Jun 27

Catherine de Groot, Co-founder of Organic Skincare Range ‘Triology’ shares her business learnings

I just arrived home from another fantastic Bubbles & Inspiration event and had to act on the urge to post! Tonights speaker was Catherine de Groot, who co-founded organic skincare range Triology with her sister Sarah (that's Sarah on the left with Catherine).  

business experts, business advice, inspiration

If you want to talk stats and figures, then the Triology story is pretty impressive – in 2006 Trilogy was the 3rd fastest growing New Zealand business on the Deloitte/Unlimited fast 50 index with a staggering 690% growth and it has recently sold to natural home fragrance, bath and body company Ecoya in a $20 million deal.

But is it the story and the ethics behind the Triology sisters and their brand that is really inspiring.

I'm a social entrepreneur at heart. Making money and making a difference,  creating a shift in the way we do business and re-defining 'leadership' within a new ethical and moral framework are the kind of things that get me going.

So I was stoked to discover that not only did Triology fit right into this business model, but founder Catherine de Groot lived in the same neighbourhood and was speaking at a local networking event!

Catherines presentation was fun, interesting and loaded with tips for budding and established entrepreneurs. It was so great to be able to learn from all Catherine's experiences in business – including but not exclusive to her Triology successes.

These are key learnings I took away. 

Don't give up

This is one I keep hearing again and again (I think the universe is telling me something!). Be persistent and keep trying. You don't have to have a the best idea in the world – just a good one. You must believe utterly in your vision and what you are doing and stick at it. It took Catherine and Sarah months and months of trying to get their products in a major Australian outlet but they kept at it until they finally succeeded and this kind of persistance has had a huge impact on their business. 

Everybody has to start somewhere. Catherine has a varied and interesting background with lots of different experiences. She has had failures as well as great success. If she can do it so can you (or me!)

A clear vision is crucial to success

Have a clear vision. This is the most important thing. Hold on strongly to that vision and everything else will fall into place. And yes, we're pretty happy with how aligned these words of wisdom are with the work we are doing here at LYSB!)

Take risks.

Don't be afraid to do things differently, to stand out from the crowd. I took this to also mean; don't be afraid to be yourself.  And if you are going to a job interview with Catherine and Sarah, wear pink tights and sit in a funky looking chair!

Relationships are key.

Pick up the phone and connect with people as often as you can. Don't just rely on email, facebook and twitter all the time as they don't build relationships (our social media coach @JoDodds may have something to say about this, could be an interesting debate!). Social media aside, the point is that you can't beat a face-2-face connection, lets do it more.


Catherine's words on outsourcing as a key part of the Triology business model echoed what Systems Coach Kerry Ann Orr said at our recent 'Profit with Purpose' Telestummit – that outsourcing, delegating and automating are key to successful business growth and ultimately, work life balance, and this approach has clearly worked for the Triology team . It is impossible to get the growth you want if you insist on doing all the work yourself. Do what you love, what you are passionate about and get expert help and advice for the rest!

Make the most of free PR

You don't need a huge marketing budget to spread the word about your product or service. The media are a great source of free advertising. Have the confidence to share your story and trust that people will find it interesting and even inspirational!

If you are unsure how to go about making the most of PR Paula Gardner of doyourownpr.com gives away lots of great free tips. You could also check out this ethically minded PR company Soul PR run by Kimberly Paterson

Give away free stuff.

Generate good will by giving away free stuff. It could be sample products or if you provide a service it could be really great free advice and tips of relevance to your clients/customers (that's our angle). Whatever you choose, give people a taste of who you are and what you offer for free and watch the word spread.

Finally, a big thank-you for tonights dose of inspiration.

Like many of the other women at this event, I had to shoot off home fairly quickly to see to baby bedtime. I'm excited about chatting to Catherine again sometime soon (fingers crossed!) as we hope to feature Triology in an exciting new blog series we've got planned….. so watch this space.

Thanks again to Catherine for a wonderful evening – and to Sara and Carissa the organisers of the Bubbles & Inspiration series of events, we do appreciate all the hard work you put into bringing these wonderful events to little old Masterton.

Did you feel inspired by Catherine's talk?

If you did, please share your comments, inspirations or reflections here. I'm  sure Catherine would love to hear them, we'll be sure to let her know about this post!

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  • KerryAnneOrr

    Great article @leadwithpurpose, and thanks for the mention!

  • jododds

    Interesting you should ask the question about face to face and telephone; a forthcoming webinar for the members of my online marketing membership site is all about ‘getting over the fear and reluctance to pick up the phone’! I agree that face to face or at least voice to voice is really important.

    However I would disagree with the comment that Email. Twitter and Facebook don’t build relationships. They can and do. Everyone is different and my first choice of communication wouldn’t be the phone; I have built some very strong relationships with people through written rather than spoke means!

    What do others think?

  • JanineOgg

    Cheers for the comments @jododds and @KerryAnneOrr . Jo, I am becoming more convinced about using SM to build relationships. Now that I have a better idea of how to use LinkedIn, FB, twitter etc I am starting to have fun with it and ‘meet’ people. As a relative newbie I am guessing that like ‘live’ relationship building it takes time and effort to form great relationships with people. Ask me again in 6 months time and I’ll let you know how it;s evolved and what I think on this question!

  • SophieMunro

    Nice work Joggy. They’re certainly inspirational women – not to mention a great product. x

  • jododds

    That I will @JanineOgg !

  • AnnChin

    I am a sands mum reading Baby Gone, I an inspired and curious about you who donated so baby books, Thanks,



  • JanineOgg

    HI @AnnChin thanks for the post. I had a quick look at your blog and it looks like great work you are doing, but very challenging. Can you clarify wha tyou mean about donating the baby books? Thanks! Janine

  • JanineOgg

    Hey Soph! thanks for the comment. I feel a train trip to Petone coming on soon where we can chat about the wonder of triology products in person! Will txt soon. @SophieMunro

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