SOME might think it's a little bit crazy to leave a cushy legal career in pursuit of the startup life, but for Bernadette Favis 'going nuts' has been her biggest calling card for success.
Favis is in the process of transitioning away from her career as a corporate lawyer to head up Cocolife, an ethically sourced coconut oil business which she began while on her own journey to a healthier lifestyle.
"A few years ago when I was about 25 I was a little bit overweight, and as a part of my health and wellness journey I wanted to learn more about food, and know about the things I was putting into my body," says Favis.
"I did some research, and educated myself about healthy living and eating a balanced diet, and that's when I started really getting back to coconut oil and products."
After working hard and losing 30kg as a result of her newfound determination, Favis entered the coconut business to share her passion for wellbeing with others.
Originally from the Phillippines, Favis sources all Cocolife product from the local farms of her home country.
Best business practice alongside a rich culture of good food and produce has always been instilled by her family ties.
"Back in the Phillippines my family owned local fruit and veg stores, so being in business has always been embedded in my blood," she says.
"When I started using coconut oil more I was getting my grandmother to bring it over from the Phillippines when she'd come to visit.
"I just had the urge to share that same good quality coconut oil with everyone."
Bootstrapping the business from the ground up with her own savings, Favis far overshot her initial expectations by selling out her first batch of Cocolife product within only three months.
Cocolife products now grace the shelves of food and health outlets across the country, including big brand retailers such as Costco.
Favis says her talents in law have boosted her business skills along the journey.
"Obviously it's a big shift from the corporate world into being a startup, but I'm proud and passionate to be a lawyer. Having that skill set helped a lot in establishing my business," says Favis.
She also believes that achieving success in small business is all about attitude and keeping a positive mindset.
"No matter how tired or unmotivated you are, it's always about reminding yourself of why you're doing it, and appreciating the small wins," says Favis.
"I think people sometimes get really caught up with comparing themselves to other people's success stories and they forget that in reality, they are doing fantastic as well."
Favis has been named a Young Organic Leader (30 and Under) finalist in the 2016 Australian Organic Annual Awards, with the winners to be announced next month.
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