A Serial Entrepreneur, Supermodel and a Life-Changing Green Drink


Bye bye multi-product contour tutorials, hello inner beauty. As the modern beauty consumer continues to seek holistic answers from products that are natural, long-lasting and results-driven, the industry is experiencing a seismic change. Rather than arming themselves with a litany of products that camouflage and conceal, women want to glow from the inside out.

Enter WelleCo, an innovative Australian ingestible wellness company founded by serial entrepreneur Andrea Horwood and supermodel Elle Macpherson, built on the tenants of the latter's plant-based lifestyle that earned her the covetable title of “The Body."

The proposition is simple: One drink a day, every day, gives you everything you need to neutralize acidity, support your immune system and promote gut health. Filled with a plethora of plant-based ingredients like pre and probiotics, vitamins and super greens, WelleCo's finely milled powders can be added to water, plant milk or blended into a smoothie for results that many have called “life-changing" on reviews and social channels alike. “One of the brightest parts of my day is when I go and I read the comments from a lot of the people saying that it's completely changed their lives," says Macpherson.

And it's catching on. Showing growth to 20 times the business size from its 2014 launch, WelleCo has expanded to include plant-based Nourishing Proteins, and even a kid's chocolate drink. With an 80/20 direct-to-consumer/retail model, Horwood says the brand's messaging is naturally personal and authentic, which is an important reason consumers are connecting with it. “The modern customer is well informed, educated and prioritizes nutrition and the value of wellness in her life," she comments. “We talk to our customers on an elevated level because we feel they are informed and understand."

“One of the brightest parts of my day is when I go and I read the comments from a lot of the people saying that it's completely changed their lives," - Elle Macpherson

An Organic Match

Just call them modern superwomen. With accomplishments that range from Horwood introducing the world's first non-chemical sunscreen brand, Invisible Zinc; to Macpherson becoming an international symbol of beauty and wellness, the pair are a force to be reckoned with.

The two met when Macpherson became the face of Horwood's revolutionary suncare brand, and have worked together for over a decade, with Macpherson also being featured in the pages of Horwood's first venture, Aussie magazine, Australian Style. It was, in fact, a chance moment of intuition that lead them to launch WelleCo. One day during a press junket, Horwood, noticing Macpherson's incredible stamina and energy levels, inquired about the green water she'd been sipping on. “Elle started to talk to me about an Australian nutritional doctor [Dr. Simone Laubscher] who had been working around a highly effective combination of plant-based, whole food nutrients designed to keep your body at a healthy balanced pH level," Horwood tells SWAAY. “It kicked off an interest in me and after many late night conversations with Dr. Laubscher in her Harley St London clinic, I went back to Elle because I knew she wanted to be more than just the face of a brand, she wanted to be in the business, and I explained 'I really think our venture together should be this green supplement'." It was a version of that green supplement that became WelleCo's hero product, The Super Elixir.

And for Macpherson, who had already dipped her toes into the world of entrepreneurship with a lingerie line, the opportunity to be a partner on something she believed in so deeply was a natural fit. “I saw this very considered approach, and that's what I wanted to share with other women," she notes. “So that's how the business started, when I took this product for myself, when I saw the benefits of it, and then I thought, actually, I'd really like to be able to share this with other women."

“After swapping my diet for a predominantly whole-food, plant-based, alkalizing one, and started taking the WelleCo Super Elixir, everything changed for me: my body, mood, skin, hair, they responded so positively and very quickly." -Elle Macpherson

The Magic Inside

As is the case with many entrepreneurs, star products are designed to address personal challenges. WelleCo's Super Elixir is no different, with Macpherson discovering that as she got older, she didn't have as much energy throughout the day as she used to. “I was approaching 50, my lifestyle needed a rejig in order to achieve maximum wellness, and I couldn't rely on my genetics for my well being anymore, so I went to see a nutritionist, [WelleCo formulater] Dr. Laubscher." It was after this meeting Laubscher prescribed Macpherson an alkalizing green powder, an early principal behind the brand's now best-selling Super Elixir Greens.

“Every experience has been different but I've always been interested in disruption. My worlds of independent publishing and brand building have collided with WelleCo - we produce our own content and the brand voice comes from us. We've built a strong team and culture within a brand and its precious to us." -Andrea Horwood

“When she [Laubscher] looked at the average imbalances of an adult, [and the] specific ingredients she could include that would support gut health and balance the body's 11 systems, she included lots of ingredients like horsetail and Omega 3 for healthy hair and skin and nails; probiotics and prebiotics to support the digestion; shitake mushrooms, miyake mushrooms," says Macpherson. “We made a product that was really great for the immune system."

