Over Coffee With THE BEAUTY CHEF Founder, Carla Oates

Our first feature for 2018 is setting the bar very high! Our founder Beck Wadworth, has been a dedicated fan of The Beauty Chef products for years and loves the philosophy that 'beauty begins in the belly'. Beck chatted to owner, Carla Oates, about how her business came about, what her advice would be for budding entrepreneurs, her skincare advice and of course - how she stays so organised while her business grows from strength to strength...

First things first, how did The Beauty Chef come about?

As a child, I suffered from eczema and had a number of allergies so after years of suffering I finally went and saw a naturopath who drastically changed my diet. When I took certain things out and introduced more wholefoods, I saw a dramatic change in my skin. So, from quite early on, I had a very good understanding about how food and gut health can affect the skin.  

Due to my skin problems and also my daughter’​s (who also suffered from allergies and eczema), I have spent the last ten years focused on researching, teaching and creating products that focus on gut health and experimenting with and researching lacto fermented foods (which produce natural probiotics). This has made a huge difference to my skin and also my daughter’s. I know it doesn’t sound very glamorous, but beautiful, glowing skin does begin in your gut. If you're working toward more radiant and glowing skin, you might be surprised to know that the answer lies more in your digestive tract rather than on how much you're spending on creams and cleansers.

More than twenty years of research has gone into the development of our unique bio-fermentation process called Flora Culture™. This special process breaks down foods making them more available for the body to use as well as creating a natural, broad-spectrum probiotic to help support gut health. Our blends are made with carefully selected Certified Organic ingredients that nourish from the inside, so skin glows on the outside. 

When you ferment foods, nutrients are made more bio-available for the skin to use. The beneficial bacteria break down the foods so they are easier to digest. Lacto-fermentation also creates naturally occurring probiotics that help balance the gut and therefore the skin. We have this incredible process that turns natural ingredients into supercharged and super-active ingredients – and it is all done by nature! 

When I created The Beauty Chef, it was with the intention of educating women that glowing skin comes from within, which means feeding your skin from the inside out. And more specifically that "beauty begins in the belly” – good gut health is vital for healthy, robust, radiant skin. 


What gave you the confidence to start The Beauty Chef & how did you know the time was right?

My interest in natural health and beauty began as a teenager when I suffered from eczema and allergies and grew stronger

When I became a beauty editor some 15 years ago, I was concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare products and I felt very passionate about helping to change the paradigm in the beauty industry. I knew that beauty began in the belly from my own experience; your gut is where everything happens: where we make nutrients, where we metabolise hormones, where we neutralise pathogens, where we make detoxifying enzymes. All of these things if not working properly or in balance, can affect the skin profoundly. Also, the skin, hair and nails are the last places to get nutrients that go to more vital organs first, so if you are not getting enough nutrients, they literally starve.  So I made it my mission to help change that paradigm and educate people on how to look after their skin more holistically and more specifically, from the inside out. 

I published a book called Feeding Your Skin with Penguin (in 2004) and penned a DIY beauty column for the Sunday Telegraph for eight years as well as being the natural beauty editor for Wellbeing Mag for 12 years (which I still am). During this I made all my own skincare from scratch from plants and organic foods and researched the best foods and nutrients for skincare- both internally and topically.  

My daughter suffred from eczema around 10 years ago and as a result I was doing some research and stumbled across some research around gut and skin health and eczema and the possible link.  I put her on a gut healing protocol, part of which included consuming lacto-fermented, probiotic foods, and I saw a huge difference to her skin. So, I started making my own fermented foods and continued to see the effects to the skin and wellbeing of the entire family.. People were asking me what cream I was using because they saw my skin was glowing! I created quite a demand for my fermented foods, soon supplying to extended family, and friends of friends, so it seemed a natural progression to launch The Beauty Chef. GLOW was my first product – with 24 bio-fermented, skin loving superfoods.


What is the one piece of advice you would give budding entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business?

I know it is a cliché, but behind every successful business is a lot of hard work. I often say this to my children. Do what you love, because success requires hard work, so you might as well spend the hard work doing something you wholeheartedly enjoy. Plus, you are bound to be more successful doing something that you have fire, passion and drive for. There are many good ideas out there, but to make them concrete requires hard work and resilience.

I love the hard work, and that’s because I love what I do. As Albert Ellis once poignantly said, "The art of love is largely the art of persistence."  Another great quote I like by Thomas Jefferson is, "I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it".


What has been your highlight & your most challenging moment/s to date as a business women?

It’s crazy to look at how far the brand has come! When I started in 2009, I was the first to create a product in the ‘inner beauty’ category so it was a challenge to break into the mainstream beauty market. Although the reaction from wholesalers who tested the products personally was overwhelmingly positive, the feedback from a business perspective was that they were too left of field. Lacto-fermentation and the benefits of probiotics were more understood in the health arena, than the beauty industry, so it was a very new concept for the beauty world.

