Finding Her Pot of Gold
I had always dreamed of being a lawyer. I remember coming out at my debutante ball and being announced. ‘This is Nicci, and she aspires to be a lawyer.’ As it happened, my marks weren’t high enough and so I travelled down another path. It seemed to always be a long road, but now, as I sit here 20 years later, I realise it was MY path.
The journey is always the way, not the destination.
So, I ended up in business. It was the start – and I loved it. I remember wanting to study for a degree where I could get practical business experience in the real world, which would mean participating in a boardroom, not stuck in a classroom. But I didn’t get into that degree programme either.
Looking back now, I ended up where I was meant to be – in marketing. What I really love, my passion and the skill that would allow me to one day grow a business, has become all about helping women. I always wanted to help others.
And yes, I eventually did get into law. I finished my degree, worked in legal aid and went on to work in private practice, which was – and still is – a male dominated world.
I remember travelling and thinking that one day I wanted to be free. I wanted to work where I wanted to work and to be the master of my own time, to make my own money and have the opportunity to become rich. I knew working for somebody else wasn’t going to cut it for me.
And I always felt there was something more for me beyond law. I was approached to be a partner and run my own show – but that wasn’t what I wanted. So, I followed my gut, and I waited.
I thought about politics, but I never believe what politicians say and I wanted a platform to speak from that was trustworthy and honest – a platform where I could make a real difference.
At the time I didn’t understand that I had asked the universe. I had put in place my desires and it would soon deliver. Funnily enough I didn’t know exactly what they were at the time. But I knew there was something more for me.
And it came to me in a small pot of gold skincare, that I stumbled across when I was contemplating starting a wedding planning business overseas.
I held it. I smelled it. And immediately I wanted to slather it all over my face!
Strangely enough, I had always hated skincare products, because I had struggled with bad skin all my life and never found anything to help. I thought that when I got to my thirties my skin would magically improve, but it didn’t.
I spent every day carrying my makeup with me to cover up. It was the constant monkey on my back, until I tried this little pot of gold.
It made me feel amazing.
I started getting compliments.
I didn’t have to hide myself anymore or feel like everybody was staring at the big zit when I had an important meeting. Of course, they probably were not doing that, but in my head, they were – and it stopped me from truly owning my own power.
It was just my skin. But it was everything.
When my skin cleared up and I was getting compliments, truly, my whole world changed.
I wasn’t carrying this heavy weight with me anymore.
But I had run out of it, and I desperately needed more, but I couldn’t get it anywhere. I just had to have it, because of the way it made me feel about myself. And it was in that moment that I decided that if I could make one other woman feel the way I felt, then the journey to getting this out into the world would be worth it.
So, the House of Vimm was born.
Everything I do in my business always comes down to that moment of purpose, of my Y, I guess you could say. It is about making women feel amazing.
I often tell people I don’t sell skincare at all. That wasn’t my plan. It was to provide compliments to women the world over.
Every day, I get to read emails from women who tell me their stories, which are remarkably similar to my own. And that is what keeps me going. You always have to have a purpose – and that purpose can never be money.
Mine is helping other women to live their best lives, and I love to incorporate what I have learned, which is a crazy amount, on my own journey as a woman in business to help them.
Running this business has been the biggest challenge of my life so far. There have been so many times when I couldn’t get out of bed because I thought I had made a decision that could kill the business. But what I started to realise was in those moments, the dark ones, that there was always something better waiting around the corner.
And this is true in every aspect of life.
As a lawyer, I was taught that hard work, and being chained to your desk was the way, and I brought that work ethic into my business.
And that nearly did me in.
I couldn’t balance my business, home life and my own needs and it didn’t feel right. When I look back, I realise that there have been pivotal moments in my business where amazing women have appeared and guided me down the path I am on today.
I remember a moment when a beautiful woman called Mendy reached out to me via a women’s group on Facebook. She is a psychic and to this day, a great friend of mine. She told me that I wasn’t seeing the signs and that they were all around me.
At the time I didn’t quite understand what she meant by that – signs I thought – like road signs? What and where were these supposed signs? She told me to tune in, be present.
That was a lightbulb moment for me.
When I started looking, I started to see. It was almost like I had been blind for the first 38 years of my life. It scared me to think how many of these signs I had missed.
But I realised that without even being aware of this side of myself, I had been following some of them. As they had brought me to House of Vimm.
When I started the House of Vimm, I truly wasn’t ready for the success it brought in such a short period of time. The truth was, I had no idea how to run a business or what I was doing, and I sought advice and mentoring from some amazing women in my space.
It is often a lonely journey, and I soon learned a valuable lesson. That lesson is that if you do not invest in yourself first, then you cannot grow. And my success was very much born on learning from other women who had gone before me. It still is. I also wanted to be one of those women who mentor other women starting out in their businesses.
A huge turning point for me was the lockdown here in Melbourne. We have spent over half a year in lockdown and without Kmart to turn to, I threw myself head-first into my business! I had my three-year-old daughter to look after full-time during that period also, and I learned to become very efficient at doing the things that really mattered.
I remember sitting at my computer feeling helpless when COVID hit. Who was I? How could I help? And so, I started writing a daily email – ‘Live From The Cole Face’ to my email list of women. At the time, I wondered what the truth really was. There was little information out there and if I was feeling uncertain of the times ahead, then so was my tribe. So, I wrote these emails about the truth of what it was really like to run a business – and how I felt about it.
And one day I received a reply from a director of nursing in the infectious diseases ward at a major hospital. She had read one of my emails on her way to work and spoke to me of how it changed her perspective and brightened her day. She wrote that she went to work after reading it with a renewed energy. It was in that reply that I knew how I could help. That I was helping, and that bringing some laughter and light to women via my emails, telling my truth, inspired other women every day.
People talk about watching your competitors in business, but truly, you never have any. Because nobody can be you!
I have stuck to my truth from the beginning, and this has been the key to the success of House of Vimm. Of course, it helps that I refuse to sell sub-par products and hold myself to the highest standards, but that comes a distant second to speaking my truth and sharing it to make the world a better place, one woman at a time.
To its core, that was how The Black Door, and the concept came about.
The Black Door is about bringing in other expert women to speak to my tribe, so that they too can learn how to up-level themselves in every aspect of their lives.In essence, I think about my own problems and then try to fix them, and this is at the core of the business purpose. I suck at style and so I needed a stylist. We have one inside The Black Door. As a result of the pressures of the business, my marriage was failing and so I also needed a relationship expert. And so on it goes!
We have over 13,000 women members inside The Black Door, and we run weekly expert events to help women in all areas of their lives.
It is truly an evolving space, and we have a vision to make it even better.
The great thing is, I don’t feel pressure to do it. We don’t work that way. I have an amazing team of stay-at-home mums that work for me. I only hire stay at-home mums. I feel like the world doesn’t value us. Mums are the masters of work and life and love – and this is something that needs to change in the world!
What I most want to share with my tribe and women everywhere is that you can have the life you want – and do it your way. And it doesn’t have to be hard. If you see it inside of you, then it is possible. You just must have faith in yourself and invest in yourself every day. Put time aside. Dream. Write it down. And change the way you think. When you realise that it is all inside of you, and it has been the whole time, then anything is possible.
You just have to trust that voice inside of YOU. That belief was the cornerstone for creating a million- dollar company – and it will be what keeps me going to better the lives of women the world over.