Julie Neville is the founder of Win Naturally, a store specialising in sports and health nutrition. The story of how the business was formed is a very personal one.
Julie took time out of her hectic work and family schedule to talk to us about the creation of her business, as well as her advice for women looking to embark on their own venture.
What made you decide to start your business?
I was extremely ill for a couple of years following the premature birth of my daughter, and eventually lost faith in conventional medicines. After suffering severe side effects and being told I would have to take medication for the rest of my life, I started to study alternative therapies, food, diet, nutrition and exactly how our bodies work. I started to heal my body naturally by making diet and lifestyle changes, removing all products containing chemicals from our home, became a vegetarian and added a whole range of supplements into my daily diet. Within just 9 months I was free from prescribed drugs and never felt fitter, stronger or healthier.
My experience showed me that there was a huge lack of education in this area. I also realised that I couldn’t find a store that sold everything required for health and well-being. I saw the gap in the market and Win Naturally was born! Not only are we a health and wellness store, all of our staff are also nutritionally qualified and able to assist with any health or diet questions and concerns. We stock the most innovative and high quality products that are available. I am confident that when we take a product on that they really do work – I know this because I trail every single product personally and research them all thoroughly!
Did you experience any difficulties when setting up your business?
For the first couple of years I had a team working for me that proved to be of huge detriment to the business. Now I have an amazing team of staff who are like my extended family! It’s difficult to make your mark in a highly competitive field. At the start we had no budget at all for marketing, but I had faith in the products and brands that we stock and the service we were providing.
What is your favourite thing about running a business?
Running your own business is incredibly stressful. It requires commitment and very long hours, much to the dismay of my staff I am often emailing them from 5am and up to midnight every day. But I love what I do. I am extremely passionate about Win Naturally and I love that it’s something that my whole family is a part of. My children work in the store with me at weekends and holidays, and we all trial new products!
What advice do you have for women who want to grow their business?
You need to have self-belief. Develop a strong brand identity that stands out to your customers. Be prepared to work long hours and ensure that you love what you do. It’s essential that you have a good team in place – I need to rely on my team to carry out my instructions and not let our customers, suppliers or brand down. Finally, have a good business plan in place so that you know what you want to achieve, and having the finances in place to make that happen.
What is the one piece of business advice that every business, no matter the size, needs to remember?
Customer service is your number one priority. It doesn’t matter how good your products are if your customer service fails. We value every single one of our customers and try to make their shopping experience, whether in store or online, an enjoyable experience.