Jess Thomas is the bright spark behind Health Lab, the Australian brand bringing us uncomplicated, natural and delicious snacks. The inspiring business owner joins BODY for our B With Us Live Q&A series. Get to know Jess and follow our Facebook to catch the livestream, 7pm Thursday 10 August.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR HEALTH LAB START?
“It was rather a simple moment to be honest! It was during my earlier days in the corporate world where we had endless meetings, often ate our lunch at our desks and then I would always cave into 3pm sugar binges! One afternoon, I ended up bringing out some home made protein balls at 3pm to share with my rather “hangry” team – and they were a total hit! The concept really ‘rolled’ from there… I was inspired to create actually healthy snacks (that weren’t crammed full of sugars and numbers) for other busy women like myself. Guilt-free Snacks that would help them remain energized, productive and most importantly give them a satisfying alternative for those 3pm cravings! But 3 years ago, there were very few protein balls available on the market and I wanted to create legitimately healthy and natural ones!”
WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS BACKGROUND?
“I started my career off in the world of marketing at L’Oreal and then Retail Zoo. Both of these businesses are incredibly successful, with a marketing centric culture and strong focus on customers. My time in the corporate world was an incredible foundation to build Health Lab on. I believe not really having any traditional “food” industry experience worked to my advantage, as I looked at the space with a fresh perspective and was able to utilize my marketing and commercial background.”
WHAT DOES “HEALTH” MEAN TO YOU?
“For me, “health” means feeling energised, strong, happy, balanced and motivated. I’ve learnt that in order to give the most to my family, business and life – my health must be my first priority. So I try and start every morning with some type of exercise. Often it means I get up at 5am and squeezing it in before my daughter wakes up – but it makes the biggest difference to the rest of my day.”
DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU WANTED TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
“I think I always had a sense that something was missing for me when I was working for other people in the corporate world. I think the concept of running my own business developed over time, but now that I am in it – I know this is definitely what I was meant to be doing. I love the saying, “Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.”
HOW WOULD PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED WITH YOU DESCRIBE YOU?
“Oh (hopefully) they would say I was positive, passionate, driven, creative, persistent and fun!”
WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
“There have been some incredible wins along the Health Lab journey such as stocking on Virgin Airlines, Fitness First, Rebel Sport, Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and David Jones – but I think ultimately growing a business from 0 to 3500 retailers in just over two years is something I’m extremely proud of. “
WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
“Women who are confident, authentic, genuine and living life on their terms.”
HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED?
“I am a big one on goal setting! I think it’s essential to have ambitious goals that help keep you on track when you hit a roadblock or feel unmotivated. Having a clear vision of where you are going and why you ware working so hard helps me move through the tougher times. I also think it’s essential to surround yourself with positive, supportive, driven and like-minded people that keep you inspired when you maybe lacking some lustre!”
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
“Just trust in the journey – everything happens for a reason!”
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR FAVOURITE:
Apps: Besides the obvious ones, I recommend Pocket Book – as I think every babe can become more financially savvy ☺
Podcasts: I love Ted Talks, Foundr and Mamamia – I don’t know how she does it!
Blogs: B Live With Us, Marie Claire Career, Mamamia and JS Health
TV Series: Oh I must admit I still can’t get enough of Friends and Gilmore Girls haha. But I have gotten into House of Cards and Suits ☺
Documentary: That Sugar Film
Books: I just recently read ‘Not Just Lucky’ by Jamila Rizvi which was super empowering, but also #girlboss Sophia Amoruso and anything by Seth Godin