Women In Business: Sarah Parkins of Sniffy Wiffy

One thing we are all very aware of but totally ignorant to is the big ‘C’. We know cancer is out there but we never expect it to happen to us. More importantly it goes undetected for many until it is simply too late, although if I said to you that the beauty and skincare industry has become that powerful that it can help detect some forms of cancer earlier, you may laugh it off as “another dumb thing a beauty lover would say.”

Thankfully I am proud to be one of those “dumb” beauty lovers and quite used to people passing off the beauty industry as just something only not very bright people do. There is a huge misconception that anyone who is obsessed with cosmetics or works in the field is not bright enough to do anything else which is a misconception that infuriates me.

In the 6 months that I have been writing about the beauty industry I have met some of the most inspirational and life changing people, possibly more so than in the ten years I have been practising law. Most of the people I have met have started businesses from nothing but sheer determination and a concept they have personally developed, and now run businesses on a global scale. Not many of the lawyers I’ve met can say that.

Sure us lawyers deserve respect because we do work damn hard but please do not dismiss anyone in the beauty industry, because they have passion and power like no other. Sarah Parkins, today’s Women In Business interviewee being no exception.

So I’ll let Sarah tell you how her skincare brand Sniffy Wiffy can and will help people detect cancer earlier…

Sarah SniffywiffyWhat inspired you to set up Sniffy Wiffy Sarah?

It was a combination of the terrifying incidence of breast cancer and watching Dr Dawn demonstrate a self-breast check on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies that really inspired Sniffy Wiffy. On seeing the steps involved in a self-breast check and the various things to look out for, and hearing that a sensible to perform such a check is when skin is slightly slippery, such as while applying body lotion, the idea just came to me!

I lost my mum at the age of 13 – not from breast cancer but from Multiple Scelorsis. Breast cancer is a disease that poses a real threat so I felt that if there was anything I could do to discover it early should it rear its ugly head then not only would I do so but I would make it easy for others to do so to. As a mum-of-two I don’t want history repeating itself. Self-examination is so simple but could prove to be life-saving.

What are the key foundations of Sniffy Wiffy?

Sniffy Wiffy has been built on the solid foundation of wanting to give back to society in some way. We operate as a Social Enterprise and do two things with our profits: donate to charity and reinvest into our mighty mission. We are also a brand that is committed to using minimal ingredients – none of our products contain more than 5 main ingredients and all are paraben-free.

How has Sniffy Wiffy grown since you first launched?

2 hours after launching our website, Stephen Fry tweeted to say “sensible way forward for breast examination”. This was a great start and made me realise the power of twitter! I made the decision very early on to try and grow the brand with a minimal spend – largely because I have funded the company myself, take no salary whatsoever and this is quite a struggle! Bloggers have been instrumental in raising brand awareness and growing the brand – and for that I can’t thank them
enough!

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?

My biggest struggle personally has been time and money. In order to be able to pay the bills I also work 3 part-time jobs therefore time is not on my side. I have not received any kind of business funding or investment so cash flow is always a struggle, but this is the case with most start-ups.

And on the flip side, what have been your most memorable achievements?

Launching the opportunity for anyone over the age of 18 to become a Brand Ambassador – or Sniffette as we like to call them! This is a way of empowering people to start their own business although we don’t set any sales targets as we feel this would totally remove the flexibility that we want this opportunity to be recognised for. Some Sniffettes do the odd event here and there while others have a full timetable of events. Sniffettes earn commission and points for perks from every sale. Best of all, they can nominate which charity they would like us to donate to from the sales that they generate- whether a cancer charity or otherwise. In this way, we can fundraise and donate for absolutely any registered charity whatsoever. It is also a great way for those who hold a charity close to their heart to raise funds while at the same time earn their own money and work wonders for raising breast and testicular cancer awareness.

My other most memorable achievement came in the form of two very bittersweet emails I received recently from ladies aged 29 and 35. Both became more breast-aware having used our products, which led them to discover lumps which were diagnosed as cancerous. Due to early detection, their prognosis is excellent – this is exactly what we set out to achieve – early detection.

What makes Sniffy Wiffy different from its competitors?

The way in which we use our home made products to display important health messages makes us totally unique. Our checking labels are the first of their kind and we are really proud of that. Uniting health and beauty in a forward-thinking innovative way is the whole ethos of the brand. We also differ in the fact that our products are formulated with very few ingredients and all are offered in a choice of 28 different wiffs!

For anyone who is a little unsure about buying Sniffy Wiffy products what would you say?

When you buy a Sniffy Wiffy product this generates a donation to charity– this immediately makes it a guilt-free purchase! There are so few ingredients in our products that even I wondered when I started whether they would therefore be any good but it is definitely a case of less is more.

We have received amazing reviews, with people stating it is the best cream they have ever used! With such a large choice of fragrances there is something for all noses and you can even opt to go fragrance free should you so wish. We can personalise any product which makes them lovely gifts. And we even do wedding favours!

What are your goals for Sniffy Wiffy over the next few years?

Our main goal is to grow so as to reach as many men and women as possible. There is no hiding the fact that cancer poses a real threat to us all – early detection is so vital that each and every one of us needs to become comfortable with the signs and symptoms.

We are on the verge of launching a range of body lotions for Kids with the signs and symptoms of meningitis so that every parent has these to hand. It is our mission to get one of these into baby change bags everywhere!

If you had one message you could personally pass on to Jessica KG readers what would it be?

If you have an idea which you truly believe in then just go for it. I was not in a financially strong position at all to start Sniffy Wiffy but my belief in the idea and the brand was so strong that I made small sacrifices – instead of that night out or new top I would buy some jars or labels; instead of that holiday I would buy some ingredients – it is small steps like this that enables an idea to come to fruition.

Good luck ladies!

I am always happy for people to contact me for advice so please feel free
to email sparkinsfg@gmail.com

Or check out our range on the Sniffy Wiffy website

sniffy prod

I hope Sarah’s interview has given you all something to think about, whether it be carrying out a self examination, supporting cancer charities or being more open minded about the beauty industry.

Let’s face it, brains and beauty is a force to be reckoned with!

Jessica KG ♡
x

Check out these fellow #WomenInBusiness forces to be reckoned with…

Joanne Pinkney of Pinx Creative
Abi Oleck of Beau Bronz
Sarah of The Prosecco Diaries and Bloggeration
Lauren of Blonde Vision & Gifting Lounge
The Rock on Ruby Girls
Florence Grace of Love From…. Magazine
Kathryn Hall of My Virtual Sidekick
Deborah Mitchell of Heaven Skincare
Liz of Betty Lou Salon
Ruby Chan of TeaTime
Donna Hipkiss of Turn Back Time
Rachael Dunseath of Myroo Skincare

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