According to Horwood, at the core of the WelleCo formulating process is a direct delivery of everyday nutrients via a highly absorbable finely grained powder, comprised of more than three dozen premium botanicals. “Your body recognizes whole food nutrition, it knows what it is, uses and absorbs it," she says, adding that they are processed gently so the nutrients remain alive. “The traditional argument is you should be able to get those nutrients from your diet, but I don't see any horsetail, aloe or sea algae in my usual market shopping cart. Adding this to a drink once a day is a simple way to give body wholefood nutrients. And this absorbable wholefood nutrition can have a profound effect."

Carving a Niche

To be sure, WelleCo is a radically new proposition in terms of positioning and even describing to retailers where it fits into on the shelf. According to Horwood, being a brand that falls somewhere in between beauty and wellness may have its difficulties, especially in terms of consumer communication, but ultimately serves as an opportunity to do her favorite thing, disrupting.

“We do sit on the beauty floor but our proposition is far deeper because wellness is transformative." -Andrea Horwood

“We were one of the first pioneers of the ingestible beauty category," says Horwood. “We were carving a new territory and talking to customers, department stores, press and distributors about a product that didn't fit neatly in beauty or traditional synthetic supplements. We created a new category of its own. That was our challenge, but I felt quite strongly this was a compelling new space for the modern customer."

The brand's best-selling product, The Super Elixir.

Despite the challenges, growth has been organic, Horwood says. Since launching, the brand has entered over 52 markets including China, the UK, and Europe, and now with a splashy launch in Barneys NY and LA, WelleCo has found its way into the US market, where there's a hungry (well, thirsty) customer waiting for it.

“We found a loyal and growing customer base in the US through our WelleCo.com site, before really touching that bricks and mortar market," says Horwood, adding that more than half the company's global sales come directly from the US. “For us, we felt Barneys is an iconic premium New York department store, and one that is serious about the shift to inner beauty, responding to the profound shift in customer behavior."

Although many beauty brands are clamoring for digital sales, Horwood is of the belief that there must be an accompanying opportunity to interact with the product, especially with ingestibles. To wit, the company's second standalone store will open its doors in downtown New York this summer. The wellness space, which will include consultation areas, in-house demonstration events with blending counters for green drinks and smoothies, is meant to give the whole 360 bespoke wellness experience.

“You can walk in, meet our trained staff, consult with our nutritional doctors, customize your supplementation according to your own needs, and of course taste our amazing plant proteins," says Horwood. “We have one store in Australia and it's shown the value of this customer connection - over 90 percent of the customers who walk through the door purchase our products. The store allows for a deeper appreciation of the brand and its philosophy."

“It is mainly efficacy of the product, driven by word of mouth. People take our Super Elixir, they feel the positive effects, which actually affects how they respond to our brand as well." -Andrea Horwood

A Cult Following

It's no secret that being able to put a face to a name is an entrepreneurial ticket to success. Macpherson, who holds an impressive record of five Sports Illustrated covers, is a timeless figure in the fashion and modeling industry. Her personal brand melds seamlessly with WelleCo and has elicited an excited response across all social media channels by fans ready to buy into anything that will give them even a semblance of Macpherson's enviable vitality and physique.

Going against the social media grain in 2018, WelleCo favors deep and authentic collaborations with like-minded individuals and brands. “We have great fans like Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Cara Delevingne, Jessica Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bobbi Brown and Kate Moss," says Macpherson. “Many people in the fashion industry really love the brand and they're not influencers, or paid influencers, they just really love it. And one of the brightest parts of my day is when I read the comments from a lot of the people writing to us saying how it's completely changed their lives."

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Choosing the Right Corporate Structure: Which Business Entity Should You Go With?

Business entities can be defined as the corporate, tax and legal structures which an organization chooses to officially follow at the time of its official registration with the state authorities. In total, there are fifteen different types of business entities, which would be the following.

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership or LP
  • Limited Liability Partnership or LLP
  • Limited Liability Limited Partnership or LLLP
  • Limited Liability Company or LLC
  • Professional LLC
  • Professional Corporation
  • B-Corporation
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Nonprofit Organization
  • Estate
  • Cooperative Organization
  • Municipality

As estates, municipalities and nonprofits do not concern the main topic here, the following discussions will exclude the three.

Importance of the State: The Same Corporate Structure Will Vary from State to State

All organizations must register themselves as entities at the state level in United States, so the rules and regulations governing them differ quite a bit, based on the state in question.

What this means is that a Texas LLC for example will not operate under the same rules and regulations as an LLC registered in New York. Also, an LLC in Texas can have the same name as another company that is registered in a different state, but it's not advisable given how difficult it could become in the future while filing for patents.

To know more about such quirks and step-by-step instructions on how to start an LLC in Texas, visit howtostartanllc.com, and you could get started with the online process immediately. The information and services on the website are not just limited to Texas LLC organizations either, but they have a dedicated page for guiding fresh entrepreneurs through the corporate tax structures in every state.

