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Meet Alice Mackintosh and Rosie Speight, founders of Equi

This week we interviewed Alice Mackintosh and Rosie Speight, long-time friends and founders of Equi London, a brand that offers a totally unique, pioneering approach to nutritional supplements.

"Equi (equilibrium) is all about balance - we believe that a balanced life is a happy life."

Let's meet them!

Alice Mackintosh and Rosie Speight, founders of Equi
Alice Mackintosh and Rosie Speight, founders of Equi

- Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?

We are Rosie and Alice, the founders of Equi and also very old friends. Alice is a registered nutritional therapist in London, and Rosie is an ex-banker turned busy working Mum. Our company (and baby!) Equi offers a totally unique, pioneering approach to nutritional supplements. Designed for the busy modern woman, by busy modern women, we have a range of high quality, expertly formulated products that support women at all stages of their lives to help them look and feel their best.

- When did your journey start?

Our journey actually started 15 years ago when we first met in the first week of University, we quickly become close friends and have been ever since. Neither of us expected to ever go into business together but the idea for Equi came about organically in 2015.

We were on quite different paths at Uni; Rosie was studying Economics and then went straight into the City working at Investment Banks for years. Alice was studying Biomedical Sciences, then did a second degree in Nutritional Therapy and went on to set up her London clinic. (She still runs a busy clinic now, helping people with all sorts of issues from low energy, skin problems, digestive concerns, immune and hormone imbalances.)

The corporate Banking world was a pretty full-on way of life and it’s safe to say Rosie was burning the candle at both ends - like so many of us do! Her skin had flared up badly when she stopped taking the contraceptive pill which she had been on for many years. She was preparing to have a baby so harsh medications were out of the question and she wanted to get to the route cause of her issues. Rosie was already eating pretty well, but as well as a few tweaks to her diet, Alice suggested a range of supplements that not only cleared her skin up but also improved her energy, digestion, concentration, sleep. She felt the best she had in years and it was then that she really realised how sub-par she’d been feeling on a day-to-day basis.

- What’s the idea behind your business?

We’d seen first hand the distinct lack of effective supplements on the market - and from both angles. Alice as a nutritionist looking for products for her clients, and Rosie actually as a customer trying to find something to support her skin. The supplement market is incredibly confusing; from ineffective, cheap mass-market products to the supplements Alice had given Rosie. These were only available through practitioners or specialist websites, were unbranded and sold in single forms -meaning you need to buy and take almost 10 different products, with the help of an expert (or hours of research) guiding you.

We realised that there was a need for readily available, effective supplements that make a real difference to how you look and feel, so we decided to create our own.

Our products are based on Functional Medicine, the scientific understanding that the body has 8 internal interdependent systems and that optimum health comes from nourishing them all. Busy, modern life means that we don’t always eat the full and varied diet we need; grabbing lunch on the go, eating out with friends or blowing off steam at the weekend. Modern stresses mean we burn through nutrients at a much faster rate and often aren’t prioritising rest and sleep to aid recovery. And very often, we simply ignore the body’s warning signs that it needs more attention; low energy, poor concentration, problem skin, bloating, foggy head in the morning, frequent colds, bad pms etc. We just power on through.

Based on her years of experience in clinic, Alice formulated Equi products to be uniquely comprehensive so that they work deep at your core, nourishing all of your body to help keep you feeling your best. We wanted to create trustworthy, effective products, removing the need to research, buy and take several different supplements to get what Equi gives you in one - perfect for the busy, on-the-go lives so many of us live.

We started with a skin product, Beauty Formula for which we’ve won several awards and then extended our range to include a general wellbeing product which is very energising, mind and immune-supporting, Original Formula. We also offer a healthy weight management product, Lean Formula and a Pregnancy product of which we’re very proud to have had fertility experts say it’s the best on the market. We also have some more beauty supplements coming soon which we’re very excited about! All of our products have their own story behind them and we’ve really tried to fill any gaps in the market we personally see.

- Do you have a company motto?

Equi (equilibrium) is all about balance - we believe that a balanced life is a happy life. Be it balancing work and play, motherhood and me time, your diet and your body’s internal functioning… effective balance is the key in all of it! We’re don’t believe in health fads, misleading information or restriction. We’re all about having a few drinks and enjoying life, but nourishing the body effectively so you can keep up with the pace. This is where Equi comes in.

- What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs? When you’re running your own company, work and life kind of become the same thing, which is fun at times but can also be draining if you aren’t careful. Even though we sell nutritional supplements we employ a lot of technology to streamline the day-to-day functionality of the business - which means everything can be controlled by from your phone… so switching off is only possible when you turn your phone off; how often does that happen?! 

