Aside from the quality of our products and the fact that they actually really work, Alice and Rosie's partnership is one of the most important components of Equi. We wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know the girls - their backgrounds, interests, beauty secrets and fave London haunts... and why they believe friends make the best founders.
How and when did you both meet?
We met on the first day of university almost 15 years ago and have been BFFs ever since. In all those years, not more than a couple of days has gone by without us talking in one way or another, and as with all great friends we’ve been at each other’s side through many ups and downs over the years - breakups, bereavements; new jobs, new homes; bad hangovers, and never ending morning sickness (of course not at the same time!) Alice was Rosie's bridesmaid in 2013, and Rosie will return the favour later this year at Alice's wedding (wedding dress shopping has been slotted in-between meetings recently which has been a lovely perk of the job!) We pretty much know each other as well as we know ourselves, often finishing each other's sentences...and our other halves are also great mates!
But even through all of this, neither of us ever expected to go into business together.
When the idea for Equi came about organically in 2015, we really felt we were onto something and knowing we've got the same work ethic, both jumped at the opportunity.
We work brilliantly together - there is a very strong mutual love and respect for one another and luckily our different skill sets naturally define our roles within the company. It's wonderful to be on this amazing journey together and what can be better than hanging out with your best mate for most of the week?!
Rosie, what’s your background?
We went in very different directions after Uni. After studying Economics at Leeds, I went straight into The City, climbing the corporate ladder at leading Investment Banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. I loved my job and thrived off the fast pace, high-pressured environment of the trading floor. My initial job as a trader was heavily analytical and required fast decision making, often based on instinct as financial markets would move so quickly. I then moved into a sales role where I worked for many years. In a highly competitive market, pitching for business and pushing new ideas and strategy definitely kept me on my toes. I was out-and-about all over the city, meeting and pitching to clients; client lunches and dinner were a weekly occurrence and a lovely part of the job… but also quite full-on when you’re at your desk for 6.30am.
My division in the bank was a specialised ‘micro-business’ within the global corporation, which was rebuilding and expanding at the time I joined. I was lucky to witness first-hand the processes and execution of starting and growing a business front-to-back. I always knew that I wanted to start my own business and also wanted to have a baby in the not-too-distant future, so decided to resign and make the two work together. The plan was to get Equi off the ground in time for having my baby when things would hopefully be a little more relaxed, but it worked out that my daughter arrived in the November, our first batch of products in the December and we were pitching to press and retailers in the Jan…which as any new Mum will attest to is absolute madness! But we just went with it and came out the other side in one piece… maybe with a few grey hairs!
Alice, what’s your background?
From a young age I had always wanted to study medicine, however as it got closer and closer to the start of my course at Leeds, there was a part of me that wasn’t sure it was right for me. I loved the concept of preventative medicine over simply ‘treating with drugs’ or managing symptoms. It wasn't an easy decision, but I followed my instincts and decided to studied Biomedical Sciences instead. Throughout university I began to discover a passion for nutrition - the idea that I could help people improve their health through diet got me so excited that I decided to embark on a second degree in Nutritional Therapy.
It was really important to me that I did a proper degree and got into the science and nitty gritty rather than doing a diploma or online course, and I was lucky enough to go to one of the best colleges for nutrition in the world. I studied for 7 years in the end, by which point I probably could have been a doctor! It was a long slog but looking back I know I made the right choice.
What do you help people with in your clinic?I opened up my clinic on Harley Street initially and was there for 5 years, but I am now based in Chelsea. I specialise with skin but also work with lots of people suffering with digestive problems, immune issues, low energy, hormonal imbalances and beyond. Though diet is always first and foremost in my approach, supplements also have their place for some people, and when done properly they can help improve outcomes, especially for busy, stressed out people who have can deficiencies.
People come from all walks of life but almost every one seems to be super busy – whether it’s with work, children, family or travel. Though everyone is different there is a lot of commonality in symptoms we experience when we push the body to its limits. Energy is often first to go, along with sleep disturbances, hormonal trouble and digestive concerns. It very much depends on the person and their own set of unique circumstances as to the main issue, but often it is the same underlying systems that are out of balance and need support.
It does amaze me what we put up with these days - it’s considered normal and acceptable to have big energy dips, terrible PMS each month, be bloated or have spot prone skin… though these are not life threatening issues, they are signs that something isn’t working properly and if left unchecked, more serious issues can develop. The good news is that nutrition can do much to help fine tune and rebalance. Diet is key to this but good quality supplements can speed up the process and really target things that need to be supported. We are used to having immediate results with medication, and my clients want quick results. Though there is never a magic bullet, supplements can make the process easier and also work for those who aren’t always able to eat well all the time. Though the body is sensitive, if you get the protocol right then resilience returns and makes you stronger.
Tell us how Equi was born?
We have both always been into health and wellbeing – at uni we were often to be found gyming, doing yoga and eating what we thought was a good diet (turns out a tonne of granola isn’t actually that good for you!) as well as working out on the dance floor… !
The idea came about after Rosie went to see Alice to focus on sorting her skin out. Like so many other women this had massively flared up after Rosie 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 tidying her diet up Alice suggested a range of supplements that not only cleared her skin up but 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....and her skin completely cleared up and had a wonderful glow.
The supplements Alice had given Rosie to take were only available through practitioners or specialist websites, were unbranded and sold in single forms - so you needed to have gone to see and experts to know what to take. We quickly realised that there was a real need for readily available supplements that actually work and make a real difference to how you look and feel.
Supplements get a lot of bad press for being ineffective and we tend to agree with this - most of the readily available products don’t give any noticeable changes. Though there were some good products on the market, that wasn’t anything that was as comprehensive as what we knew was needed to make a difference, that had also been formulated for real people living busy city lifestyles. It was also essential to us to use the absolute best quality ingredients and cut all fillers, binders, chemicals and unnatural nasties.
How does your partnership set you apart?
Our customers are discerning, just as we are when buying any new products - they want to know that the people behind the brand are genuine and believe in their products wholeheartedly. We would never compromise the quality of our products and are passionate about only choosing the best suppliers to work with. Formulating the products took years of tireless research, and we would do it again many times over to get the results for our customers.
It’s also really important to us that we have a registered nutritionist as a founder of the brand, and so many nutrition companies sideline this, or bring in outside help which in our experience is never as powerful.
Five things you cannot live without?
Chocolate - we get through a lot of it on a weekly basis in the office (though Alice always makes sure it’s dark!)
Comfy, butt lifting leggings (sometimes they make it to the gym, sometimes not…)
A trusted eyebrow pencil.
Rosie – I can think of many things, but these days it’s probably Peppa Pig.. other Mums may relate to this!
Alice – this sounds so silly, but I used to live in China one of the things I missed the most was a good supermarket where I can pick up good quality products to cook at home. I love cooking and recipe creation so just can’t live without this!
What are your favourite things about London?
London ticks all the boxes; fashion, food, history, nightlife, creativity, culture, enterprise and commerce. There is always something going on and the city is enormously dynamic and diverse, yet it remains quintessentially British.
You can get what you want from London – though you can live in the fast lane, we find it’s energy is never too draining. The greenery, parks, architecture and history all contribute to this, as does the fact that you can be in the countryside in under an hour. We’re both based in SW London and love our local shops, fitness studios and cafes, but also love the fact we can jump on the tube and be in a totally different world within minutes.
Being a London based, British company is an important part of our identity. Equi is born and bred in the UK and when we created the brand, we wanted it to be about style and substance, like our home city!