Catherine Cervasio is the founder of multi-million dollar organic skincare brand ‘Aromababy‘, frequently seen with celebrities such as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, Princess Mary of Denmark to Hollywood icon John Travolta and his late wife Kelly Preston.
Cervasio’s portfolio also includes organic home spa product line, PureSpa, with its men’s products given to the likes of Hollywood A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.
Ms Cervasio offered AESTOLOGYY an honest reflection of her business journey, including a raw look into the impact of divorce on her 7-figure business, hoping it will inspire and equip others.
“Divorce is real – if 50% of marriages end in divorce, we need to be talking about the practical side of mixing business with love,” says Cervasio.
AESTOLOGYY: How did you choose your business idea, and how did you know it was worth pursuing?
CATHERINE: I was retrenched from my job developing body care for the likes of iconic Australian retailer Myer. Newly pregnant and extremely passionate about health, I looked for natural skincare for my baby – there was absolutely nothing in 1994.
As I delved into skincare ingredients used in baby products, I found research of links between topical products and eczema. I felt I had to do something about this. I spent the next year working on a core range of gentle, natural skincare products based on baby-safe, organic botanicals and launched what became the first collection of its kind – beautiful, natural products for mother and child – all made in Australia.
AESTOLOGYY: What do you attribute to the ‘success’ of your multi-million dollar empire?
Being first to market certainly had its advantages, however, with being a pioneer comes the need to educate; not only the customers (parents), but the store buyers too.
I invested heavily into education and went back to school to study, completing a Diploma in Aromatherapy and then Infant Massage Instruction. ‘Natural’ and ‘organic’ were little known 25+ years ago, there were only a handful of brands in this space – there was a very limited market in our home of Australia.
With being a pioneer comes the need to educate.
This led me to look at exporting as a means to sustain the business: Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore all came calling. I ran educational workshops in each region and shared my love for all things natural and organic with audiences. Being in front of people talking about your brand, your business means you get to share the passion for what you do, and your story, over and over.
I’m sure this ‘sharing’ helped establish my brand as something authentic and quite unique. Export itself has definitely helped propel Aromababy to global significance.
AESTOLOGYY: What have been some of your biggest business accomplishments?
Being the first to export these types of products from Australia to the likes of UAE, Malaysia, Taiwan and Norway even Cyprus, would have to be one of my biggest achievements thus far.
Running workshops for midwives in China, travelling alone and navigating the entire cultural landscape is also right up there.
AESTOLOGYY: Tell us about the way in which you’ve managed to accrue celebrity users and fans for your skincare empire?
For reaching celebrities, it’s almost always been very ‘organic.’ For example, with John Travolta we were asked to provide a gift from a personal contact of mine. The gift was sent to John, who was in town for Qantas’ 90th Anniversary. John took the gift home to his late wife Kelly, who later wrote me a thank you note. Sometime after, I ended up at an event in LA where both John and beautiful Kelly were guests, and they thanked me in person – this is an example of something really coming full circle.
For me, it’s always more from a place of love – from the heart, than a carefully planned strategy or even paid opportunity.
I genuinely get excited about ‘baby news’ even after 25 years in the industry. Aromababy has become trusted for both its quality and authenticity – it’s a great legacy to have manifested.
Whilst we’ve reached the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, and Princess Mary, I have to say, it’s the feedback from everyday parents that absolutely fills me with joy!
If my products can make a small difference to someone – to a parent of a child suffering with eczema, to a first time parent bonding with their baby, it’s all worth it.
AESTOLOGYY: Tell us about the impact of divorce on your business – an area you say more people need to be aware of the reality?
|Love||Price ($A)||Buy Link|
|– Block out|
when I need to focus.
– Good for relaxation
– Can’t sleep without
them when I’m flying
I have two amazing sons now 20 and 26. Almost 15 years ago, I split with their father/my husband and endured a 3 year long court battle.
When I started Aromababy in order to form a Pty Ltd company, it required 2 Directors. In order to ‘buy out’ my ex husband, I required him to resign as a Director which he was reluctant to do.
Those 3 years would have to have been some of the hardest in my life.
I scaled my 7-figure business down to ensure I could work around my two boys – aged only 4 and 10 at the time.
My husband moved overseas during this time so I essentially became a sole parent. I had no other income aside from the business which had basically been put on hold during the court proceedings. It was a really, really tough time.
I believe it’s important to be really clear on business ownership and operations from the outset, in the event of a separation from a business or life partner, there needs to be some documentation around what happens.
Anyway, I lived to tell the tale and I am so happy I’ve been able to work around being present for my sons. During this time I realised just how important having a few close girlfriends is.
After a decade in my marriage ‘bubble’ I had forgotten what it was like to spend time with friends. I believe it’s so important to maintain healthy, independent relationships with your friends – your support network. Being in a relationship shouldn’t consume you, it doesn’t need to define you.