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Tandia Walsh, aka Tandy, is one-half of the MOTHER SPF team. This powerhouse of a woman has created a revolutionary all-natural SPF. She caught our attention because our brands are so aligned, our values are the same and we love what she has created and the change she is making.
Put the kettle on, make a cuppa and settle in.
Tandy, introduce yourself to the Natch community...
The basics - I am a 27 year old female that currently lives in Perth. I live with my boyfriend and work from home (not due to Covid btw!).
I grew up in Broome, Western Australia and very blessed to have grown up in a small coastal town. My childhood memories consist of fishing, camping and my mum owned a dance school so lots of dancing of course!
I moved to Perth for high school and I initially studied marine biology at university and did my pilates instructor training course, teaching a few classes a week whilst studying.
Mid-way through I switched over to corporate finance (my sister was in finance and managed to convince me). I worked at a reputable stock broking firm whilst studying my masters in finance and ending up leaving that all behind to launch MOTHER SPF.
I am now full time on MOTHER SPF and have gone back to teaching a few pilates classes a week. Basically feel like I have gone back to my original roots.
I am utterly obsessed with anything that involves wellness and sustainability. I am extremely active, love a daily ocean dip, get excited by natural skin care and very much live for summer. I try to be sustainable in all aspects of my life and feel at home when outdoors.
Tandy the Entrepreneur
Tell us about MOTHER SPF - how it came about, what is MOTHER, where are you at with it at the moment?
MOTHER SPF is an Australian made, 100% natural, certified organic physical sunscreen.
Our mission is to create mineral sunscreens that meet the appearance and cosmetic desire of a mainstream chemical sunscreen while using only 100% clean, safe and premium ingredients, proving that high performing sun protection with skin loving ingredients doesn’t have to come at a compromise to your health or MOTHER nature.
The idea for MOTHER SPF was born out of necessity when a few years back my mother was diagnosed with Cancer leaving me to discover the hidden nasties lurking in a lot of the mainstream skin and SPF products. After not being able to find a mineral sunscreen suitable for myself and a strong love for all things skin health and mother nature, I decided to look into making my own using my science background. After partnering with the very best green cosmetic scientist and a TGA licensed manufacturer, MOTHER SPF came to life this year.
Has MOTHER been affected by COVID at all?
Yes and No!
As we manufacture in Australia and all our supplies are also sourced from within Australia to reduce our carbon footprint we have not had any problems with current inventory/production like I know other companies have.
However product 2 was supposed to be out by now but due to Covid the SPF testing facilities in Australia have been closed. The testing facilities have only just opened and now there's a massive backlog of brands waiting to get tested and it's not a quick process either! So that's been a little frustrating.
Any future plans for MOTHER?
Yes we have lots of exciting products in the pipeline, which as just mentioned have all had a slight delay to them. All products are SPF focused and always will be - MOTHER is all about creating that “SPF closet” so that there's an SPF for everyone and no more excuses as to why you're not wearing SPF!
We'd love to know of any business lessons, mistakes you've learned from and advice you'd give to a start up business.
Mistakes - getting your name trademarked before you get the packaging made in case you have to change the name...Getting all the legal side done from the start would have been a great idea!
Advice - In general I can’t stress how important it is to be passionate about whatever it is you are starting up! Because that's what is going to drive you out of the tough times. For me I can’t see myself ever doing anything else but making SPF - it therefore has to work and I won’t stop until it does.
Also a support network is so much more important than I thought it would be. My business partner Elle is amazing and so lucky to have someone else in it for the long haul with me too. My boyfriend Harry hears about MOTHER non stop (the poor thing) yet he never complains. My family and friends have been great too - my human guinea pigs!
Tandy the Pilates Teacher
Tell us about your Pilates journey
I used to be a professional rhythmic gymnast during high school. Trained 5 hours a day and travelled around Australia for competitions with my mind set on the olympics. Coming into my final year of high school I had to make the call of education VS professional gymnast and with gymnasts having such a short lived career I picked education.
I went from intense training to sitting down all day long studying for my final exams and my body went completely whack! I therefore got into pilates as a form of rehabilitation and became obsessed!
And then you decided to learn how to teach Pilates yourself - tell us about that.
As mentioned, I started practising pilates religiously and was amazed at how it can transform the body. I was going to classes at The Movement Society in Perth and the instructor Elise who is a friend of mine told me I should get into teaching. Signed up to a teaching course and started teaching for her studio and 3 years later I am now back teaching for Elise again. The studio is amazing. They do online classes too.
Tandy the Natchuralist
How long have you been using natural products? Do you remember the point where you realised what you were using wasn't that good for you?
I have always been very much into natural health foods but I had terrible acne growing up so I used to slather whatever the doctor told me to use (which I now know is the most toxic kinda crap!). I didn’t care what I put on my skin to be honest - I just wanted my acne to go.
It was when my mother was diagnosed with cancer that I started looking into it all as previously mentioned.
At the same time this was happening I was going to a skin clinic to get their advice on my skin and they were getting me to do chemical peels. I remember sitting at my desk one day and I had all these bits of skin sitting on my desk after falling off my face and thinking how can this be good for me or my skin. So that week I stopped using all my chemical skincare and went back to basics (just used coconut oil and simple moisturisers) and after a week my skin was the best it had looked my whole life. I immediately switched over to natural products and found that natural products are as effective as their chemical toxic counterparts or if not better!
Tell us about your transition to natural deodorant.
Natural Deodorant and natural SPF were the 2 hardest to find good natural alternatives (hence why I created MOTHER). I will leave Natural deodorant to Natch!
When I switched over to all natural skincare, I found this transition very easy (if not better) but natural deodorant was hard. I never thought I was a sweater until this! But once I wrapped my head around that the conventional stuff I had been using worked differently to natural deodorant and that we are supposed to sweat (durr, it’s a naturally bodily process) I completely embraced natural deodorants. I found for maybe the first 2 weeks I smelt pretty gross ha! - It was like my body was detoxing and after that it all went back to normal and now I have zero smell when it comes to body odour.
What are your favourite personal care rituals?
Facials and acupuncture! I spend way too much money in this category ha! I aim to get a facial once a month (would have them more if I could!).
I do at home facials, a hair mask and coffee body scrub once a week too. It’s all these little forms of self care that add up and make a real difference I think.
I have a LED light and love laying under it with a podcast. It completely relaxes me.
Do you practice mindfulness or meditation?
I have tried to get into meditation but not quite there yet! I use an app for now or until I can learn to master it.
I go for either a yoga class or a coastal walk most afternoons and I find that really de-stresses me.
I also put my phone on aeroplane every night at 8pm and read in bed for an hour before I fall asleep. I don’t turn my phone off aeroplane mode until I have got up, gone to the gym, showers etc and I am at my desk ready for the day - I like to keep the mornings to myself so I can actually think instead of going over emails during my workout!
Head to www.motherspf.com if you're craving more.