Marie Jenkins, Founder of Kosmea Australia pioneered Rose Hip Oil in Australia. She went from single, unemployed mum to millionaire because she followed her passion for skincare and helping others. Today, her company has international success and thrives with the help of her three children.
Leaders in Heels: What was your inspiration to start Kosmea?
Marie Jenkins: I was a stay-at-home mum with three young children when I first got the idea, back in 1993, to launch my own skin care business. I’ve always had a passion for natural skin care and mixing up my own concoctions using ingredients like avocado, yoghurt and herbs – being of Greek origin, my mother had always taught us the natural way whether it was with food, medicine or skin care. One day, I was mixing up a mask recipe that called for rose hips, so I headed to a local rose farm in Willunga, SA, and asked them if I could pick some of their rose hips. They gladly obliged and handed me an article about the healing and nourishing qualities of rose hips and rose hip oil – how it was being used in hospitals for healing burns and scar tissue.
Leaders in Heels: What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome?
Marie Jenkins: Deciding what packaging to use for our products was a huge challenge. It’s extremely difficult to find a packaging manufacturer here – they’ve all moved offshore. Unless you’re making a beer or a wine, you have no choice but to outsource. So we import most of our packaging.
Leaders in Heels: What was the proudest moment in your career?
Marie Jenkins: At Kosmea, we’re known for pioneering rare, undiscovered ingredients. I recently read an article about how cosmetic scientists are continually on the hunt for “pioneer plants” – hardy varieties that grow wild in challenging conditions without the aid of pesticides or fertilisers – because of their superior phytochemical value. I feel very privileged and honoured that I was 20 years ahead of my time in promoting a pioneer plant. For me, that’s a big breakthrough.
Our biggest highlight was finding a new supply of rose hips in Lesotho in 2002. It fits perfectly with our ethics and our beliefs in giving back to the community and providing the highest quality of rose hips in the world.
Leaders in Heels: If you were to give only one piece of advice to a woman starting her business what would that be?
Always follow your gut feeling, have passion in all that you put your hand to and don’t take yourself too seriously – keep the fun alive in all areas of your life.
Leaders in Heels: What is your favourite Kosmea product you can’t live without?
Marie Jenkins: My three picks of the best Kosmea products are Certified Organic Skin Clinic Rose Hip Oil, Purifying Cream Cleanser and Replenishing Moisture Cream.
Leaders in Heels: Where can you see yourself in 20 years?
Marie Jenkins: My goal is to be retired and in a volunteering role to do with the environment or helping underprivileged children.
To find out more about Kosmea visit: www.kosmea.com