There are many of us who spend years in the corporate world working our way up the proverbial ladder, often wondering if there was more out there. Wendy Griffith was one of these – so when the opportunity came about to run her own business on the side, marketing and selling a brand she truly believed in, she didn’t hesitate to jump in with both feet, finding a careful balance between working for others and being self employed. And she hasn’t looked back. 

Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

As an Independent Consultant for Arbonne, my job is to market and promote the products of Arbonne International.  Arbonne offers premium botanical health and wellness products that are devoid of all the ‘nasties’ you can typically find in a lot of cosmetics, nutrition and skincare products on the market these days. 

Due to our Swiss formulation and Vegan certification, we have an incredibly strict ingredients policy, so we use only the best plant and vegetable based ingredients, enhanced with science to deliver top quality products, but with a very sensible price tag! You won’t find Arbonne on the high street, as we use Network Marketing and the internet as our distribution method (which is essentially cuts out the middlemen costs), so you will only come to know of Arbonne through its network of Independent Consultants. 

My clients love being able to shop online from the comfort of their own homes, being able to purchase pure, safe and beneficial products, and having me on hand to advise on their specific needs, which ensures they get a very individual and personalised service when shopping for their personal care products.

And your target audience? Did you see a particular gap in the market?

The great thing about Arbonne is that because of the extensive product offering of, my target audience is really anyone with the skin and hair (hair is optional!). Our product ranges service every demographic – we have baby products, everyday essentials like toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant, nutrition and supplements, right through to a top rated Anti-ageing system (for men and women). 

Having such a complete offering makes my job a pleasure to do – as no matter who you are, and what you currently use in the way of personal care products and nutrition – there will be a corresponding product that Arbonne offers. 

What makes your offering unique compared to your competitors?

What I love most about the industry of Networking Marketing (which is simply a fancy title for ‘word of mouth referral), is that is it such a level playing field. You don’t need to have a background in business or health and beauty to be successful in Arbonne. You simply need a strong work ethic, a coachable spirit, and a hunger for personal growth and development.

We often say in Arbonne that this business is a Personal Development company disguised as a Health & Wellness company – but that’s because it all starts with you.  Every Arbonne Independent Consultant has an equal opportunity – we all have the same products, same corporate umbrella, and same systems so the only variable is us as individuals.  I firmly believe that your business will only grow to the heights that you are personally developed, and this is true for all aspects of life!

We attract the best calibre of consultant – I honestly believe there is nothing else out there quite like this company and this industry.  This is an efforts-based business. If you are more successful, through your hard work and dedication to your business than others, then this will show up in your cheque, simple as! We are also treated incredibly well by the corporate team and our fellow colleagues – we are regularly offered incredible training events to attend, incentives, gifts and rewards for our hard work.  I have received some beautiful jewellery and gifts because of this business.  My husband loves it, as it saves him a penny! 

How long have you been working as a consultant for Arbonne?

I have been an Independent Consultant for Arbonne for 4 years this month – August is a special month, as I reflect on the decision I made to become my own business owner, and take the road less travelled as an entrepreneur.  It’s humbling to think that only five percent of people will ever venture on their own as an entrepreneur. 

When I started my business 4 years ago, I just had a feeling to my core that this was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to turn down, and I’m so grateful I took a leap of faith!  What this has done for me professionally has spilled over into my personal life – it has made me a more empathetic and well-rounded person… someone I would want to work with, or be friends with!

What makes you so passionate about this business?

I am so passionate about what this business opportunity has done for me personally, and how the products have helped me with my overall health and wellness – and so I love being able to share Arbonne with those I know and love, and also those I have met along the way on this journey.

I always knew I wanted to do something purposeful with my life, but I just didn’t know what that would look like or how.  For years I struggled with ‘my calling’ and ‘purpose’, as I wanted what I did for a living (something we spend so much time working on) to stand for something – to be able to leave a legacy.

Today, I am so passionate about coaching and mentoring others to build their lifestyles by design, and to achieve success – whatever that may look like for them.  Not everyone wants to build a multi-million Pound business with Arbonne like me, but what I have seen these past 4 years is that being an Independent Consultant with Arbonne could simply mean for one person that the personal growth and development as a person through the training and development in this business, is the vehicle for them to then go on to realise their true joy and passion in life (whatever that may be), and achieve what they want to.  Being able to watch this journey in others, and experience this for myself, has motivated me every day to grow my business – this is the passion that drives me every day!

Tell us a bit more about your personal background and how you came from studying or working for someone else to running your own business?

My background is in Corporate in Marketing for the IT sector.  Having studied Organisational Psychology and Marketing, I started my career as a sales and marketing administrator, working my way up through the ranks to Marketing Manager level.  In recent years I worked as a Partner Development Manager where my job was to train and enable my company’s partners to sell more of my company’s software as a service.

