For our latest blog series we’re delving deeper into the minds of some exceptional entrepreneurs. We’ll find out what inspires them to drive their ideas forward, how they manage different aspects of their business and their journey to international success.
In this post we catch up with Maxine Laceby, founder of ‘drinkable skincare’ range Absolute Collagen. She reveals how she thrives working with family and why she’s working with DIT to take her business to the next level.
From a flash of inspiration to a skincare revolution
Maxine Laceby makes the creation of her brand sound like a breeze. She says: “I simply asked myself what I wanted as a consumer. Maximum collagen, minimum dose, minimum effort and minimum price. Fast forward two years and Absolute Collagen was born.”
What’s clear, however, is that Absolute Collagen’s success is actually down to Maxine’s incredible determination and entrepreneurial spirit. Although it’s hard to believe the business began life in Maxine’s kitchen.
She says: “My journey to turning 50 saw me looking at what I was putting into my body. I started making bone broth, cooking up big vats of pigs’ trotters and chicken feet in my kitchen. Drinking it had an incredible impact on my skin and I had an amazing sense of wellbeing.
“After research, I discovered it was the collagen in the bone broth that was making me shine. Once I shared my secret with friends, I became known as the local collagen dealer. My friends were almost knocking my door down to get their hands on my booty!”
A beauty brand that’s more than skin deep
After sourcing suppliers and perfecting her unique marine collagen formula, Maxine launched the range. Absolute Collagen has since garnered a passionate following, made up of thousands of customers. It’s their praise that Maxine values most.
She says: “My biggest personal achievement since launching my product has been hearing people say ‘Absolute Collagen has changed my life’. It’s more than just a beauty product.
“We have reviews from people whose joint pain has subsided or their hair is growing thicker. We’ll continue to be different and blaze a trail or two. In fact, we recently became the first company to bring out a ‘beauty supplement’ for men.”
Turning a venture into a family business
Another positive experience for Maxine has been bringing her daughters on-board to help her run the business. She says: “The best thing about being part of a family business is allowing my children to explore and grow. I love watching them developing their business acumen and knowing that we have each other’s backs.”
But allowing for growth means accepting the risk of mistakes being made. This doesn’t phase Maxine – she encourages her daughters to embrace their mistakes. She says: “Mistakes are inevitable and part of business. We’re all learning on the job and if you want your children to push themselves, you have to allow them to make mistakes. It’s how we all learn.”
When it comes to creating a balance between work and family time, Maxine believes in the power of ‘doing nothing’. She says: “It’s important to make time to not talk about business. I also try to pick good times to discuss business with my daughters, not when they have friends over or they’re chilling on the sofa. Doing nothing is important too.”
Looking to the future with the help of DIT
Maxine’s next goal is to grow the business strategically. She says: “We want to keep growing in the UK and, with support from DIT, we’re looking at opportunities in Saudi, UAE and China. It’s important to me that once we establish a presence in another country, we ensure all systems are working before moving on to the next country.”
When asked what aspect of DIT’s help she finds most valuable, Maxine’s answer is clear. She says: “Knowledge. Knowledge in understanding protocols in other countries, tariffs, pricing, our position in different markets, cultural differences and expectations. They’ve helped me to fully understand my obligations and duties, and advised me how to internationalise the website. It doesn’t get better than that.”
To see what’s next for Absolute Collagen, take a look at the blog. And if Maxine has inspired you to become the next exporter-extraordinaire, get in touch today.