Tête-à-tête: Andrea Horwood
I remember it well . . .
I was sitting at desk, frantically reading a manila folder marked ‘URGENT’. Eyes darting from side-to-side; brow furrowed with just enough angst to suggest brilliance ensuing. My boss hovered a few metres from my desk, looking impressed at this model employee. As well he should.
Then suddenly, like something out of Seinfeld, the contents of said urgent folder slipped out, landing at the feet of my boss. And there it was . . . the 'ICONS' issue of Australian Style, with Elle Macpherson on the cover.
Australian Style, detected. Crap employee, double detected.
Australian Style magazine was my 90s creative-bible.
Created by the extraordinary Andrea Horwood (pictured above right, by Christian Blanchard), when she was just 19 years old, this cult magazine was unlike anything else we had seen in Australia.
The styling, the flow of the publication, the ease with which it was all written, all fueled my love of amazingly well-thought-out editorial. And also left me in awe of Andrea herself.
After Australian Style, Andrea then went on to help launch BECCA, before then creating the hugely successful Invisible Zinc.
And as if that wasn’t already 17 lifetimes in one, Andrea then co-founded WelleCo with her good friend, Elle Macpherson (all while also raising two wonderful young girls).
We sat down with the very talented Andrea Horwood to talk about her career, her family, and the magic of WelleCo . . .
Family + life
Early life . . .
I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, the youngest of four children (not to mention a calf and a baby goat - both also on bottles).
As the youngest in this mayhem I was quiet, very shy and fairly self-contained, earning the nickname 'Mouse' that has stayed with me all my life.
How did your early family life help to define who you became as a woman?
I learned to do and not say. Just get on with it and don't have tickets on yourself.
My family is clever, funny and quick-witted, so any whiff of an inflated ego would be brought down pretty quickly.
We all learned that whole the love is always there, respect needs to be earned. This made us all brave enough to go out in the world and find our way.
Tell me about your girls. . .
I am raising girls in a world where I want them to be awake, curious and open. Ultimately I want to teach my kids to be contributing, valuable members of society.
The journey of self-improvement involves both looking within and looking at the community of people around you, and the affect you have on the lives of others.
A degree of 'self-love' is required to be a grounded person, as long as it's not to the exclusion of others. I kind of like the gentle people, the ones who are a little unsure, open and searching. Important in a world where selfishness, vanity and pride are endemic, so maybe check in with me in ten years to let you know how we went!
The elusive work-life-balance. How do you achieve it?
An important lesson for women: you don't have to try to do it all. I plan, I work full time and I have some help where I need it. Make your job, your errands and your work, work for you.
My day is pretty simple. Wake at dawn; gradually coax the kids out of bed with music (important to get your playlist right with grumpy teens); feed the Koi; and put the dogs out after extracting them from under someone's doona.
When the sun is up and the kids are moving, I'll make my SUPER ELIXIR greens breakfast smoothie and lay out some ingredients for them (they make their own SUPER KIDS smoothies and I have learned not to interfere in this highly sacred teen ritual!).
Next, they're off to school and I walk to work at WelleCo.
Then at night, we unwind with more music and cooking dinner together. The kids usually cook dinner one night a week each (I find this makes them more gentle critics as well!).
Then, once they girls are in bed, I start on some work calls and emails, usually to the US.
So, all-in-all, my work-life balance is all about making my day work for me. Don’t try to conform to how you think everyone else is doing it.
Australian Style magazine
I started the magazine at 19. I put together the content, sold the advertising, took it to the printers, then distributed and marketed the finished copies. So I had a rounded education in all aspects from the ground up, which I believe was most valuable.
Steep learning curve aside, it was completely scary, fun, and fulfilling – we were young, brave, irreverent and we knew exactly what we liked (ahh the arrogance of youth!).
We had complete freedom to choose our interview subjects, how we wanted to photograph them, the idea behind the story, and the art direction on the page, which produced a unique result. It was my creative education and I carry the lessons with me today.
