Rosie Speight & Alice Mackintosh started Equi London to shine a light on supplementation that gives results. They don’t believe in unrealistic health fads or misleading information, they believe in top-quality, comprehensive products that allow busy people to keep up with the pace of modern life without suffering the side effects.
It was clear that there was a lack of high quality, easy-to-take and effective supplements based on the latest evidence that were readily available. With Alice’s expertise in the science of nutrition, and Rosie’s direct experience of the needs of the fast-paced, modern lifestyle, Equi was born!
What propelled you both to launch Equi London?
It was really a matter of right place, right time, right idea. We had both experienced a massive gap in the market for supplements that really work – Alice as a nutritionist looking for products for her clients, and Rosie actually as a customer trying to find something to support her skin.
The idea came about after Rosie went to see Alice to focus on sorting her skin out. At the time, she was working in Investment Banking, so was living a pretty full-on and fast paced life-style, like so many of us do! Rosie’s skin had flared up badly when she stopped taking the contraceptive pill which she had been on for many years. She was preparing to have a baby so harsh medications were out of the question and she wanted to get to the route cause of her issues. Rosie was already eating pretty well, but as well as a few tweaks to her diet, Alice suggested a range of supplements that not only cleared her skin up (fast!) but also improved her energy, digestion, concentration, sleep. She felt the best she had in years and it was then that she really realised how sub-par she’d been feeling on a day-to-day basis….and her skin completely cleared up and had a wonderful glow.
The supplements Alice had given Rosie to take were only available through practitioners or specialist websites, were unbranded and sold in single forms – so you needed to have gone to see and experts to know what to take. We quickly realised that there was a real need for readily available supplements that actually work and make a real difference to how you look and feel.
Supplements get a lot of bad press for being ineffective and we tend to agree with this – most of the readily available products don’t give any noticeable changes. Though there were some good products on the market, that wasn’t anything that was as comprehensive as what we knew was needed to make a difference, that had also been formulated for real people living busy city lifestyles. It was also essential to us to use the absolute best quality ingredients and cut all fillers, binders, chemicals and unnatural nasties.
How did the two of you meet and what do you think you value most about each other as best friends and business partners?
We met on the first day of university almost 15 years ago and have been BFFs ever since. In all those years, not more than a couple of days has gone by without us talking in one way or another, and as with all great friends we’ve been at each other’s side through many ups and downs over the years – breakups, bereavements; new jobs, new homes; bad hangovers, and never ending morning sickness (of course not at the same time!) Alice was Rosie’s bridesmaid in 2013, and Rosie will return the favour later this year at Alice’s wedding (wedding dress shopping has been slotted in-between meetings recently which has been a lovely perk of the job!) We pretty much know each other as well as we know ourselves, often finishing each other’s sentences…and our other halves are also great mates!
But even through all of this, neither of us ever expected to go into business together! When the idea for Equi came about organically in 2015, we really felt we were onto something and knowing we’ve got the same work ethic, both jumped at the opportunity.
We work brilliantly together – there is a very strong mutual love and respect for one another and luckily our different skill sets naturally define our roles within the company. It’s wonderful to be on this amazing journey together and what can be better than hanging out with your best mate for most of the week?!
How have both your professions and knowledge with Alice being one of London’s leading Nutritional Therapists and Rosie being an Entrepreneur and fulltime mum contributed to your brand and products?
We both bring something different to the table.
Alice has years of expertise in nutrition and really understands what customers need, what ingredients work, whilst also keeping up to date with the latest research. It’s really important to us that we have a registered nutritionist as a founder of the brand, and so many nutrition companies sideline this, or bring in outside help, which in our experience is never as powerful.
Rosie has a brilliant business brain, and keeps things running ship shape operationally and in terms of strategy. She comes from a finance background having working in Equity Sales on the trading floors at leading investment banks, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs so brings that experience to the table. She’s also been through it with her skin and is now a busy working Mum, so really relates to our customers.
Our customers are discerning women, and just as we are when buying any new products – they want to know that the people behind the brand are genuine and believe in their products wholeheartedly.
Since the launch of Equi London the company has gone from strength to strength, what is your number one piece of advice for aspiring business women?
There are lots of things to keep a handle on but for us, the most important thing is to never lose sight of what you’re trying to do! For us, we want to help women look and feel their best everyday. We would never compromise the quality of our products and are passionate about only choosing the best suppliers to work with. Formulating the products took years of tireless research, and we would do it again many times over to get the results for our customers!
What drives you to keep on going and building your businesses on the days that nothing seems to be going right?
Our testimonials – with happy customers reporting the great results they’ve had taking Equi.. this makes it so worth it!
At what point in your career have you been especially proud of what you’ve accomplished?
Winning our first award – Best Wellness Product at the Beauty Awards was probably the most incredible moment. We knew we were on to something, but when others agree and you get an accolade like that, it really spurs you on and build confidence in what you’re doing.
What has been the toughest challenge you both have faced?
One of the biggest challenges we had to overcome was to make our products palatable. To get all of our 60 ingredients in at the levels required to make them effective means the powder has a large bulk, making capsules tricky (Beauty Formula would be equivalent of taking 15 capsules, which is way too much!).
The natural raw ingredients also taste awful, but we spent months working to naturally flavour to ensure people want to take it. We also had to ensure the product was market viable and our priority was including the highest quality ingredients, which is expensive, so we had to work carefully to ensure it would be a workable business model. We’ve also faced challenges educating the mass market on some of the unheard of ingredients in the blends but we see it as breaking down the barriers between the small and specialist practitioner side of the market with the wider market – something we’re proud to be doing.
Out of all your products, which are the ones you can’t be without?
Probably Beauty Formula – it really gives our skin such a boost, but also helps to support better energy, better digestion and improves concentration… all really helpful when you’re working full time and don’t always have time to get the diet 100% perfect.
What other health rituals do you rely on for you and your skin to look its best? Green juices? Turmeric shots?
We both tend to eat well 80% of the time since this is the foundation to good skin. Alice makes great skin boosting smoothies in the office and we love green juices, as well as having nutrient dense salads (both of us are a big fan or smoked mackerel which is a great skin food!). Trying to get quality sleep (not always easy with young children!) and rest at weekends is also important, and we drink loads of herbal teas during the day. This doesn’t man the wheels don’t fall off (we recently had Alice’s hen party in Ibiza which involved more alcohol than normal!) but we keep a good balance. Skincare is also important!
We are in love with the new products! Any more thoughts to launch another range of products in the future?
We’ve got loads of things in the pipeline 😉
Words by: Rosie Speight & Alice Mackintosh
Instagram / @equilondon