Lads and Lasses We Love – Moira Barnes

May 3rd 2018, 11:00am

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
My most important role in my life is that of a mother. I have two young children, seven & three years old. Before becoming a mum I spent most of my 20s and 30s building a fantastically exciting career in magazine publishing in London for BBC Worldwide and Hearst UK.

However once I had my daughter my priorities changed. Where it had once been fun to be at the BAFTA awards after party until the following morning or at the latest restaurant opening, funnily enough when you have a little person it was more of a struggle as you want to spend all your free time with them. So five years ago I decided I’d had enough of the crazy work life I’d once enjoyed and we upped sticks and moved to Shotley Bridge where my husband grew up. Throw another baby into the mix and suddenly after being ‘off work’ for 18 months I realised I’d lost a bit of who I was and needed to become Moira again, not just mummy.

Interestingly I found my business while being a mum. I run a not-for-profit mother and toddler group each week and one day a lady came along to show us some aloe-based natural products. My son suffers with eczema, inherited from his dad. She recommended a couple of products for us to try, which we did and they made a huge difference to his skin. I’d also mentioned to the lady about my tiredness and IBS I’d suffered with for many years. This time she recommended I try the Aloe Vera drinking gel she had, which came with a 60-day money back guarantee. What did I have to lose?! That daily shot of aloe, which I have had for nearly two years now, has had a huge impact on my health and life in so many different ways.

Tell us about your business 
The products I recommend to people are from a company with 40 years of experience. The company is Forever Living Products and it’s plantations produce over 60% of the world's commercially grown aloe vera. Our founder discovered the health benefits of drinking the inner leaf gel of the Aloe Barbadensis Miller (aloe vera) plant, something the likes of Cleopatra and Ghandi already knew about. 

Our founder has patented a stabilisation process that uses natural products to preserve the goodness of the plant without the need for heat to pasteurise. No-one else can use this process, so our aloe vera gel is the purest you can buy. We own the whole process from planting, harvesting, preserving, packaging and distributing the products to our consumers. I feel this is so important to know the origination of everything we do. Aside from drinking gels the company also produces personal care products, household products, supplements, weight management products and even pet care products. Over 300 different products are available.

What are the most sparkly bits of what you do?
I love talking to people about aloe. If I can recommend a product to someone that will help them with their health or to live their lives with a more natural and sustainable product, and they feedback to me how well its done for them, I am one very happy aloe advocate!

What are the biggest challenges you face running your business?
I think the biggest challenge is the scepticism surrounding the company I’ve partnered with. A few years ago there was an explosion of new distributors on the market who were out to make a quick buck and didn’t really show the due care and diligence to people they sold to. I hope I’ve managed to change that perception. I love and believe in the superiority of our products and use them myself, as does my family. 

Another challenge for me personally is believing in myself. I’ve come from a very successful career in London and a few years out of that world uprooted myself to a part of the country I didn’t know. That, together with being a stay at home mum, affected my confidence and with that my mental health also suffered. I have to constantly remind myself to look after me first so that I can fulfil all my commitments to my family and my business. It’s an ongoing process!

What have been your biggest achievements and how have you celebrated them?
Getting out there and keeping going. There’s been many times I’ve just wanted to throw the towel in, but the networking I’ve been doing has encouraged me to carry on. So many people within the #dodigital community have become such great business cheerleaders.

What are your goals – for yourself and your business?
For me, my goal is to build my own self confidence and my biggest goal for my business is to help other people discover both the products and the business. 

What is your favourite place in the North East and why?
I’m still new to the area but I am slowly getting to experience the amazing coastline and my favourite place so far is Bamburgh.

Who puts a Sparkle in your eye?!
My two children – they are the reason I get up in the morning. I want my kids to see that hard work will achieve results.

A final Sparkly thought – what tips would you give to busy, hard-working entrepreneurs?
Remember to take time for yourself. The old adage of putting your oxygen mask on first before doing that for others is so important. There’s no point building a business if your not going to be around to enjoy the success.

You can connect with Moira on Twitter and Facebook

Want to feature as a Lass or Lad We Love? Drop us an email.