What’s your favourite cover, shoot or interview from Australian Style?
The ‘ICONS’ issue with Elle in her birthday suit on the cover (Ed: the very one I was reading at work!), and the likes of Nick Cave contributing prose and Barry Humphries' sartorial tips.
That, and the ‘Tabloid Nation’ issue, where we freely poked fun at the concentration of media ownership in Australia at the time!
Also the day with Johnny Cash and a young actor called Leo DiCaprio, who was in Australia working with Baz Luhrman on Romeo and Juliette.
Now on to BECCA. From the outside, this seemed liked a seamless transition – was it?
If the idea takes me, if I am compelled by it, then yes I am dedicated to making it work.
I had just sold my magazine and come back to Perth when my friend, Rebecca Williams, asked if I would help launch her cosmetic range.
BECCA was in the development stage and I helped raise the capital and launch it in New York and London. She deserves all the success that brand has had.
And then Invisible Zinc . . .
I then started Invisible Zinc after hearing a compelling story from one of the research scientists in the particle engineering department at the University of WA.
They had found a better UV blocker using micronized particles of zinc that could mean the complete evolution of sunscreens away from what are considered less than ideal chemical sub filters. Issue was, the public had no knowledge of what was wrong with the chemical sunscreens so there was no demand.
So an education piece was required (my background in publishing helped with this) and a brand had to be created. In the end, that brand ended up being more valuable than the original company who held the patent.
We were in around 8,000 pharmacies, as well as all Coles and Woolworths stores in Australia, when we sold Invisible Zinc just six years after start-up.
Like publishing I loved the fast growth and having a product that touched a wide audience. It felt more relevant to me.
Tell me how WelleCo started and Super Elixir was created?
Soon after the sale of Invisible Zinc, I was doing the last press tour with Elle, who I had contracted as the face of the brand.
She told me about her nutritional doctor and the murky-looking green powder she was taking every day. This started a series of late night phone calls between the doctor in London and me, and by the end of it I was in!
It was so compelling to me that the future of beauty was from the inside, and the future of supplements was going to be natural, absorbable and plant-based – and we were the first to take a natural ingestible onto the beauty floor at Selfridges, four years ago.
Again, WelleCo products needed an education piece, but it really is a no-brainer. Our standards of manufacture and unique formulations result in an efficacy that absolutely drives our growth. Our customers feel transformed, they share on social, they tell their friends and family, they are our best advocates.
When you first started the business, what was your main motivation?
Purely to share these amazing transformative products with a wide global audience.
I understand you and Elle have been friends for a long time - when did you first meet?
We first met through Australian Style when she appeared on our cover, then we worked together when I asked her to be the face of our Invisible Zinc advertising campaigns, then we became business partners and friends through WelleCo.
I am fortunate to have such an incredible, open, motivated, and clever woman as part of this journey with me. When you find your people, look after them. Then you get to have the most amazing ride together.
Above: Andrea and Elle in Montauk, New York
What is the main philosophy behind WelleCo?
Nourish your body right down to a cellular level with natural absorbable nutrients.
Our SUPER ELIXIR Greens, for example, has 45 carefully selected ingredients, formulated by the world's leading nutritional doctors to work in synergy to help keep your body in a health alkaline pH range.
Modern lifestyle and farming practices can leave us deficient or in need of supplementation. We believe this should come from whole food-based nutrients that the body can recognise (we are designed to reject synthetics), absorb and use.
It's a simple idea behind a complex highly effective formula.
You must have people approaching you all the time saying the magical green powder has changed their life! Any stand out stories here?
The emails and messages we receive everyday from our customers around the globe telling us how SUPER ELIXIR has changes their lives, would have to be the highlight of WelleCo.
Mothers with more energy, grandmothers with relief from inflammation, girls sharing on social about how their skin glows and how it helps with healthy weight loss (a happy bi product of an efficient balanced metabolism) . . . to those with more challenging health issues sharing the effects with their friends and families.
