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5 Minutes With Entrepreneurial Powerhouse, Leonie Henzell.

You've founded three successful companies, what were you like growing up? Were you the kid who had the lemonade stand?

I was a diligent student, quite sporty and loved art. I was conscientious and took pride in everything that I did. I always loved baking cakes and wrapping presents for others. There are 5 kids in my family, so I lived a happy and simple life. No lemonade stand, but there was always a sense of joy in making others happy.

I could always see ‘room for improvement’ and that the ‘finishing touches’ led to people being happier with a service or experience. I worked in hospitality whilst I was studying Physiotherapy. This combination provided an amazing foundation. I always wanted to have my own business; I just didn’t know what problem it would solve.

 

What amount of your success has been attributed to luck or do you believe it's been grit that has made you so successful?

Grit. 100%.

It’s about the number of hours clocked. In business, there is so much problem solving involved. Everyday there is an element of learning and re-learning how to do things. I feel as though I am willing to put the effort in and work harder and longer than many others. I am a determined person and have a lot of endurance during times of difficulty.

 

When launching your brands how did you generate exposure, how did you get people to know about your company (service)? 

There are some pretty stark differences between 2004 and 2019.

For Bockers & Pony (established in 2004) it was organic with lots of cold calling to start. It took many years to really get traction. We focussed heavily on the product and the customer experience. Essentially, we built a brand with a lot of positive sentiment and loyalty. It wasn’t until we engaged in an array of advertising that we started to see real growth. We tried all the different types of advertising. Radio, billboards, trams, magazines, print media, digital marketing, event sponsorship and lots of networking.

Now, with Soul Baby Gifts and Beauty’s got soul (established in 2019) we are working to replicate elements of what we did with Bockers & Pony. We have a heavier focus on digital marketing, networking, speaking engagements and exhibitions ( Life in Style ). We are building our own communities by creating interesting content and being involved in wider discussions. We are leveraging communities like Business Chicks and CBA Women in Focus to help raise brand awareness. We also have some of the more traditional media planned to fuel our growth. We are much more focussed on technology and the rate of change and how we can drive awareness by collaborating with others.

 

What's your personal superpower, what's one thing that you think makes you great at what you do?

Kindness. It takes $0.00 to be kind. This super power is also free.

I think it’s really a combination of Curiosity + Empathy + Effective Communication. All the soft, ‘be a nice human’ skills.

Ps. I also have an amazing sense of smell. Helpful for choosing fragrance and knowing when there is a fire 40km’s away.

 

Your latest venture ‘Beauty's Got Soul’ has a strong philanthropic element, can you tell us more about that?

Beauty’s got soul is a ‘for profit for purpose’ business. It was born out of a desire for a legacy project and an overwhelming sense of needing to give back in some way. I live a privileged life and I have everything that I need. I want to help others and I have chosen to try and help the homeless in Australia.

sleepbus.org is a registered Australian Charity and we are giving a percentage of sales, not profits, directly to sleepbus to help provide safe sleep for the homeless. Whilst we understand that this doesn’t solve the problem of homelessness, what it does is simply provide a safe night sleep.

A lockable pod on a bus that is temperature controlled, with a comfortable mattress, clean sheets and built in tv. There is night time supervision, a bathroom and even pet pods under the bus.

Australia needs 300 buses to provide safe sleeps for the 6000 Australians sleeping rough every night. We want to inspire other businesses to adopt this mindset and collectively work towards solving this problem.

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