I remember there was a buyer who called me and said, “I tried your powders and my skin is amazing, everyone is asking me what I'm doing differently. I want to buy your product and put it on the shelves, but right now there's no category for it.”

Now we have over 200 stockists worldwide with more opening every week, and thousands of women all over the world are taking our products. I’m always thrilled to hear feedback on how much it’s helped them.


What are the top ways you organise your life?

  •  Writing to do lists.
  • Being realistic about what I can get done in a day.
  • Prioritising, and making sure the important things get done first.
  • I have also learnt to say no. It is impossible to find life/work balance if you say yes to everything. 
  • Delegating is another way I organise my life. 
  • Running and founding a business can be a pretty chaotic job. ​In order to truly succeed as a successful entrepreneur, it's important to try and ensure your work life and home life are balanced and organised. 

Paul J Meyer (a pioneer of the self-improvement industry) once said “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”


Delegation must be a massive part of your job as the director of The Beauty Chef. How have you learnt to delegate as you have grown the business over the years?

Also the BBC reports that “delegating gets harder to do the higher someone goes up the corporate ladder.” I have found this to be true as moving from the world of journalism to entrepreneurism, delegation has become much more difficult. This is simply due to wanting to be involved in every single part of the process. If like me you have developed a brand from the beginning, you feel as though it is your other 'child' so it is hard to let certain things go. However, the art of delegation really is important to ensure you are free of administrative minutiae tasks so I can spend more time being creative and taking the business to the next level. 

Firstly, you have to choose the right people to delegate too, your team is important as they are the people you will entrust those tasks you wish you could be doing yourself! Incorporate delegation into what you already do and then LET GO! 


Any other organisation tips that help you stay focused and on top of your workload? 

One thing that really keeps me stay productive, focused and energised is going for a walk along Bondi Beach, in particular I love doing the Bondi to Bronte walk as well as long walks around Centennial Park. Walking along the water’s edge or through the park really clears my mind and helps me focus and keep productive throughout the day. While on a walk I find clarity of mind and often come up with new creative ideas for the business! I also find solutions to problems often come to me. I try not to ever skip out on being physical or amongst nature. That goes for when I’m on holiday too! I love bushwalking and snorkelling – it’s one of my all-time favourite things to do. When I get back to work I have key tasks set as well as the energy to get them done!

I also try to set group tasks. This is collecting all of your similar tasks for the day (or week) and doing them all at once. I allocate time per day for each important task which has really helped minimise disorganisation! This might include sitting down to my emails for thirty minutes at 10am, writing content for the website or blog in a single morning, or take an afternoon to look at new formulations and discuss these with my team of scientists. After learning how to group my tasks together and give them a strict time frame I have become 10 times more productive! I also only choose a few key tasks to focus on each day to ensure I am staying on track and actually completing my tasks rather t
han choosing too many priorities which can leave you feeling as if your day is turning into disorganised chaos. Staying organised is as much about what you choose not to do as it is about what you choose to do. As the weeks fill up quickly I would also recommend you start your high priority tasks at the beginning of the week to ensure you actually get through them.


How do you manage your workload? Are you a to do list lover?

Yes, I have lots of to do lists and my assistant compiles them for me and often lets me know when it is getting to too long and we need to edit it! Then we prioritise the list and pick off one thing at a time, and put in realistic time frames of when they will get done.


What is your workspace style & what essentials would I find on your desk at the moment?

 I like to keep our office clean and calm. We have fresh white walls and floors and lots of plants, plants in the work place have been shown to reduce environmental stresses, like anxiety, anger and fatigue. Plus, they look beautiful!

On my desk are new product I'm formulating, an Aloe Vera plant, essential oil burner and always a cup of herbal tea (green, peppermint, ginger - it depends on the time of day).​ Also a big water bottle with The Beauty Chef’s Boosts in it. Also Beauty Fix Balm which  apply to my hands, nails and lips throughout the day.


Your skin is absolutely incredible! What’s your biggest skincare secret that anyone on any budget can achieve? 

Thank you.

For beautiful glowing skin, I recommend taking all the processed and packet foods out of your diet and add some lacto-fermented foods instead.

Lacto-Fermented foods are rich in bio-available nutrients and probiotics to feed the skin from within (fermentation predigests the food, so the nutrients are more available for the skin and body to use) and are great for improving digestion as they contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Great examples are sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi, or try The Beauty Chef GLOW Advanced Inner Beauty Powder, which contains 24 different skin-loving, lacto-fermented super foods. 

Prebiotics and probiotics work to improve gut health and boost your immune system. They also support the body’s detoxification and elimination pathways. Probiotics directly neutralise certain chemicals and toxins so that they don’t have to be processed through the liver. This helps to ease the burden on the liver and the skin. A happy gut also means a healthy immune system, healthier bowels, healthier skin and better absorption of nutrients.

