I founded Shop Naturally in April 2009 with a carton of fabric softener and a bookshelf in the spare bedroom of a rental property I was living in with my husband and 2 dogs. It was only ever meant to be a part time business. At the time, I was a professional web designer. In a short space of time, my little shop took on a life of its own (thanks to the emerging news of the dangers of bpa in baby bottles and water bottles) and has since grown in to a multi-million dollar business with a team of staff in a warehouse dedicated to processing all orders and customer support in house. We remain a privately owned family business to this day.
Joanne's own health journey and dedication to full transparency and honestly in the business has seen Shop Naturally feature in countless mainstream media publications and featured in season 4 of Foxtel business show Industry Leaders (view the episode below).
WHY SHOP NATURALLY?
In 1994, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At the time, the press enjoyed calling it the Yuppie Flu and most people thought it was all in my head. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is the name the doctors give you when they can't figure out what's wrong with you. So I was sent home with 3 months off work, no real diagnosis or treatment other than 'to rest'.
It took 3 and a half years of deterioration, malnutrition, severe fatigue, joint and muscle pain, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and a doctor attached to the CFS Research Team at Newcastle University to give me a proper diagnosis. By this time, I was so weak that I was house bound, mostly bed bound and when I showered, I had to hang on to the walls to walk to the bathroom and sit on a plastic stool and let my mother wash my hair because I didn't have the strength or the stamina to lift my arms above my head.
My official diagnosis changed to suffering from a rare bacterial infection called Rickettsia. The treatment? Long and heavy courses of anti-biotics for over 12 months and the promise that I was going to feel a lot worse before I got better. The promise delivered - it was terrible, and left a legacy, but kicked the Rickettsia to the kerb !!
The road to recovery was a long one, and done with the assistance of doctors and a team of natural health professionals including a naturopath, chiropractor and massage therapist. A part of this recovery was to reduce the load and strain on my body as much as possible. When you really stop and look at the chemicals you're exposed to every day, it's a little alarming. When your health is already compromised, it's frightening and dangerous.
Thus began the journey of me researching and then changing every product in my home. From the kitchen to the laundry and the bathroom, any consumable product in the house was changed to something natural that I didn't react to. Toothpaste, soap, laundry liquid, fabric softener (our first product), moisturiser, dishwashing liquid, and the list goes on and on.
We're not just moving boxes of stuff here at Shop Naturally. This is how I live my life every day. When I reduce the chemical load on my body, I feel a lot better. I have more energy, my skin feels great and my overall health and wellbeing is changed for the better.
INDUSTRY LEADERS TV FEATURE
Joanne and Shop Naturally were hand selected by Foxtel's Industry Leaders in 2017 as a featured business in Season 4 of the popular show. Here, Joanne tells the store of her own health journey and a little about the business.