Sole Proprietorship: Default for Freelancers and Consultants

There is only one owner or head in a sole proprietorship, and that's what makes it ideal for one-man businesses that deal with freelance work and consulting services. Single man sole proprietorships are automatic in nature, therefore, registration with the state is unnecessary.

Sole proprietorships are also suited to a degree for singular teams such as a small construction crew, a group of handymen, or even miniature establishments in retail. Also, this puts the owner's personal financial status at jeopardy.

Due to the fact that a sole proprietorship entity puts all responsibilities for paying taxes and returning loans, it directly jeopardizes the sole proprietor's personal belongings in case of a lawsuit, or even after a failed loan repayment.

This is the main reason why even the most miniature establishments find LLCs to be a better option, but this is not the only reason either. Sole proprietors also find it hard to start their business credit or even get significant business loans.

General Partnership: Equal Responsibilities

The only significant difference between a General Partnership and a Sole Proprietorship is the fact that two or more owners share responsibilities and liabilities equally in a General Partnership, as opposed to there being only one responsible and liable party in the latter. Other than that, they more or less share the same pros and cons.

Registration with the state is not necessary in most cases, and although it still puts the finances of the business owners at risk here, the partnership divides the liability, making it a slightly better option than sole proprietorship for small teams of skilled workers or even small restaurants and such.

Limited Partnership: Active and Investing Partners

A Limited Partnership (LP) has to be registered with a state and whether it has just two or more partners, there are two different types of partners in all LP establishments.

The active partner or the general partner is the one who is responsible and liable for operating the business in its entirety. The silent or investing partner, on the other hand, is the one who invests funds or other resources into the organization. The latter has very limited liability or control over the company's operations.

It's a perfect way for investors to put their money into a sector that they are personally not experienced with, but have access to people who do. From the perspective of the general partners, they have similar responsibilities and liabilities to those in a general partnership.

It's the default strategy for startups to find funding and as long as the idea is sound, it has made way for multiple successful entrepreneurial ventures in the recent past. However, personal liability still looms as a dangerous prospect for the active partners to consider.

Limited Liability Company and Professional LLC

Small businesses have no better entity structure to follow than the LLC, given that it takes multiple good ideas from various corporate structures, virtually eliminating most cons that are inherent to them. Any and all small businesses that are in a position to or are in requirement of signing up with their respective state, usually choose an LLC entity because of the following reasons:

  • It removes the dangerous aspect of personal liability if the business falls in debt or is sued for reparations
  • The state offers the choice of choosing between corporation and partnership tax slabs
  • The limited legalities and paperwork make it suited for small businesses

While more expensive than a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, a professional LLC is going to be a much safer choice for freelancers and consultants, especially if it involves risk of any kind. This makes it ideal for even single man businesses such a physician's practice or the consultancy services of an accountant.

B, C and S-Corporation

By definition, all corporation entities share most of the same attributes and as the term suggests, they're more suited for larger or at least medium sized businesses in any sector. The differences between the three are vast once you delve into the tax structures which govern each entity.

However, the basic differences can be observed by simply taking a look at each of their definitive descriptions, as stated below.

C-Corporation – This is the default corporate entity for large or medium-large businesses, complete with a board of directors, a CEO/CEOs, other executive officers and shareholders.

The shareholders or owners are not liable for debts or legal dispute settlements in a C-Corporation, and they may qualify for lower tax slabs than is possible in any other corporate structure. On becoming big enough, they also have the option to become a publicly traded company, which is ideal for generating growth investments.

B- Corporation – the same rules apply as a C-Corporation, but due to their registered and certified commitment to social and environmental standards maintenance, B-Corporations will have a more lenient tax structure to deal with.

S-Corporation – Almost identical to a C-Corporation, the difference is in scale, as S-Corporations are only meant for small businesses, general partnerships and even sole proprietors. The main difference here is that due to the creation of a pass-through entity, aka a S-Corporation, the owner/owners do not have liability for business debt and legal disputes. They also are not taxed on the corporate slab.

Cooperative: Limited Application

A cooperation structure in most cases is a voluntary partnership of limited responsibilities that binds people in mutual interest - it is an inefficient structure due to the voluntary nature of its legal bindings, which often makes it unsuitable for traditional business operations. Nevertheless, the limited liability clause exempts all members of a cooperative from having personal liability for paying debts and settling claims.

This should clear up most of the confusion surrounding the core concepts and their suitability. In case you are wondering why the Professional Corporation structure wasn't mentioned, then that's because it has very limited applications. Meant for self-employed, skilled professionals or small organizations founded by them, they have less appeal now in comparison to an LLC or an S-Corporation.