- How do you overcome this struggle?

Lucky for us, when you’re working with your best friend work feels less arduous and you can also plan your day the way you want to. We both make sure we eat well, exercise regularly and of course take our supplements, which keep us feeling great.  We have both been guilty of not switching off enough in the past so we make a conscious effort to take time away, whether that be socialising with friends or making time for an evening Epsom salt bath with magazines… Equi does stand for balance after-all! - What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur journey? There have been many challenges on our journey, but it’s all worth it when you get people sending you wonderful feedback about the products, and saying how positively they have impacted their lives. This never gets old for us – it’s what we live for!

Other highlights include launching our company at the same time we launched with Net-a-Porter – we were the first new wellness brand they took on. Also winning ‘Best Wellness Product for our Beauty Formula at the Beauty Awards!

- What was your biggest personal achievement? Rosie: Even with all of the successes Equi has had and also in my prior life in the Banking world, my daughter will always be top of the list…as I know all the Mamas out there will relate to. Balancing it all and mustering the energy after a long and busy day to play princesses or bake cupcakes isn’t always the easiest - there have been definite moments of being totally overwhelmed (pitching successfully to Net-a-porter when she was only a few months old being one!). But I feel very lucky to have both elements in my life and she brings us so much love and joy... it’s all about balance as we say!

Alice: I published a book two years ago which got to number 9 on Amazon bestseller list - this was a seriously proud moment for me! Recently I have also loved working with Deliciously Ella - she invited me on her Podcast to discuss how to eat a balanced vegan diet and though this was for work, it felt like a really big personal achievement too. 

- What is the greatest lesson you've learned from being an entrepreneur? There are so many lessons we have learnt but our biggest priority is to never forget the key reason we set out to do what we did. For us, helping women feel their best and having the absolute best products on the market is the most important thing that we do. This sounds simple but we believe that never letting these standards slip is absolutely essential to creating a successful business.

- How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?

Our morning routines are a really important part of helping us to stay well on a daily basis and managing the constant juggle of life. We find these keep us inspired and above all balanced, which is so important when running a business.

Rosie: I have a 3-year-old daughter who will wake us up at 7am, so mornings are spent playing with her, then getting her ready for nursery, which is sometimes easier than others! Then off to the gym for a work out which is a treasured moment of ‘me time’. I won’t eat before I work out, but will have a hot water with lemon and ginger, or herbal tea whilst I’m getting my daughter ready, then a post work out smoothie which is when I take my daily dose of Equi.

Alice: I used to be one of those people that was on their phone and emails from the moment I woke up, but last year I decided to make a conscious effort to spend a few moment each morning focusing on my goals, or even spending 3 minutes journaling whilst I wait for the kettle to boil. This doesn’t always happen but I always feel so much happier when I manage to find time. I am more of a morning exerciser than afternoon, so try and be active even if it’s just popping out for a walk in Battersea Park. I can’t live without breakfast so I normally quickly whip up some eggs and avo or a smoothie followed by Equi, and then it’s either straight to my clinic or heading to meet Rosie at the office. I also love dipping into a book called The Daily Stoic for inspiration – it’s full of soundbites of wisdom!

- Who’s the female entrepreneur or leader that you admire the most and why?

There are so many, but right now we are really admiring Audrey Gelman who is an American entrepreneur. She’s recently raised $94 million for her business The Wing, much of which was arranged whilst she is pregnant. Women the world over are cheering a recent decision by Inc. Magazine to feature her looking visibly pregnant on its cover, and we feel this is rightly challenging the perceived status quo on what working women can achieve even if they also want to start a family. - Do you have any advice to give to the new female entrepreneurs?

Prioritise effectively. Ask yourself whether each task is really what you need to be doing – we can get so bogged down with the minutia that we sometimes forget the bigger picture.

Learn how to say no! We just can’t do it all, and we certainly can’t do it all well, so you need to accept that you're probably going to need to sacrifice something – just remember it won’t be forever.

You’ve heard it before but keep a list by your bed so that if something comes to you in the night you can note it down and not forget it! Make sure you have your to-do list to hand at all times – we love Evernote or Minimal List and we can share them so we are both on track.

Stop working post 8pm and take time to wind down for bed - easier said than done but a better sleep is always guaranteed and we all function after a good night’s rest.

Thank you Alice and Rosie! To find out more about Equi, go visit their website www.equilondon.com and follow them on their Instagram page @equilondon.

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