The Beauty Chef's Carla Oates on the Importance of Inner Beauty
It's taken Carla Oates some serious guts to launch her range of pioneering products and establish a global brand.
January 11, 2024
in partnership with
With so many beauty products floating around, it's hard to know if your current ten- (or one-) step skincare routine is making any kind of difference. It might seem obvious, but Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, recommends starting with what's on the inside — with products that work on improving your gut and skin microbiome.
The Beauty Chef first saw success with its GLOW®️ Inner Beauty Essential: a probiotic supernutrient powder that features powerhouse ingredients such as vitamin C, biotin, niacinamide, prebiotics and zinc to give your skin a serious glow-up, while supporting healthy hair, nails, digestion and energy. The entrepreneur has since spent the past 15 years creating a line of innovative inner beauty products for skin, gut and whole-body wellness that are now sold at David Jones, MECCA and Sephora — as well as beloved by people across the globe.
In partnership with Klaviyo, we caught up with Oates to uncover her path into the industry, her advice for fellow entrepreneurs and the importance of listening to your gut.
How did The Beauty Chef come about?
As a child, I suffered from eczema and allergies. My mum took me to see a naturopath who dramatically changed what I ate, removing processed foods and allergens like gluten and dairy. My allergies and eczema subsided, so I experienced firsthand that what we eat can affect our skin and health.
My daughter also experiences eczema and allergies. With the assistance of health professionals, we removed specific trigger foods from her diet, and I began researching the link between gut and skin health. As I explored this link more closely, I decided to put my family on a gut-healing protocol, which included eliminating certain foods and introducing lots of lacto-fermented whole foods with beneficial bacteria into our diet. Friends and family took notice and I realised I was onto something.
Why focus specifically on inner beauty?
Inner beauty is so important. When people start to delve deeper into understanding what makes skin healthy, it's not so much about what they're putting on their skin but how they're nourishing it from within.
I focus on inner beauty because so many benefit from it. I've spoken to people who have tried all sorts of concoctions to remedy their skin on the outside, but it's only once they look to support their skin and health from the inside that results become abundantly clear.
Can you break down the gut-skin connection for us in simple terms?
The simplest way is to use the analogy of our gut as a garden. If the soil in the garden isn't healthy, balanced and thriving with a good array of nutrients and bacteria, then the plants that grow within its soil will struggle to blossom.
The gut is where 70 percent of our immune system lies. It's where we make nutrients, regulate hormones, detoxify enzymes, neutralise pathogens and make neurotransmitters, so it's super important to get your digestive health in check.
For someone just discovering The Beauty Chef, where should they start?
GLOW®️ Inner Beauty Essential or GLOW AGELESS™ Inner Beauty Essential are five-star probiotic supernutrient formulas that promote healthy glowing skin, hair and nails, energy and gut health. From there, you can target any other specific skin, gut health or wellbeing concerns with products from the rest of our range — all our products are designed to work together for enhanced results.
What challenges did you have to overcome as a woman establishing her own business?
When I launched in 2009, ingestible beauty was a foreign concept. Pioneering the category wasn't easy because retailers didn't have a category for it. One of the hardest things was convincing manufacturers to support our low volumes. I had to find my CEO voice and seriously hustle to help them see my vision and understand the product.
In the beginning, I was wearing every single hat, from product development to marketing and even HR. Now, we have 30 full-time staff at our head office. A key learning for me has been understanding and accepting that I can't be and do everything all the time. And, as the business expands, it's imperative to support that growth with leaders who are specialists in what they do.
Networking with other female founders is also very important for me, both professionally and personally. No matter how different our businesses may be, we face similar challenges. When you connect, you can relate to each other and share learnings.
How has Klaviyo helped your business?
Klaviyo email and SMS have helped The Beauty Chef streamline our communications with our customers. We now have one central platform for key communications to our customers and can effectively personalise and segment to ensure long-term retention.
Do you have any advice for other budding entrepreneurs?
Do what you love because success requires hard work, so you might as well spend the hard work doing something you wholeheartedly enjoy. Plus, you are bound to be more successful doing something you have fire, passion and drive for.
Try not to get caught up in trends and make sure you're creating products that serve a purpose and provide a solution that is unique. And be gutsy and follow your gut instinct.
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