As an advocate for healthy living and with experience as a personal trainer, Tracy Rennie was constantly searching for Australian, eco-conscious, quality products to support her healthy lifestyle. However, as a busy mum, she found that researching the right products was time consuming and a minefield of misinformation. From these challenges, the idea of Yo Life was born.
After 20 years working as a corporate sales executive, Tracy took a leap of faith and launched the start-up in 2020. Yo Life is a curated marketplace of independent Australian brands built on the ethos of partner collaboration, enabling customers to connect with the products and become educated about the benefits of healthy living.
Tracy has set herself the ambitious goal for Yo Life to become a trusted platform to inspire Australians to live better and the first point of call for consumers when searching for a product or service within the health, fitness and wellness sector.
Here’s our chat with Tracy.
How did you come to start your business? Was there a particular spark or a significant turning point?
Coming from 20 years of corporate sales, mixed with a personal training background, l have a deep passion for health and wellness myself. I love exploring new products that can improve my health and wellbeing. I was constantly on the search for products that were organic, ethically sourced or used natural ingredients and the more research l did, l uncovered there was a huge range of incredible local suppliers making amazing products right here in Australia.
The trouble was, there were so many available, yet it took so long to find them. I thought, there had to be an easier way to find these suppliers in an already busy space. This is when l came up with the concept of Yo Life. We tested the concept with brands and several categories and the response was overwhelmingly positive, so we went ‘all in’ on taking the business to market.
When you initially started your business, what hurdles did you face?
Very early on, l realized that my sales experience was going to come in handy, however, I was new to technology and e-commerce, which were spaces I had to learn fast. To meet the challenge, I’ve learned to be more adaptable, approach problem solving differently and get out of my comfort zone.
It’s exciting to learn new things everyday and grow my tech expertise. I never saw myself here, but I love it!
What makes your business unique?
Yo Life is more than an E-Commerce business, we are a marketplace for healthy living. We are the first of its kind in Australia, showcasing local and independent stores with brands that are passionate about health, fitness and wellness. Consumers come to Yo Life for that one stop shop to find products that can help them in their health goals and find products that are Australian brands. We also provide suppliers with a new low-cost growth channel where they can find new customers and sit alongside complimentary brands.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
1. Push hard to achieve your goals, keep your strategy flexible and stay focused on the big picture.
2. No usually means not now.
3. Get comfortable, feeling uncomfortable.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
I would really say both. It’s about knowing what you’re capable of and surrounding yourself in experts to fill skills gaps. For example, l came into this business knowing everything about selling, a little about marketing, a lot about health and fitness and nothing about IT. To ensure we deliver great tech solutions we found an amazing full stack developer who is helping to shape the Yo Life experience.
The best part is, that by working alongside a tech expert, I’ve learnt a lot about how the backend systems and how e-commerce platforms work.
We also value the importance of good marketing and PR and work with experts in these fields too.
What keeps you up at night?
There are a few things that can keep me up. From thinking about what exercises l want to do in the morning to the things l didn’t get done on my to do list. From communications, to backend updates with our developer, it’s hard to switch off sometimes. To manage this, l keep a pen and paper on my bedside table to write things down, so I can rest my mind and get back to sleep.
How do you make the most of your day? Any tips?
Every day l start with exercise to get my body and mind fired up. I have a ‘To Do List’ l refer to each day and a plan to how I’ll approach the day. It doesn’t always go to plan, but flexibility and adaptability is what the start-up world is all about. Have a plan, adjust the plan, revisit the plan and action what’s next.
Do you have a business app you can’t live without?
We have many we rely on for communication. Trello, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Hubspot.
They all serve their purpose and make life so much easier. Simple communication tools, fast file sharing and efficiency is really important for our business.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
I really love this business called Coconut Bowls. They’re a business that turns waste into crockery and have turned their business into a success through a smart business model, clever PR and great use of social media.
It’s an amazing ‘Circular Economy’ business model that turns Coconut harvesting waste into coconut bowls whilst helping small communities in South East Asia.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
We’d love Yo Life to be a part of everyday health and wellness conversations in households right across Australia. We want Yo Life to be the name that is ‘top of mind’ for all things health, fitness and wellness.
Yo Life is also a growth channel for small businesses and we’re striving to be a viable growth option that rivals other marketplaces like Amazon and help businesses to get more exposure to more customers at a lower acquisition cost.
Our business is hyper localized and we would like to take the same local approach in other international markets.
Ultimately, we’re striving to make a positive impact on the health of all Australians.