A mother-of-two teetering on the brink of bankruptcy has turned her life around by launching a multi-million dollar beauty brand that now sells 10,000 products a week.
Felicity Evans started making probiotics in the kitchen of her Byron Bay home in 2014 to alleviate her ‘intense digestive troubles’, and soon realised her formula could help thousands of women do the same.
Juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship, the event manager would wake at 4am to bottle drinks in the kitchen of her Byron Bay home before bundling her two young daughters into the back of her car to deliver them by hand.
‘When I look back on all the nappy changes, lunch time stories, doctors appointments and nursery rhymes, I sometimes wonder how the hell I did it all,’ Ms Evans, 38, told Daily Mail Australia.
What started as a side gig shipping a handful of orders per week is now a booming business specialising in tonics and edible powders clinically proven to improve hair growth, skin elasticity, skin smoothness, collagen production and nail strength.
Scroll down for video
Event manager turned entrepreneur Felicity Evans, who brought herself from the brink of bankruptcy to launch a multi-million dollar beauty business
Imbibe’s $40 Miracle Collagen, which promises to wind back the clock from the inside out
‘We send well over 10,000 products a week to our customers around the world. I’m still pinching myself – we used to get excited over 10 a day!’ Ms Evans said.
Six years ago, she started with a range of probiotic drinks called Water Kefir designed to heal and support gut health.
Since then, her brand Imbibe has gained a loyal customer base thanks to another product: Miracle Collagen, a $40 best-selling supplement powder formulated by microbiologists that promises to wind back the clock from the inside out.
Stirring two teaspoons into a drink once a day is said to ‘combat early signs of aging to restore the look of juicy, hydrated skin’, thanks to ingredients which have been shown to stimulate the production of collagen.
Collagen is linked to a slew of health benefits including reduced wrinkles, stronger bones, brighter skin and smoother movement of joints, with a booming industry built on its back in recent years.
The global collagen market is projected to generate more than $1billion (AUD) by 2026, a research report from Global Market Insights reveals.
And Ms Evans looks set to carve out an impressive piece of that for a woman who created an edible beauty range with no previous experience in cosmetics or business.
Model Isabella Gray (pictured) mixes the Beauty Renewal Probiotic Concentrate and Miracle Collagen together to create a ‘potent gut and skin healing mocktail’
It’s also impressive that the range is one of the most natural sold in Australia.
Sourced from global certified livestock welfare animals, it’s non-GMO, kosher and halal and contains no fillers, flavourings, soy, corn, dairy, sugar, chemicals, fake flavourings, preservatives, artificial colours, stabilisers, food acids or gluten.
Her products, which are now bottled and shipped from a factory in northern New South Wales, have received more than 4,000 five-star reviews from customers who say they have changed their lives.
‘We’ve had young women who have been able to reverse their acne prone skin,’ Ms Evans said.
‘We’ve heard from women in their 70s who can be active again because collagen has strengthened their joints, and women who have regained their power.’
Women claim Ms Evans’ (left) Miracle Collagen powder (right) has changed their lives
Felicity Evans top tips for gut health
1. Stress less
‘This is so overlooked. Living in a stressed state wreaks havoc on our microbial balance and digestion, which in turn is detrimental to our overall health,’ Ms Evans said.
She advises practicing deep breathing and active relaxation techniques like box breathing for a few minutes each day.
2. Eat the rainbow
‘We need prebiotics to feed our probiotics, and we find prebiotics in vegetables,’ she said.
Ms Evans suggests filling your plate to half or three-quarters full with colourful veggies to supply plenty of prebiotics and fibre to help your gut health thrive.
3. Cut down on sugar
‘Sugar feeds the bad bacteria it’s the quickest way to get you to a distended, bloated and super inflamed gut,’ she said.
4. Take probiotics
Ms Evans is a vocal supporter of probiotics, which are the good bacteria needed to encourage microbial diversity, help digest the nutrients from our food and ‘crowd out’ bad bacteria.
‘Sleep often, sleep deeply and sleep restfully,’ she said.
‘The longer we can rest and restore the better chance we give our bodies to take in all the beautiful nutrients, vitamins and minerals we feed our bodies every day.’
Solid sleep night after night has been linked to higher energy levels, improved digestion and more positive thought patterns.
Eliza Hartigan started using the powder after struggling with dull, blemished skin that felt ‘rough, bumpy and lack-luster’ for years.
‘I had tried everything under the sun: changing my diet, changing my skin care routine, face masks and hopping around on one foot singing a song (hypothetically), and yet nothing worked,’ she wrote, before reading reviews and trying the collagen powder as well as the brand’s probiotic, Beauty Renewal ($44).
Ms Hartigan said her eyelashes grew, her skin shone with radiance and even her normally intense period pain reduced to light cramping.
‘If I had a dollar for every time someone mentioned how glowing my skin was, then I would be a very wealthy woman,’ she said.
Customer Eliza Hartigan (pictured) started using the powder after struggling with dull, blemished skin that felt ‘rough, bumpy and lack-luster’ for years
If I had a dollar for every time someone mentioned how glowing my skin was, I would be a very wealthy woman,’ Eliza (pictured before and after using Imbibe) said
The benefits of collagen explained
What is collagen?
Collagen is the main structural protein that forms connective tissues in your body like muscles, ligaments, skin and bones.
Proteins, like collagen, are both built from and can be broken down into amino acids. There are 20 essential amino acids that the body needs to be able to move and function, heal, rebuild and repair from the constant duress that our bodies are under.
Of these amino acids, your body only produces nine itself, meaning the rest need to come from your diet.
Although there are 28 different types of collagen proteins in your body, 90 percent are made from five different kinds, referred to as Types I, II, III, V, IV. These types of collagen are found abundantly in the body in our youth and manage things like skin, hair, nails, gut health, muscle and muscle repair.
Why do we need it?
Our bodies do naturally produce collagen, and in fact, your skin (the largest organ in the body), is made up of 80 percent collagen peptides alone. Collagen is actually referred to the scaffolding of the skin; just like the structure of a building, it’s collagen that holds everything together, holds it up and acts as the main support to keep your skin tight, plump and glowing. Without collagen, your skin would droop from day one.
As we age our body produces less and less collagen and we use more and more of our natural stores to keep our tissue happy and healthy.
Our stores are also depleting at an accelerated rate with higher exposure to air pollution, toxins and the sun. We are literally losing it faster than our bodies can make it.
According to the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, using a hydrolyzed collagen supplement increases not only your skins elasticity, but also your overall collagen density in the body, hydration and ability to repair tissue at an accelerated rate.
It’s customer testimonials like Ms Hartigan’s that have ensured the incredible success of Ms Evans’ brand, which she promises is only getting started.
An expansion into overseas markets and the opening of a ‘bespoke facial room’ at Imbibe’s Byron Bay headquarters is planned for 2021, but the founder – who describes herself as a ‘woman who doesn’t take no for an answer’ – has no intention of stopping there.
‘I’ve built my dream business from the ground up, and I promise you, we’ve only just begun,’ Ms Evans said.
To view the full range of Imbibe products, please click here.