As pet owners, we have been through every stage of a pet’s; life, the highs, the lows and everything in between. Our mission is to help pets of all kinds be happy and healthy throughout their lives with as few health problems as possible. We talk to Justine Gonshaw about her latest venture.
A freelance Marketing Director with a project drawing media attention.
Justine Gonshaw is a Marketing Director who provides part-time Marketing Director support to businesses. Most of us value routine, and there is nothing wrong with that; however, there is a small minority who never know what tomorrow will bring. Entrepreneurs often enjoy the buzz of taking risks, multitasking and costing their own time whilst realising self-worth.
There were two very different perspectives on the pandemic of 2020; on the one hand, it caused so much pain and suffering on both a personal and professional level, with businesses forced to contend with the effects of lock-downs and reduced cash flow.
On the other hand, it forced people from all walks of life to realise nothing wrong with juggling many income streams. I think there is parody drawn with the growth of the logistics sector and exponential growth of website providers, eBay traders and Amazon sellers.
Stepping away from working in just one industry was a stigma that was once feared by a business community who valued the fact that you should conform to working in just one genre. One person who falls into the latter category is Justine Gonshaw, who is no stranger to multitasking. A mother, a freelance marketing director and a business owner has set her sights on a startup with an ambitious business plan.
Describing herself as someone who searches for challenges in life, We spoke to Justine Gonshaw about her journey, transitioning from corporate life to the realm of self-employment, and how she now maintains a balance between consulting and her brand.
Justine is an award-winning Marketing Director with over 20 years of experience in mainly b2b businesses. She has worked with iconic brands such as PwC, American Express and Unisys. In addition, Justine now provides part-time Marketing Director support to a range of different businesses, from startups to small and medium.
One of her latest projects that she is involved with is the up and coming brand called; Nature’s Moore. Founded earlier this year, it’s gaining social media traction along with media attention. The product is famed for its health benefits to pets, proving popular with pet owners in the UK.
Still providing support to a captive client base, Justine oversees an automated website working tirelessly behind the scenes to supply a unique organic and all-natural supplement to pet lovers and retailers who want to stock this innovative product.
We spoke to Justine about her journey, transitioning from corporate life into the realm of self-employment, and how she now maintains a balance between consulting and running her brand.
New Chapter Same Story
The first chapter in my journey was everything to do with wanting to be a writer or venture out into the world of journalism. I believed that it was plausible to end up in one of those fields for the better part.
I worked as a journalist for a couple of years and had visions of moving into politics (which I later experienced through working with a trade union). At that time, politics was an ever-changing environment, and it never lived up to my expectations. However, experiencing both sectors gave me the experience that I needed to decide whether they would be the path I followed.
I had always enjoyed writing but was frustrated by the editing process and my lack of control over the integrity of the articles that I had written. Nevertheless, I felt very strongly about it and, in essence, persuaded me to pursue writing as a profession.
There was an opportunity to move to Australia, a desire to try and bring a more international dimension to fuse with my degree seemed like a very logical and calculating move to take.
I went for two reasons, I had a relative there and I already met my Australian boyfriend (now husband) in the UK, so there were strong ties. Second, I went with very little money, so I had to find work but in an area of interest.
“I felt brave and built my confidence”.— Justine Gonshaw
It did pay off as I found my way into a marketing role with a real opportunity to make a difference, forming a solid bond with the CEO for a startup. Career progression would see me professionally develop working for some iconic international brands within the financial sector. I had forged out a niche for myself and built a skill base learning from the people around me, gaining skills and experience on the job and learning quickly from my mistakes.
I launched various high profile projects that I can put my name to. I proved myself and was allowed to develop a career in my chosen field. I would undoubtedly tell new talent to seek out opportunities rather than waiting for the opportunity to find you.
“There is a degree of being at the right place at the right time”.— Justine Gonshaw
I spent seven years in Australia working with young and experienced professionals on various projects; my skills in time management, problem-solving and meeting strict deadlines came to fruition.
There was synergy with the move and clicking with my employers, who appreciated my drive, desire to learn and progress quickly. I got involved with every sphere of marketing and learnt on the job. The educational background gave me the knowledge; I fused it all and used it.
