Mumpreneur profile: Julie Neville of Win Naturally #mumsinbiz

phil julie in store_1Your Name and Age Julie Neville – Age 39

Tell us about your family

I am wife to former footballer Phil Neville and mother of Harvey aged 12 and Isabella age 10. Despite retiring from football over one year ago, I see less of Phil now as he travels the world commentating and coaching than I did when he was a player.  I know I come a very close second to football!! Harvey, like his Dad loves football and is in an academy so trains every day of the week.  Isabella was born three months prematurely and has cerebral palsy.  Despite this she is a most bright and beautiful little girl whose courage and determination humbles us every single day.

What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?

Prior to having my children I was the company secretary of our family construction business which entailed looking after all the financial and legal issues – so a huge change to what I am doing now.  I then became a stay at home mum alongside lots of charity work.  Many doctors and nurses looked after both myself and Isabella so we became very involved with the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity which became a huge part of our lives.  It was what happened to both myself and Isabella and my own ill health that led me down this path as I completely lost faith in conventional medicines as I struggled to regain my health and I was on a whole host of drugs that I was told I would have to take for the rest of my life and the side effects were horrific.  I was 27 and just couldn’t envisage myself carrying on like that indefinitely.  So, I started to study alternative ways to heal my body, food, diet, nutrition, how our bodies and immunes systems worked, the effects that chemicals had on our bodies as well as antibiotics and over the counter and prescribed medicines.  It really was an eye opener.  I began to make changes to our diet, lifestyle, removed chemicals from our home, became a vegetarian, educated myself on the supplements that my body required and within 9 months I was off every single drug and had never felt fitter, stronger or healthier. So it became a passion.  It started off with friends and family asking me to get them products and give them advice, to my husband’s colleagues and eventually I realised there was huge gap in the market for a complete lifestyle and wellness store stocking only the purest and highest quality products and so Win Naturally was born! The transition for me happened over a couple of years so when I did eventually launch Win Naturally, I felt like I had been doing it my whole life.

When did you launch?

August 2011.

How did you get started?

We started off as an online store.  I then realised there wasn’t one company supplying everything that the professional sports clubs and elite athletes required so we set up a specialist sports nutrition department within three months and now we look after a whole range of professional clubs and athletes from the Premiership footballs clubs, the British Lawn Tennis association, many Rugby teams and elite athletes.

What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?

For me the best part about running my own business is that it is something the whole family are involved in so my children come and work in the store we all trial every single product that we stock at Win Naturally and we are all involved in every decision – some of my best ideas have come from my children!

What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?

That it is a 24 hours a day seven days a week job.  I am terrible at delegating (although I am working on it) My store opens seven days a week and there is never a time where there is not work to be done.  I am often up emailing at 5am  and still emailing at midnight – and then I do have a pad beside my bed where I make notes throughout the night when things pop into my head.

What has worked well about your business?

I think being really innovative about the products that we stock has worked well.  I love finding a product that no one has heard of or giving a new up and coming brand a chance and some exposure and our customers seem to love that too.  I also think that being strict about the products that we stock in that they are as natural and clean as possible, customers have grown to trust us and know that if it is on the shelves at Win Naturally it is a quality product.

What’s been your biggest business mistake?  How did you deal with it?

Goodness, over the past three years there have been many and it has most definitely been a learning curve.  But my biggest mistake was without doubt not having the right team in place from the beginning which ultimately meant that Win Naturally was not providing the level of service that I had expected and required for our customers.  Luckily, that has all changed and we have a wonderful and vibrant team who are like my extended family.

How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?

It is most definitely a juggling act and as mentioned, I am up early and work late to fit everything in around my family – luckily I can survive on little sleep!!  Phil most definitely supports what I do in that he knows I am ambitious and he is proud of what I have achieved. But he does work away a lot so I always have to plan my work around being a full time mum and then if Phil is around that is a bonus!

Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?

I am working towards getting stores two and three opened in 2015 and launching my Juice Bar “Juice Naturally”.

Would you ever give up your business to do something else?

I love what I do and can never imagine not working in health and nutrition.

Do you have an exit strategy?

No, hopefully Win Naturally will continue to grow and build over years to come and maybe even launch our own brand products in the future too.

Where do you hope to be in five years time?

I don’t think I have made it at all.  When Win Naturally is a recognised brand across the UK and people see our logo and immediately know it is us then perhaps I will feel like we are on our way but for now we have a lot of work to do and ground to cover before we get there.

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