Interview with Jayne Clark-Denyer, founder of Organically Epic
Find out how her frustration at how behind natural and organic dental was in terms of efficacy and sustainability when compared to skincare, inspired Jayne Clark-Denyer to launch the award-winning Organically Epic.
What’s your career background?
Pre Organically Epic I worked as an assistant in London for 15 years in various financial institutions from investment banks to fund management.
How did your career change after having children?
I’d just got what I thought was my dream job in Green Park when I found out I was pregnant. It was a shock to my husband and I as we were told we couldn’t have children. A nice shock obviously.
Sadly the company I was working for did not take kindly to this news and at month five in my pregnancy they made me redundant. It was horrible at the time but I was lucky. My mum owns a marketing company so I started working for her whilst I worked out what to do next.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
When my daughter was a baby she had a terrible reaction to a baby bath and body wash. She ended up in hospital on steroids for severe eczema. I had always thought organic products were for the very wealthy and perhaps were just a status thing. The more I looked into ingredients the more I realised actually, I’ve been missing something here. For the planet and for health.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
Moving into starting a totally new business, with no experience or background was so nerve wracking. I’d never worked for a small business before let alone my own. I’ll be honest, it took me some time. I think I dithered for a few months on the what ifs but it got to a point where I realised. What else is there? If I don’t do it I’ll always wonder. So I got a website set up and went from there step by step, day by day. Learning and readjusting.
What’s your USP?
I feel that Organically Epic straddles a few worlds, merging them together. We focus highly on efficacy and environmental impact, making products that will enhance your dental health whilst also providing the least amount of impact on the earth. The service you get from us is incredibly personal due to our small size as well, something you don’t always get these days.
Who’s your target audience?
Families with busy lives who want to look after the environment but may not know where to go to do so. Families who look after their dental health but now want to go that step further by reducing their waste in the bathroom. We are a hit with single gentlemen too which has been a shock – they’re loving our electric toothbrush. The zero waste community has also been a wonderful and supportive audience for us.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Social media has been heavily invested in time wise. We grew our audience online as well as in person by attending big industry led trade shows from the outset. It was important for me to see other natural and organic brands and how they managed their businesses – I had to learn fast so I tried to get to any and every event that I could. Email marketing is huge too; it’s where we engage regularly with our customers.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
I started out investing my time heavily in social media but ultimately, digital marketing as a whole is where we’ve had the most success. I look at our marketing strategy as a complete package. Social media marketing alongside website SEO, building our email list as well as blogging regularly and the occasional facebook advert.
Digital marketing is vast and can really build a functioning sales funnel for your website. I’ve just invested in some PR which is exciting and not something we’ve done in such a big way before.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
As someone who always worked for big business, cashflow was and sometimes still is, an issue for me. I’ve had to learn very quickly how to run a business and market it on a shoestring.
And your proudest moment so far?
Launching the UK’s first Certified Organic Brightening Antioxidant Toothpaste. It’s been over 3 years in the making so to have it finally launched is a wonderful moment.
Why is work so important to you?
I like to work, to have a purpose. I feel like I’m building something not only for myself and my family but for others too. A business that is reducing carbon and moving towards a greener future. I just wish I’d found my calling 20 years ago.
It’s funny, when you are working for yourself, doing something you are passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work. Organically Epic, alongside my children, is my baby. It’s challenging and some days are so hard you wonder if you should give it all up but then everything aligns and things just seem to work out.
Who inspires you?
Everyday people. Family members. Amazing women I’ve met through business. Every single person I come across has an amazing story to tell, whether they are conventionally successful or not, people in general are pretty inspiring.
How do you balance your work with your family?
I don’t think I do to be honest. I try to be present with my children but when work has to be done it has to be done. If you have any tips please let me know?!
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
1) Be an expert – or hire one
Be the expert in your field or hire people who are – when you start out everything is daunting and worrying. One way to alleviate that feeling is to learn everything you can about what you want to do, be it a product based business or service.
Realise also that you cannot do it all. Accounts giving you a headache? pass it onto an accountant. Sales are not your forte? Hire a salesperson if you can. When you can do these things, of course, it takes time. Until then, you’ll be the master of many areas wearing lots of different business hats. At least you’ll learn quickly what you like and what you don’t.
2) Have faith in yourself
Have absolute faith in yourself, your ability and your idea but also learn how to pivot that idea and make it better– it’s mindset really. I know that’s a bit woo but some days running a business can be so tough you’re going to need to be so set on what you’re doing that you continue going even through the bad days.
That said, even the best ideas don’t always work. 2020 and 2021 has taught us all that life, personally and in business can be a shock so diversifying and pivoting is sometimes needed to get back on track.
3) Have people you can speak to
Make sure you have friends and family you can speak to – building a business is hard. Some days you’ll be in tears from the constant rejections or money concerns that you’ll need to have supportive people around you. Maybe you’ll get a new set of business friends who have the same issues – tea/wine/chats will be needed regularly – it’ll really lighten the load and mean you can move forward through the difficulty you’re experiencing.
It’s always good to celebrate milestones and achievements too, having people who care about you shouting your corner will feel so good.
Find out more about Organically Epic.