I’ve been a complementary health practitioner for almost 25 years, during which I have always sought to read and learn in order to further my practice, and develop my mind and myself. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passionate interest in gaining knowledge about things that relate to my field of expertise as well as the world around me. I am not one for sitting around and twiddling my thumbs.
It has always been my mission to reach out and help as many people as I possibly can with their digestive and bowel disorders and raise greater awareness around the importance of gut health, and this is what spurred me on to develop my Just For Tummies range of probiotics, digestive health supplements and products. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of how we got there, but suffice it to say that after a good few years of hard work and research, what I had labelled my ‘Tummy vision’ became a reality and the product line was launched in August 2015 – just over a whole year ago now!
I’ll admit that launching my own brand was exhausting and, at times, overwhelming, but I honestly couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family, my husband Kevin, and my son Colin, and my ‘Tummy Team’, Louise Righton, Michelle Hoines-Wright and Emma Sasai.
What’s more, I don’t think any of us were prepared for the year that would unfold. It exceeded all expectations.
To celebrate, I would like to share a few of the highlights:
- In September 2015, we took our fledgling brand to the Colonic Hydrotherapy International Conference in Birmingham, where we had an exhibitor stand to showcase the range. There was lots of interest from a very captive audience of mainly colon hydrotherapists. Things had got off to a promising start. Later that month, we travelled down to Olympia in London for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Show, where we had a stand in the ‘Innovation Zone’. There was a great buzz at the event and we were visited by members of the general public as well as practitioners and journalists. To our delight, our ‘Tummy Tea’ was chosen as one of the Top 5 Best New Products. The first feather in our cap!
- The following month, things really gathered momentum as my book – The Inside Story: how the colon holds the key to your wellbeing, and what you should do about it! – was taken on by Amazon; this marked a positive step towards reaching more people in search of solutions for their (often long-term) struggles with digestive disorders.
- We also received the Janey Lee Grace Platinum Award for our Live Bacteria probiotics, and we embarked upon a collaboration with MyShowcase, a personal beauty shopping service, offering products that have been primarily developed by female entrepreneurs. Founder Kate Shapland was looking to expand their product range to include a select number health and wellbeing brands, and my Just For Tummies range was one that they chose.
- With Christmas on the horizon, we launched our ‘A Calming Cup’ gift set – a beautiful bone china mug in our ‘signature’ Tummies design and a pouch of Tummy Tea. This proved to be a top-selling item during November and December – the perfect present at a time when there’s an abundance of rich food and drink, placing an extra burden on the digestive system.
- With this in mind, just before the festive season got underway, we launched our ‘Seasonal Survival Kit’ – designed so that you can ‘Eat, drink and still be merry’. Containing Live Bacteria, Digestive Enzymes, Milk Thistle and 6 sample ‘pyramids’ of our Tummy Tea, it’s a fantastic way of tackling the overindulgence head on! It turned out to be our bestseller in December and January.
- The year ended on a high note as the whole Just For Tummies range was added to ‘The Natural Dispensary’, one of the largest online suppliers of natural and organic products
- So, since 2016 began, we’ve barely come up for air – and that’s because it’s been a year filled with exciting developments and positive feedback. Things got off to a flying start with another award for our Live Bacteria, winning ‘Best Health Supplement for Overall Wellbeing’ in the 2016 Beauty Shortlists Awards. And there was further recognition – of a rather high calibre variety, if I may be so bold as to say – when our Live Bacteria appeared in Vogue magazine’s ‘Good Bacteria Directory’. Our Perfect Balance Kit was also featured in The Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine, and both of these ‘media appearances’ served to spark an even more widespread interest in the Tummies brand.
For me, the biggest undertaking this year has to be the establishment of ‘Tummy Talk’ – a closed Facebook group to help the tens of millions of people in the UK and beyond who have functional and organic digestive and bowel disorders, including IBS, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, indigestion, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, and many more. Just three months after setting it up, we had over 1,700 members! It just goes to show how much of a demand there is for help and support in this area, and I am delighted to play a role in facilitating this. One of our members made the following comment about Tummy Talk: ‘It’s just brilliant. I’ve learnt more here, and had more support in a very short time, than I have in all my years of suffering. I’m very grateful to everyone here, I truly am.’ I think this sums it up perfectly.
And on that note, I invite you all to raise a glass with us – Just For Tummies – one year and counting!