Let me ask you a question – would you go to any dentist in any town for your routine check-up? Are you happy to go to any hairdresser who has an appointment? The answer will be no! – we do business with those we like know and trust!
As customers we want to know if we can ‘like know and trust’ the companies we buy from so in this series we ask the person behind some of my favourite natural and organic companies to step out into the spotlight
It’s the turn of Peter Harwood from Planet Health
Tell us about yourself and your company?
Tell us about yourself and your company… I’ve always had a passion for fitness, nutrition and natural health. At 54 I still play Premier League Squash, work out most days and have taken twenty Lifestream Spirulina tablets every day for the past 30 years! Outside of the industry, I have a passion for everything Art Deco and Classic Cars. My wife Mandy and I are the Directors and Co-Founders of Planet Health, having started the company in Australia almost 20 years ago, where we are now the market leader for selected premium natural brands. We began to build the business with a passion to only represent premium brands, backed by solid ethics and a philosophy in business that fitted with ours. We need to love the brands, however we also need to really like the people behind them!
How did you get started?
After 10 years at Blackmores in Australia (Australia’s Number 1 brand of food supplements), I resigned from my role as National Sales Manager to start Planet Health, a ‘distribution company like no other’. We prepared our business plan and confidently asked the banks for a loan to get us started. Unfortunately, they all told me to come back in 3 years once the business was established! Mandy and I urgently accumulated what funds we had available, which included the sale of my precious 1961 Jaguar MK 11 (‘Inspector Morse’ style). This was my company car at Blackmores and a gift from them on my departure, but our priority was to raise the funds we needed to buy some initial stock of products and to back our belief in our business plan. We started off sharing a small warehouse with the first brand we distributed, and with subsequent rapid sales growth we quickly moved to our own larger premises and then started hiring team members. The business started with just Mandy (also ex-Blackmores management!) and we now proudly employ over 40 team members.
In 2006 we launched our own Qsilica brand, which has become the market-leading natural ‘beauty from inside & out’ brand in Australia and is now rapidly growing in the UK. Qsilica has won numerous awards including Best Overall Skin Care product at the 2012 FreeFrom Awards in London.
In 2009 we decided to start our UK branch and launch Qsilica along with other existing brands that we agreed to represent in the UK. We initially meant to stay for one year to establish the UK business and then return to Australia, however we quickly grew to love the British and European lifestyle and we are now proud citizens of both the UK and Australia.
What were you doing in a previous life ?
I started studying at University for a degree in Actuary and halfway through my course I realised I was far better suited to a career in sales & marketing. Once I started successfully working in sales, I decided I wanted to sell something I was passionate about and therefore applied for a job in the Natural Health Industry as a Sales Representative. I ended up working at market leaders Blackmores, and as I say, after a successful 10-year career in sales, marketing and senior management, we decided to launch Planet Health.
Why natural / organic / sustainable?
The impact of drugs and chemicals on humans and the environment is huge. The running costs and the state of the NHS are largely the result of poor diets and the reliance on drugs and medication. Whilst medication is often lifesaving for many, there is too much dependence on antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals today. There needs to be more focus on prevention via lifestyle improvements. I have personally avoided medication all my life and I only take natural food supplements. I can’t remember the last time I had antibiotics… over 30 years ago? We have a passionate dislike for the unnecessary use of chemicals in foods, beauty products, cleaners or anywhere there is a natural alternative (there always is!) We are against all forms of animal cruelty and have been pescatarian for the last 20 years.
On the sustainability front, Planet Health is a voluntary member of the Australian Packaging Covenant and supports smarter packaging, reduced waste and a cleaner environment.
What’s your USP? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Rather than offering a ‘catalogue’ of products, we focus on promoting premium natural brands that we are passionate about. We offer specific marketing and training support for each of our brands. Our own Qsilica brand was the first beauty brand globally to focus on beauty internally as well as externally.
What kind of feedback you have received from clients?
We try to get things right the first time, every time for our retail customers. Most importantly, we want consumers to benefit from great outcomes when using any of our products and as a result receive many positive testimonials. The results consumers achieve are often life changing!
What’s the next big launch / project coming up for you?
The next big thing has just landed. We have just launched Qsilica Naturally CLEAR, a 3-step natural approach to treating spots and blemishes. Not just targeted at teenagers, this unique concept cleanses, treats and repairs with effective natural extracts, leaving skin Naturally CLEAR. There is no use of harsh chemicals or petrochemicals and NO animal testing, ingredients or cruelty.
We have already received the following testimonial along with a fantastic verbal response to date:
This is different – it treats acne from the inside and out and it’s 100% natural!
4 June 2015
I’m currently halfway through trialling the Qsilica Naturally Clear and can notice the gradual changes it’s making to my skin. I have less white heads and the patch of bad acne I had on my forehead is starting to clear up nicely. The cleansing lotion and spot gel smell really fresh and natural and apply to the skin nicely. And it’s fine under makeup, which is essential for people like me with who, unfortunately, have to apply makeup to hide their spots!
I have noticed that the overall texture of my skin is less oily and greasy.
The tablets are easy to swallow and don’t have that gross after taste that many vitamin supplements do.
I’ve used loads of different acne treatments, some worked and others didn’t. The problem with the one that worked the best – a harsh drug prescribed by a dermatologist – was that it came with awful side effects.
This is different to any of the other treatments I’ve tried, as it treats acne from the inside and the out and it’s 100% natural!
I’m excited to see the end result once I’ve completed the 60-day trial.
Terri – New Zealand
What’s your big dream?
To own a majestic Art Deco Hotel in Lugano, Switzerland (or on the Italian Lakes), offering a Natural Spa and Michelin Star Healthy Eating with premium Organic Wines.
Where can we find your products ?
Lloyds Selfridges, Whole Food Markets, Revital, Lloyds John Bell & Croyden, G Baldwin & Co, selected premium retail stores or go to www.qsilica.com or www.planethealth.uk.com