SingaporeMotherhood | Baby & Toddler

July 2011

The Dollops & Scents of Little Innoscents

Would you give up a high-flying, globetrotting corporate career and go back to school to learn about natural therapies, massage and aromatherapy? Sell your home and plough your earnings from its sale — almost half a million Aussie dollars — to invest in your business of creating skincare for babies and children? Move back to live on your parents’ strawberry farm in Melbourne? You would, if you were Antonette Golikidis.

This, of course, is the story of a woman with a passion. But what it demonstrates, most importantly, is that a woman, with the right kind of verve, vision, passion, and guts, can make a stay-at-home mumtrepreneur business take off and soar. In Antonette’s case, it all started with what she calls an “early mid-life crisis”.

Something missing…

“I was 27 and I woke up one day in a hotel room and thought, this isn’t me. I’d climbed this corporate ladder, I’d enjoyed it, but something was missing. I wasn’t getting fulfilled anymore. There was nothing driving me to move forward. So I went home and told my partner, ‘I’m going to quit my job and do something else’. And I did that at the end of the week,” the founder and director of Little Innoscents, a range of organic skincare of babies and children, states matter-of-factly.

Antonette went back to school for three years to learn remedial massage and natural therapies, and set up a massage business. In between kneads and rubs, she concocted creams and scrubs for clients who had specific conditions. “But it wasn’t until I had my child, that I realised there was a market out there that was not really served,” she says.

Inspired by her children

Her story (like that of many mothers) is inspired by her children. More specifically, her first child, Alex, who had eczema when he was a baby. Antonette, who was already doing the apothecary thing in her kitchen and cooking up aromatic remedies for friends and clients, whipped up a balm for her son. It worked so well that she made more and gifted these to friends. Knowing a good thing when they saw one, they played pass it on with the balm.

One day, Antonette received a phone call from a mum in Queensland, halfway across the country. The woman wanted to buy Alex’s balm. She had a three-year-old daughter with severe eczema. Someone gave her Antonette’s cream, she used it, and it went away in three days.

The rest, as they say, is history. That night, Antonette thought, “Okay, I’m going to create a skincare range, and then I’m going to market it.” She put a hold on everything else, worked on formulations, and birthed a range that would provide everything that any mum would need for her baby: for bathing, for moisturising, for massaging, and for soothing.

Creating Little Innoscents with her kids

Antonette’s sons Alex, six, and Antonio, three, play a major role in the creation of these products. “They’re my guinea pigs!” laughs Antonette, who sometimes goes to her sons’ preschool to show the children how to make cream. “The kids help with the blending and the mixing, and they love seeing how it all comes together in front of their eyes,” she laughs.

Alex, in fact, inspired the zesty scent of the Hair & Body Wash. Antonette recalls experimenting with a different smell for the wash each week, until she got to the spearmint one and Alex told her, “Mum, I love this, it smells like lollies!” There’s more good stuff to look forward to, all of it natural, organic, and chemical-free: a natural hair gel for children, and an insect repellant, the latter a special request from Little Innoscents fans in Taiwan.

And it all started in a kitchen

The brand, which launched in 2007, is now sold nation-wide Down Under. It has also made strides worldwide, exporting to Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea, and now, Singapore. Dubai and China are next on the list for global domination.

And to think, it all started in a kitchen, at home, in Melbourne, Australia.

“People are very fascinated when you say that you work from home. They think that it’s a hobby. A lot of people think, ‘Oh you’re just doing this to get a couple of hundred dollars to buy the groceries’. I tell them no, it’s a lot more than that. But it takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have vision, you have to spend money to see what it’s going to be. And I can see, five years from now, that this is going to be a household brand in many countries. That’s what keeps me going. I am happy every day with what I do. I have the drive, I have the passion, I love it!” Antonette smiles.

Little Innoscents products are 100% natural, paraben-, SLS-, SLES-free, and Australian Certified Organic.

My Kids road-test Little Innoscents

Hair & Body Wash, 250ml, $22.90

An all-in-one low allergy gel designed to gently hydrate from top to toe, this is made from plant ingredients and has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agents. Antonette’s son Alex loves its spearmint freshness.
Verdict: Goes on well, washes off easily, and leaves a squeaky-clean feel. My boys (aged three and six) love the yummy smell.

Massage Lotion, 110ml, $22.90

With creamy avocado, sunflower, shea butter, plus zinc oxide to give protection from UV rays. It’s scented with ylang ylang so baby smells amazing even when she’s out and about!
Verdict: Goes on smoothly and does not leave a sticky feel. I couldn’t stop sniffing my kids after – they smelled amazing!

Nappy Rash Cream, 50g, $18.90

The one that started it all, this soothing, calming, cream with calendula extracts, avocado oil, aloe vera and organic butters is ideal for treating nappy rash and other skin irritations such as eczema, dermatitis, redness, and itchiness.
Verdict: Rubs into skin easily and is non-greasy. The insect bites on my younger son’s legs cleared overnight.

Winter Blues Balm, 50g, $18.90

A fresh, warm, zesty rub that helps baby breathe better and alleviates nasal congestion.
Verdict: Not as pungent as similar remedies. This feels lighter, smells clearer, and helped to ease my older child’s nocturnal sniffles.

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The Dollops & Scents of Little Innoscents