I have always been a perfectionist and had a strong drive to achieve in life, however I found that I became increasingly frustrated in a corporate structure with politics, colleagues and sadly bosses that didn’t share the same drive and initiative that I did.  My husband and I joke with people that I have to work for myself, because I’m not good at taking orders from other people! This is partly true.  However, I have always been a self-starter with an insane work ethic, and these key qualities were best suited I felt to that of being an entrepreneur, and shaping my own path in life.

And your childhood and family background? Were there any entrepreneurs there who possibly influenced you to go down this path yourself?

I grew up in a very ‘normal’ middle class background – my mom was a trained nurse, who worked as a Medical Sales Representative, and my dad was a Financial Advisor, working for one of the main banks in South Africa.  My dad later went on to set up on his own, and has been running his business for the past 20 years. My mom has recently semi-retired, and now runs a successful B&B in the beautiful Midlands, in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa with my step-dad. 

My paternal grandparents came from a difficult and poor background and my nana had to leave school at 15 so she could work and help support the family.  As a result, she placed a huge importance on education, as did my dad, so this was a big driver in our family from an early age – that I would do well in school and that this would ultimately lead to my success in life.  I now have a passion for learning and educating myself in all sorts of things! My maternal grandparents had a huge impact on my life – I was very close to them.  My grandfather was a doctor and a highly respected member of the community.  My grandmother lived to serve others, and was involved in countless charitable endeavours. 

I definitely had an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. I once constructed a “restaurant” in my garage, and got my mom to make pizza that I could then sell to all the neighbourhood kids! I then saw an opportunity during the school holidays to open a “school” for all the younger kids on summer holidays.  I roped in my best friend, and we set up a classroom in my garage where we looked after and taught the kids – I even roped in another friend, who became the PE teacher!  We charged R1 a day (about 5p), and to this day people remember this little business of mine – I will never live it down.  Mostly because I was a very strict teacher, so all the kids wanted to be in my best friend Kathryn’s class! Later on I spotted an opportunity at high school where we didn’t have a tuck shop but had many hungry boarders, so I set up a tuck shop selling all sorts of snacks and sweets out of my locker to make extra pocket money! It was very successful, so much so that others started copying me and doing the same thing! Being an entrepreneur was definitely in my blood from a young age!

Can you remember any particular event that sparked you to start your own venture?

I’d always wanted to run my own business one day – I just didn’t know what that would look like as I didn’t have a “million dollar” idea and every time I thought I did. Arbonne came into my life at the right time, when I was just about to turn 29.  I was feeling dissatisfied with the ‘corporate grind’ and hamster wheel that I was on.  As much as I was succeeding at work, it just felt to me that the only way to earn and achieve more money for my efforts was to take on more and more responsibility, and spend more and more hours working. I just felt that there had to be more to life than working a 60+ hour week.

I’d always loved the saying that “if you do something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life”, and it got me thinking about the things that were important to me.  I worked with a very gifted careers coach, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, to determine what those things were for me, and it was when I was looking at my list I realised that the things I valued so highly did not include marrying to my current life and career – I finally realised why I was feeling dissatisfied with my career and that’s when I knew I had to make a serious life change!

Do you have a business partner or do you work entirely on your own?

With Arbonne, I am my own Independent Consultant so I work independently – however, the nature of Network Marketing is that you build your own team of like-minded individuals and business partners to work with.  It’s brilliant, as I’ve basically got to pick the board of directors of my own company – how many people can say that they get to work with their friends, their family, or brilliant people they meet along the way?

startup_Arbonne team

I have an incredible team of men and women that I partner with in my business, who come from all sorts of backgrounds – including ex-corporates, stay at home moms, photographers, osteopaths, beauticians and personal trainers – you name it, we have it in our team! I am so deeply grateful for the incredible people I get to work with.  I have made lifelong friends from this business, and we have the most fun together! The best bit about this business is that we have a culture of helping one another – there is no ‘elbows out’ competition that you find in a typical organisational hierarchy.  I also operate my business in other countries, as I operate my business online where Arbonne has a presence (US, Canada, Australia, Poland and next year we are launching in to Taiwan), so I also get to work with all sorts of lovely people internationally.

What I love about Network Marketing is that it’s not only about who you know, but who they know! Due to word of mouth, and the good relationship I have fostered with my customers, they will recommend me to their friends and family, so I will often have sales in my business that come from people I have never met who live on the other side of the world, because their friend told them how great Arbonne’s products were, so they’ve gone onto my Arbonne website and purchased products from me.

Tell us about what you consider the most exciting or inspirational moment to date – in running your business or even life in general?