More and more research is showing the gut/skin link. For example a lack of hydrochloric acid in the gut is implicated in skin problems such as acne and rosacea. Lactic acid bacteria (found in our fermented products) helps increase levels of this acid. Poor digestive health means that the lining of our gut becomes more permeable than it should (also called “leaky gut”), food particles can slip thru and our immune system sees those as foreign substances. This leads to an inflammatory response in the body, and one of the main effects we see is skin disturbance, such as eczema, acne, and dermatitis. When we restore healthy digestion, our skin can revitalize. The fermentation process and probiotics like the ones found in our Glow Powder work together to get the digestive system back on track. Fermented foods promote better digestive health, leading to greater absorption of nutrients and improved liver. Probiotics are billions of good bacteria to keep the digestive system healthy and boost the immune system of the body and skin.

At The Beauty Chef we believe that good skin begins in the gut - it is about working from the gut outwards. The hair, nails and skin are the last places to get nutrients, which go to more vital organs first. So, if you are not getting enough of the right nutrients then these areas starve. Eating fermented foods helps ensure that your body is getting nutritionally dense food.

If your gut is out of balance, start eating fermented foods slowly. As you are suddenly putting all of this goodness into your tummy, it may take a few weeks to adjust. Maybe a few tablespoons to begin with, and then build up. It will make you feel more energised - think about the supercharged nutrients going straight into your body, as the food is already broken down and your body doesn't have to work hard to get them. You will notice your skin looking better, more radiant, and hair and nails, stronger and more lustrous. You will find that your tummy is flatter, bowel habits more regular and you may feel more content, as your neurotransmitters are also made in your gut.

I eat lots and lots of plants, all different varieties, herbs, spices, organic wherever possible. 70% are plants and some fermented in there, 20% good quality protein: grass fed or wild caught fish and sometimes 10% complex carbohydrates, but always gluten free – sweet potato, quinoa for example. I am a big believer in maintaining balance in life. This means being conscious about putting enough time into the things that matter such as your diet, spending time with those you love, having fun and working with purpose and also keeping an open mind. While I eat a very balanced diet and take into account different ideologies of eating, I avoid extreme fad diets and belief systems. I love raw food, but I also think it is important for digestion to eat some cooked food. Some food is better for you when cooked. I embrace many of the principles of paleo, but don’t have a completely paleo diet. The only thing I am quite extreme about is wholefoods. I choose low HI foods wherever possible – (low human intervention foods!). There is not much room in my world for processed food!


Talk me through your products - I use GLOW, SLEEP & COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost daily & I’m obsessed! What are your go-to faves & why?

I never go anywhere without my GLOW Inner Beauty Powder. It is my daily skin support and maintenance staple. It gives me an excellent dose of skin loving nutrients and also probiotics to nourish and boost digestive health. GLOW contains 24 carefully selected skin-loving ingredients, rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids and pre and probiotics, making it a powerhouse of nutrients in every 5g spoonful. Ingredients including organic Maqui berry, chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, rice, linseeds, buckwheat, millet, alfalfa seeds, quinoa, chia, pepitas, sun flower seeds, green tea, ginger, turmeric and more, all super-charged using The Beauty Chef’s exclusive Flora CultureTM bio-fermentation process

The Beauty Chef BODY Inner Beauty Powder is packed with three clean sources of fermented, bio-available plant proteins, super-fruits, vegetables, alkalizing greens, probiotics and matcha. Boasting benefits such as increased metabolism, immune boosting properties, energy enhancement and improved general wellbeing. This superfood supplement can be used in a meal supplement in a smoothie, pre/post work out drink, after school snack or for those who need added protein in their diets – or an immune and nutrient booster.  The 45 superfoods found in the formula contribute to it giving you 100% of your RDI of vitamin C and 50% of your RDI of vitamin D.

The Beauty Chef COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost is a delicious, organic, bio-fermented probiotic concentrate designed to increase the skin’s production of collagen and promote a radiant, naturally plumped complexion from the inside out. Specifically formulated to address skin firmness, fine lines, free-radical damage and aid skin maintenance, COLLAGEN contains a blend of biofermented, Certified Organic maqui berry, acai, papaya, blueberry, goji-berry and pomegranate with grape-seed extract, zinc and vitamin C. Boosting natural collagen formation from the inside, this potent formula is also rich in antioxidants to help combat cellular damage and support healthy skin, hair and nail growth.


Where to from here? What are your goals for The Beauty Chef?

At The Beauty Chef, we will continue to create products and content that help to create positive change. To keep pushing boundaries in the beauty industry and re-enforcing The Beauty Chef’s philosophy that “Beauty Begins in The Belly”. Looking after your skin from within will create a radiance that no amounts of cosmetics can replicate and the bonus is that it makes you feel great too. The Beauty Chef was the world’s first bio-fermented inner beauty brand. Our products are literally alive with beneficial bacteria that help to balance digestive health! If you want beautiful, glowing skin, you need to start with a balanced, healthy gut.





Visit Faceplus Medispa in Bondi Beach to shop The Beauty Chef favourites and to pamper your skin. They live by the same moto as Carla. 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published