The Miessence Product Story
While completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management in 1992, a friend introduced Narelle Chenery to a new natural skin care range on the market. The company promoted itself as producing the “best products from science and nature.”
They boasted about the purity of their ingredients, but diminished the numerous chemical contents; in fact, they denied having any ‘unnatural’ ingredients at all! Even though the products contained ingredients she couldn't pronounce, (and because these were termed “natural ingredients” from coconut and palm), Narelle just presumed they were natural and safe to use.
Soon after she began promoting this “natural” range to her friends and family, a cosmetic ingredient dictionary caught her attention whilst browsing through a health food store, enlightening her about the dangers of the ingredients she was using. Disillusioned and angry at having been duped by such unethical marketing tactics, her passionate search for truly natural products began.
After expressing her frustration at the ethics of the company she had just left, a family member gave her some books on aromatherapy, herbal remedies, and recipes for natural skin care products. Surprisingly, even these books recommended toxic preservatives, so Narelle started experimenting with her own methods and created her first skin creams (which she gave away as gifts).
As her research deepened, she was captivated by the many wonderful offerings of Mother Nature, and grew more concerned about the poisonous ingredients that most cosmetics contained. She was inspired to tell others about her findings, and had articles published in several well-respected natural health magazines. The response was so positive that Narelle soon realised she was on to a winner, and this fuelled her passion even more!
As a young mother pregnant with her third child, Narelle’s kitchen hobby soon grew into a vibrant home-based business. As her children grew, so did the demand for her products, and Narelle juggled nappies, school lunches, making products and product orders.
A year and a half later while showing her wares at a natural products expo, Narelle was approached by entrepreneur Alf Orpen. Impressed with her knowledge and dedication, Alf challenged her to create a fully certified organic skin-care range. Narelle had been eating organic food since her first pregnancy in 1994, and believed wholeheartedly in the organic philosophy. She was up for the challenge!
Industry colleagues and critics said it couldn’t be done…that especially organic ingredients would spoil if not preserved with chemicals. Narelle trusted her intuition and persevered. After eighteen months of intense research and development, and a generous development grant from the government, Miessence became the world’s first certified organic skin-care and cosmetic range. Startling the multi-billion dollar natural cosmetics industry, her product range was third-party tested under flawless scrutiny, and awarded organic certification in January 2001.
Narelle’s passion, however, was just beginning to gain expression. Her desire was to help level the playing field between multi-national companies with big marketing budgets, and the uninformed consumer. Her intention was to create not only an entire range of certified organic lifestyle products (including skin-care and cosmetics, health supplements, household products), but also to empower consumers with information and awareness of what is available, and what is best for health and wellbeing. In short, Narelle envisioned offering products that would revolutionise the health and beauty industry!
“Once consumers realise that health and beauty are inextricably linked, they will have to seriously question those unpronounceable ingredients in their 'beauty' products. We, as consumers, are incredibly powerful. Most of the time we just don’t realise it!" she says.
"The traditional cosmetics industry alone is worth something over US$20 billion a year, and that’s because of the millions of unaware consumers believing slick marketing messages. Most of this turnover supports the production and use of toxic chemicals, which affects not only our personal health, but the health of our planet!
"If we withdraw our support of the toxic beauty industry, they will have no choice but to make radical changes to maintain market-share. That’s how powerful we are!”
Narelle has never been shy in her criticism of those that knowingly (one would presume) poison our bodies and our environment for personal gain. She sites a famous Ghandi quote that “non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty”
…Though evil is perhaps too strong a word, we must become very aware of the negative impact of greed, manipulation and flagrant disregard for our individual, collective and planetary health. As our species evolves, clearly sustainability must be a cornerstone for all commercial endeavours.
"The nauseating stream of candy-coated offerings that engulf us on a daily basis, from hype-driven tabloids and women’s magazines, manipulative commercials and unconscious television shows, need not be overwhelming or depressing!" says Narelle.
We simply need to see through the pull of big-business propaganda, and follow our own intuition, just as Narelle did! If we commit to educating ourselves about the facts and falsities of 'natural' consumer products, then act responsibly based upon that new knowledge, our own lives and those of our family, friends, community and world will reflect our deeper wisdom.
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