Sonia Orts - Alchemist
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Valencia Spain, the city of flowers, love and colours.My family was devoted to a natural way of living. My great granny and her sisters made their own soaps, scrubs, creams and beauty oils. My grandmother was a herbal tea lover and her medicines were based on herb infusions and balms. My mum is a passionate gardener and raised me on a diet centred on fruits and veggies. So I belong to a long lineage of women who had ancient knowledge of alchemic beauty and health and who gifted me this wisdom, one generation at a time, over many years.
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
When someone asked me I used to answer "happy", I still believe a happy mood is essential for a healthy life. Later on I pictured myself doing perfumes and potions in a old and ancient way in a small workshop. I didn't know by then that what I was looking for was Alchemy. I was educated in French school. I travelled a lot throughout France and absorbed their beauty culture as I went, cosmetics and perfumes were a delightful intrigue.
When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?
I started studying Spanish alchemy and aromatherapy while I was still working as a financial consultant in Citibank. I learnt the principles and application of alchemy and aromatherapy from very wise teachers and quickly felt entirely natural in this space. Like I had come home.
In 2007 I did my first attempt opening a little perfumery with only organic and natural products. I continued my learning and was taught well by prominent people in the industry, ensuring I knew how to make the distinction between what was truly natural and what was not. I still had a couple of financial consulting projects as a financial controller for a corporation, but that were isolated consultancies.
A chance to immigrate to Australia in 2013 offered a whole new set of inspiration for my products and me. After a settling in period, my creativity soared – photography, illustration, potion-making. The big open skies, the animals and the natural beauty everywhere provide constant motivation. So I decided to set up a new business based on Spanish Alchemy to help women to bring back their most vibrant self the same way Spanish Alchemy helped me.
What’s your why?
I'm making my dream come true, I'm going with my flow. It's been so long doing what other expected from me, now it's time to follow my intuition. It's about my own journey as a woman in a man like minded world, all the difficulties I found on my pathway and how Spanish alchemy helped me to sort them out. I want to share everything I learnt with other women and help them to feel better, happier and confident.
What do you love about what you do?
Every single step. From product creation to packaging design, I also love when running a workshop and sharing what I've learnt all along my way, transmitting my passion and seeing results when I help another woman to feel better, radiant and happy.
What’s challenged you most since being in business?
Marketing and Sales as I'm in a different country where habits are not familiar to me, nor the language or the way to communicate.
What are your greatest achievements to date?
Regarding this business, I'm in a early stage so there's not a lot to say, but talking to around 200 women next Oct at a big event for women. It's a big challenge but it's also a great achievement to have been chosen. My greatest achievements are on the creation area right now, I'm creating amazing formulas, my mind is blowing away there's so much inspiration around me.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Oh my!!! Sooo many lessons all along the way, some proffesionals others personals. But one very particular in my personality is my tendency to carry on with everything alone. I learned that I need help, I'm not alone, and it's ok to ask for help, when you leave people to get in, become more confident and learn to delegate it all will go better. Networking is essential, meeting local people, sharing and learning from others, being open mind and aware about what's going on around you.
What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make since running your own business?
Close my little shop because it was time to move.
What are some resources you or your business can’t live without?
Any business need customers and a good financial advise, no matter how good you're at something if you don't know how to manage effectively your finances you might be done before you notice it.
In my case, I can't go ahead without the raw material (plants, flowers, butters...) I use for the making, and the inspiration to create.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?
Take first a good advise on how to do it and then go ahead, don't hesitate, show your passion and be patient, it takes more time than you think to be established.
What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I'm a transparent person, when someone meet me what they see is what it is, although I noticed people don't realise how shy I am, and how huge is the effort I make when I have to expose myself out there for biz purposes.
What does your ideal day look like?
I like to start with an active yoga meditation, then shower and a coffee while the morning meeting with my cat, he's essential to my inspiration. The ideal then would be having orders to be made, some deliveries as well and from time to time to create a new product, a new aroma, a new workshop. At the end of the day a nice drink and chat with my hubby, my partner in life, my eternal love and inspiration.
What’s one of your favourite quotes?
She decided to start living the life she imagined
Who or what inspires you?
My cat, inspires me simplicity, my husband triggers my Spanish passion & plants make me dance, it's like hearing a melody, the music in my life. Other women's stories inspire me formulas, perfumes, aromas.
Anything you’d like to add?
When I read your statement about your beliefs in Australian women as the future, I thought... that resonates with me. Since 2000 I've been noticing a huge change all around the world about how us women, we understand differently our duties, our niche, our goals. We have a new perspective about the world that surround us and the way we connect and relate with others. We don't want to be like men anymore like in the 80', we want to get our prize being the way we are, with our particularities. I feel there's a new feminine energy rising and expanding around the world, as strong and delicate as Mother Earth. I do believe the rules are changing and I want to be an active part of it.