It is our customers who have become our advocates and who grow our business. So it's real, its authentic and its organically driven. All a testament to the efficacy and quality of our products.
This is the joy of this business for me, I love walking in the door at WelleCo everyday.
What's your favourite WelleCo Super Elixir Greens recipe?
The one I make every weekday morning:
Half a frozen banana
2 x heaped teaspoons of SUPER ELIXIR Greens
1 x big scoop of our chocolate WelleCo NOURISHING PLANT PROTEIN (with raw Peruvian Cacao)
Fresh mint from the garden
Some blueberries (or whatever I have in the fridge).
Blitz and that's breakfast! I'm nourished, I stay full until lunchtime (no more mid-morning carb cravings) and I have everything I need to start my day well.
Also great for healthy weight management. This is my breakfast five mornings a week and means I never have to think about dieting or missing out on the things I enjoy. I actually crave it when I'm travelling.
What's next for WelleCo?
We just launched in Barneys NY and LA to come. We are set to release some very exciting new potent supplements that can be added to your everyday routine of SUPER ELIXIR Greens that cater to individual needs and health issues.
And what's next for Andrea Horwood?
Keep on enjoying the ride with the wonderful team I have around me at WelleCo, my beautiful little family, my friends who I love and appreciate, my garden, my kitchen, my books.
I feel at my age and stage in career and life that I have a far healthier balance and priorities. My work is part of my life and my life is part of my work, they feed each other. I love both.
The 12 with Andrea Horwood
London, New York and Perth – if only they were all closer!
Define your personal style in three words
Aware, open, not afraid to edit.
Yves Saint Laurent - for his interiors and as a collector, I learned a lot
Words to live by
The unfed mind devours itself - Gore Vidal. I live by it.
What is your favourite aspect of your work at WelleCo
Making a product that contributes and is good for people
Three people you want at your dinner party
All the people I want at my dinner party are already in my home
SUPER ELIXIR Greens, lime, coconut water, ice, blitzed. Great before heading out to avoid the dreaded hangover (it works!)
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I revisit it often.
Three things always found in your handbag
By Terry rose lip balm (the BEST!), my iPhone and cash
When you're not working, we'll find you . . .
In the garden or walking to the beach
And lastly, what is your advice for someone looking to improve their personal style
Know your body type and what suits you, edit from the trends and really observe how you feel when you try something. If we look good, we usually feel good so our instincts are usually pretty spot on.
Oh and I always ask my makeup artist friend Linda Jefferyes to tell me where I'm going wrong, what new foundations, colours, textures and how to update me. She was the one who encouraged me after nearly 20 years of straightening to let my hair go back to its natural curl. I realise I'm a naturally curly person and haven't looked back. Friends say I'm now like naughty Sandy in Grease!
Jo's WelleCo experience
I have ritualistically been using WelleCo's products for about three months now and can slam-on-the-table hands down confirm I am 100% addicted to how they make me feel. In fact, I have been waxing elixir lyrical to anyone who will listen (incidentally, this is also my future rap album name).
My skin is the best it's been since I was 20 (!). It's clear, even and glowing
I am sleeping incredibly well. When I hit the pillow at night, I then sleep solidly for at least eight hours without waking (unless by a small human). YES!
I have a lot more energy in the mornings. Like, a lot. When I wake up, I am refreshed, happy and feel focused
I feel like my whole internal system is just running perfectly. It's like a Swiss clock showroom in there.
In addition to the above, my boys absolutely love their SUPER KIDS milkshakes and slurp them down, scarse drawing breath!
Packed with zinc, iron, vitamins A, B and C all derived from legume and vegetable sources and naturally sweetened, a few scoops of this raw Peruvian cacao powder in some almond milk in the morning and, voila, I know their little bodies are nourished for the day.
Thank you to Andrea and the WelleCo team for this collaboration -
we love your products!