“I was not afraid to embrace the challenge of working for myself”.— Justine Gonshaw
Work life balance
At this time, you are consulting and managing your own business. Is that a challenging balance to achieve? Why?
I don’t take on projects that I can’t deliver. It’s a challenge; I also have a frantic family life. However, I am very good at time management and very focused, so I make sure that everything is actioned to my best abilities.
“Every day is different; that’s the best bit”.— Justine Gonshaw
What skills have you relied on to transition into working for yourself?
Administrative tasks need to be actioned, so you have to learn how to prioritise tasks. Having no hierarchic structure means that as a business owner, you have to wear many different hats. If you can’t do something, learn how to do it or get help.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about the move to self-employment?
It’s a great time, don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes, you may surprise yourself. With every economic downturn, there are new shoots.
How do you stay motivated now that you’re the boss?
In the long term, I want to impact animal lives, building something special. It’s really exciting to build a business with my son, who is at Uni at this time. Working together on a project like this one is exciting on so many levels.
If you took a trip back in time and met yourself at the point where you were leaving University, what advice would you give yourself? Why?
I would probably tell myself to follow my dreams and focus on the things and areas of life that I can control.
What is the best thing about working for yourself?
I love the diversity of work; it interests me and helps me to come up with better ideas and more creative ways of achieving results for clients. Working outside of a mundane routine gives you a different perspective and really helps to motivate you.
What is the worst thing about working for yourself?
Endless paperwork and admin, it’s a necessary evil and something that every business owner has to get done. However, to run a successful business, you must make sure that your admin is kept up to date.
Do you think that you work longer hours when you’re freelance?
Yes, you work long hours, but you can turn things around if you manage your time effectively. Of course, it depends on the nature of the project that you are involved with. One of my critical skills is time management, so I ensure that I factor in time for myself.
“Owning your own business is a lifestyle choice”.— Justine Gonshaw
Wearing Different Hats
Of the many hats that you wear, what is your favourite? Why?
I love wearing a creative hat and creating ideas to solve problems uniquely; it motivates me to succeed in business.
Nature’s Moor 100% natural supplement provides your pet with the broadest spectrum of naturally occurring minerals to support their body’s ability to maintain peak health. Similar to honey, another naturally occurring product, our products contain traces of B potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, aluminium, sulphur and titanium, all of which are in an enriched form. These minerals and trace elements support the positive effects of the humic acids, especially in internal absorption. In addition, it’s rich in plant hormones, bio-minerals, trace elements, vitamins, amino and fatty acids.
It’s thoroughly tested across Europe under laboratory conditions and has a history that dates back over fifty years.
Animals in days gone by when they roamed the land found minerals and minerals from nature’s natural offerings found in Peat (mud). There are a lot of Peat bogs in the UK; however, they don’t have the same therapeutic benefits. The moors that we get our product from are located in valleys surrounded by mountains and have the most active range of minerals and vitamins because of their location, and that’s what makes our product so special and unique.
Did the product find you, or did you find the product?
An ex-colleague of mine had been waxing lyrical about the benefits of this product for some time. We’ve kept in contact and worked together since our time in Australia. He’s still involved and supporting us with this project. When our dog had a serious health problem, he suggested that we try it, we did, and I had a lightbulb moment. I love animals and realised that this product could make a significant difference to all pets.
Are you a retailer or a wholesaler?
We offer our products to organic shops. We sell on a wholesale and a retail basis. We are already selling through a number of independent pet stores, and we are also speaking to organic shops as we are a perfect fit for them.
How important is social media to your brand?
Having a presence on social media platforms is very important to a startup. We need to get our message out there, and it increases our reach.
Connecting With Businesses
What type of businesses would you like to connect with?
We would like to hear from organic-based stores, pet stores and Vets. These types of businesses have good synergy with our product.
Do you think that pop-up stores are essential to support a startup like yours? Why?
Pop-up stores are a current trend; it could be something of interest as it offers a high degree of flexibility, which we need. So, yes, it could be of interest.
What does the future for Nature’s Moore look like?
I would love to have a niche and establish ourselves as a leading brand in organic pet supplements. If we can achieve this, we’d like to get more involved in supporting a variety of animal rescue programmes. I’d really like to make a difference.