Throughout my career I have met some incredible people but one of the highlights would have to be working with and meeting many top sportsmen, through my years of organising corporate events for my company.  It was always so interesting listening to them speak about their work ethic and the discipline it took to be top achievers in their field.  I think my dad’s highlight has to be my meeting of (footballer) Peter Shilton, and having the opportunity to ask about him about the infamous ‘Hand of God’ incident.  My dad was thrilled that I got him a signed shirt from Peter.  The overreaching thing I took from meeting all these sporting greats, was that they were simply normal people, doing extraordinary things through discipline and sheer determination. 

And the toughest moment?

One of the toughest moments of my life without a shadow of a doubt, was the loss of my dear friend Cara Hosken twelve years ago. Cara was killed in a hijacking incident, back in my home town.  You can only imagine the press coverage of such an event, and so the way I learned of her death was on the front page of the morning paper the next day. I was devastated.  Cara was such a life force – we’d performed together in school plays, danced at school discos, bickered over boyfriends, tried to set our (divorced) parents up, you name it.

I believe what this experience taught me (as clichéd as it may sound), is that life is such a gift – and you just never know when this might be taken from you.

I’ve also had many “weird” moments in my life – things that you may think are a coincidence, but then again I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in the Law of Attraction!

6 years ago, I was convinced that in order to help other people I had to work for a charity, which we know may not necessarily pay as well as we’d like – and I wanted the remuneration to be able to support my family and household… so I spoke to many people who worked for charities, I even considered re-training as a teacher.  I had done enough personality testing due to my background in psychology to know that my talents were in engaging with people, helping others and teaching.

When Arbonne and Network Marketing came into my life, it felt too good to be true! After hearing all about it, I went home and excitedly tried to explain what I’d learned to my husband (very badly I might add), who thought I’d gone mad and that I was about to sign my life away.  Thankfully I had the good sense to have someone experienced and successful in this business explain it to him and when they’d finished my husband turned to me and simply said “yes, you’re doing this – this is perfect for you!” I’m also in awe of the many 18-25 year olds starting this type of business at such a young age – they are setting themselves up for life, and building this businesses around grad jobs or going to university. How smart!

Where would you like yourself to be in the next couple of years?

My 3 year plan for my business is to have reached the level of National Vice-President in Arbonne (which is the top of 4 levels we have in this business – I am currently at level 2).  The levels in Arbonne are simply an indication of the total turnover of your business.  It’s more than just a title for me, but it’s about how many lives I will have been able to change in the process.  At this level in my business, I will have retired my husband (who will then be able to pursue his own goals and dreams in life), and helped so many in the process.

My desire for my business has always been to have something that could support my family financially, and give me the freedom and flexibility to be able to travel between the UK and my beloved home country of South Africa, on a regular basis.

However my hugest goal is to use the financial rewards of my business to support those less fortunate than myself in my home county of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A few years back I had a vision that one day I would have a charity and orphanage supporting orphans of HIV in South Africa – a disease that has ravaged the lives of so many.  This ultimate goal is what fuels me every day, and puts fire in my belly! When your dreams are bigger than you, you just don’t sweat the small stuff!

And finally for someone starting their own business, what bit of advice would you offer them?

My top advice I can offer in business and in life would have to be:

Excellence – we may not always achieve excellence, but make that commitment to being excellent in whatever we do in our lives and our businesses (even in the simple daily tasks), and commit to getting that bit better every day.  Practicing the routine of excellence will help elevate you and your business!

Gratitude – this has been a game changer for me.  Every day I practice gratitude by noting down in my journal five things that I am grateful for.  It could be as simple as a warm bed, or hot shower.  From gratitude flows abundance, and this can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned.  Even if things go wrong, being grateful for the opportunity to learn from these things will help you in your business.  A grateful heart is a happy heart.

Action – I think a lot of people feel like they need to know everything about what they plan to do before they actually just go on and do it – not so! Action trumps intention every day of the week!  We have to get moving in our businesses, and not wait until everything is perfect before we start.  There will never be a perfect time, or a time when we don’t feel fear of the unknown.  We need to get out there, gain momentum and cut our teeth, even on the failures.  A great book I’ve read on this is “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. 

Personal Growth – one key thing I’ve learned from top leaders in my organisation, and from studying the business greats of our time, is that they spend more time learning and developing themselves as people than anything else! A top leader in Arbonne once told me “You will only grow to the level in your business to which you are developed.”  I found this so inspiring because it means that I can truly do and be anything I want in life, as long as I am always committed to growing as a person.  Knowledge is power – it’s something that no one can ever take away from you! Be an absolute sponge for knowledge – knowledge about you, and knowledge about your profession. Plug in to everything you can get your hands on… read, read, read! After all, leaders are readers!

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