very well; it is still sold online and is a great form of passive income as the expense of the eBook was made back in sales within the first week of it launching!
What were some of the biggest struggles you faced in starting a brand?
One of the biggest hurdles I encountered during my time establishing The Unrefined was... surprise surprise, a failed business partnership. Towards the end of our partnership I knew my business partner and I had fundamentally different goals. Although we never really fought or had disputes; after a period of time we both had a gut feeling that maybe we weren’t on the same page.
I had always wanted to own my own company but was always scared to go out on my own for fear of what people might think, or for fear of failing. This is the first year I've worked on The Unrefined solo and making the leap from a partnership to solo was by far, one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I liken my business partnership breakdown to a break-up; I lost my appetite and my confidence for a month but eventually time healed everything and the hurdle made me a much stronger person and business woman. We’re also still best friends :D.
How has your brand expanded since then?
In March this year I quit my casual job, became 100% owner of The Unrefined, started a Public Relations and advertising arm of the business and am currently in the process of finalising a manufacturing agreement with one of the biggest nut companies in Australia.
"The Unrefined will now be a place promoting good nutrition, and above all else, a healthy mind and lifestyle. I want people to become more in tune with their mind and body as a whole and realise the connection between their gut and their mind (trust me, they are connected!). The Unrefined also aims to break the fear of fat which seems to be so heavily instilled in society. My blog isn't based around a certain diet; it doesn't promote food restriction or deprivation, it merely promotes a way of eating which satisfies and nourishes the body and aims to curb cravings resulting from excess processed and refined foods."
What advice would you give to other start ups?
PLAN! I’m a big believer in the quote “By failing to plan you plan to fail”. I still refer to my business plan which was written TWO YEARS ago. At the time of writing it I had no idea what products I would launch or how my business would transform from a social media account to a company, but I put goals in place and knew I wanted to be able to quit my job by the end of the year. Looking over my business plan today, I have completed 70% of my goals.
Nicola is so down to earth with a heart of gold. She embodies everything #girlboss and goes out of her way to be honest, open, warm hearted and I am clearly a fan girl.