International Women's Day 2022 –
The Success Series: Henrietta Norton
The Success Series is designed to shine a light on the women breaking boundaries. Henrietta Norton, founder of Wild Nutrition, is on a mission to improve the nation’s health. In particular, women’s health.
Our clients are exceptional. The Success Series is designed to shine a light on the people breaking boundaries, taking a leap of faith, creating something new and offering a hand up to the next generation. Through a series of interviews, we understand what it takes to make that leap of faith to start up, share the joy of reaching goals, and understand how to get back up if you stumble.
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Henrietta Norton, founder of Wild Nutrition, is on a mission to improve the nation’s health. In particular, women’s health.
“Women are demanding better preventative solutions”, Henrietta explains. 75% women suffer PMS unnecessarily, 60% women experience perimenopause symptoms, one seventh of women have fertility issues and 1.5m women in the UK are diagnosed with endometriosis, although the real number may be higher.
Beyond this, 16m adults in the UK suffer from sleep issues and 50% have anxiety.
“We want women to be empowered to have more control over their health.”
Identify a gap in the market
Working as a clinical nutritionist and within the supplements industry specialising in women’s health for 10 years, Henrietta was writing her book Take control of your endometriosis when asked if she could make some supplement recommendations.
“I realised there wasn’t anything on the market I could recommend. I felt passionate about doing it differently, doing it better, effectively elevating the standard, which at the time was shamefully low. I couldn’t not do it.”
And Henrietta and her husband Charlie have never looked back.
Despite humble beginnings – the first batch of products was formulated from the garden shed with regular visits from their three chickens – Henrietta was encouraged to think big.
“We were told by a mentor to get things set up early because if things go really well, you’ll find yourself in a rocket ship and won’t have time to think. It was invaluable advice.”
Having launched the website, Henrietta and Charlie approached Whole Foods with an aim to stock the product range in their High Street Kensington branch “At the time, I thought if I could be stocked in Whole Foods within five years, I could hang up my hat.” But the five-year dream was achieved in just three months. “They wanted to stock us in all branches and asked if we could expand the range. It was a bit of a shock, but like every good entrepreneur, we said yes and then thought about how we could make it happen.”
Following this initial success, Wild Nutrition was quickly stocked in Planet Organic, featured in Vogue, recognised at the international Beauty Awards, stocked in Harrods and launched globally across Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
“I was overwhelmed by the response” Henrietta reflects. “Securing investment was significant. It was like an outside endorsement that we’re onto something.” With a £5m investment from PE firm Piper, the “incredible team” has increased, fulfilment has been brought in-house allowing the business to get closer to their consumers, and they’ve purposefully opened a warehouse in Lewes, generating additional local jobs.
Increasing their global reach is next on the agenda with plans to expand the brand into new territories overseas, while continuing to develop the direct to consumer model in the UK.
B corp status
From ethically sourcing ingredients to packaging that is both recyclable and biodegradable, to aligning with non-profits who share their values, sustainability is at the heart of everything Wild Nutrition stands for.
Achieving B Corp status – a certification that measures a company’s social and environmental performance, and is based on the principle that businesses should seek to balance profit with purpose – is something Henrietta is rightly proud of. While many companies across the UK are adopting new ways of working, “We did it completely based on where we were. Our founding principles always aligned with the B Corp philosophy of planet, people, profit in equal measure.”
Purpose and passion
“The founding principles of the brand were always to make an uncompromising product, but also to educate; to empower people to understand their body and to make informed decisions.”
Wild Nutrition remains true to its core values. As well as increasing the product range and stockists, the team provides educational content, hosts regular talks and above all, has a team of highly trained nutritional therapists to help people better understand their bodies and their needs. Henrietta recognises “people are still confused, there is information overload, and they want to trust a brand, built on purpose, built on expertise, which is here for the long run.”
Advice for future entrepreneurs
“Be passionate and purposeful about why you are starting something. There will inevitably be times when you wake up rather sweaty in the night. It’s really hard, incredibly galvanising, but an amazing privilege. It can be difficult to balance all elements of life, but that rock solid sense of purpose pulls you through.”
Henrietta acknowledges that entrepreneurship can sound enticing and exciting, but that regardless of gender, many people face imposter syndrome “it’s that sense that I don’t really belong here, I don’t know what I’m doing, particularly if you don’t start with a business degree from Harvard.” But you don’t need to do it all alone. You can bring in the expertise to fill those gaps.
“Behind every great idea there are great people. It might be my idea, but I’m not the only one who’s got it to this place. It’s me, my husband Charlie and each member of our talented and committed team… that’s really important to remember.”
More from the Success Series
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In this third instalment of the Success Series, we meet Anne Doherty-Lyons. Not one to sit still for long, her latest business, Wild Hearts Gang, was driven out of a conversation with her husband and his daughter.