WORLD

Priceline worker created a $426 million wellness empire

Jessica Sepel went to work for Priceline after school and now she oversees a $426 million business empire that’s landed her on Australia’s rich list.

Jessica Sepel has spoken of the failures that saw her go from working at health and beauty retailer Priceline after school, to developing her own highly successful vitamin range — something that has now landed her on Australia’s rich list.

The 32-year-old clinical nutritionist and her husband Dean Steingold this year debuted on the Financial Review Young Rich List with an estimated fortune of $426 million.

The couple was able to leverage the success of Ms Sepel’s popular wellness blog and app into a successful vitamins range JSHealth that is now the fastest-growing brand at Priceline.

They claim to sell a bottle of their vitamins every 10 seconds and their products will soon be sold in the United Kingdom, with plans to expand to the United States and Asia.

However, the path to success was not smooth, with the couple first ploughing up to $30,000 into a failed cereal product and were also ripped off another $10,000 by a vitamin manufacturer.

Eventually they found their current supplier and Ms Sepel was able to realise her dream of producing an anti-stress and anti-anxiety formulation she had developed.

“I had patients with depression and anxiety, lacking energy, with poor sleep, and I would prescribe them high-dose fish oil, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium and suddenly, they would feel better,” Ms Sepel told The Australian Financial Review Magazine.

“I don’t care if it’s placebo or not … I saw results. I just knew I could make them better.”

She has now expanded her vitamin range to include 25 formulations, has branched into skincare and is the best-selling author of three books.

Ms Sepel told the How I Made It podcast she was discouraged early on by some from pushing through with her plans for her own vitamin range, with one telling her “you are up against giants”.

But she said “you have to have a lot of self-soothing techniques and self-confidence, and therapy to manage the journey of business”.

She also emphasised that life was hard and it was important not to be afraid of this.

“I used to be afraid of the hardship. But I think it’s important for teenagers and young people to know that this is hard. Life is hard. Business is hard. It’s full of challenges, and you just have to go through them,” she said.

Her husband told the AFR he wanted any future children to work hard to make $50,000, put it into a business and then lose it all.

“You’ve got to lose every dollar. Then you’re ready to realise how hard it is to create anything,” he said.

“You can’t be successful unless you fail. Otherwise, you will think it’s too easy.”

But Ms Sepel quickly adds: “I don’t like any burning of any money.”

Read related topics:Australian Small Business

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