Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style

Carla Oates: How The Beauty Chef Turned Gut Health Into A Wellness Empire

Meet Carla Oates, the creative force behind The Beauty Chef. In our conversation, the mother-of-two shares the journey behind her success, from experimenting in the kitchen to becoming the world’s leading inner wellness brand.

Carla Oates, also known as The Beauty Chef, has revolutionised the wellness industry, simply by following her gut. From a young age, Carla battled persistent skin and gut issues, experiencing eczema and allergies as a child. Seeking a solution, her mother took Carla to see a naturopath, where they came up with a plan to transform her diet – a decision that would shape Carla’s future.

“This sparked an innate understanding from a young age that the link between our gut and skin is more profound than we think,” Carla shares with THE INARRA. “When my daughter experienced similar issues many years later, I began to research and explore the impact of gut health on our health, beauty, and wellbeing more deeply – which led to my first experiments in the kitchen.”  

By this time in her career, Carla had already made a name for herself in the beauty industry. She authored the bestselling book Feeding Your Skin in 2004 and was a natural beauty columnist for Wellbeing Magazine. While working at the publication, Carla received countless enquiries from readers about their skin concerns, ranging from psoriasis to acne. Realising the need for a natural alternative to conventional topical products, she embarked on a journey that would shake up the industry.

On a mission to find a solution for her daughter Jeet and others, Carla began lacto-fermenting whole foods in her kitchen at home. Within weeks, she knew she was onto something. “Friends began to comment on how glowy my skin looked,” she recalls. “From here, the first iteration of GLOW® was born.” 

GLOW Inner Beauty Essential® launched in 2009 and was the world’s first bio-fermented inner beauty powder. The groundbreaking product was ahead of its time, which made it difficult to find stockists with the capacity to sell GLOW®.

“There’s no question that the biggest challenge was simply convincing people that beauty begins in the belly,” Carla reflects. “When I tried to launch GLOW®, there was no inner beauty category in existence – so helping to shift the paradigm of the entire beauty industry was something I became super passionate about.”

“The only way I overcame these initial challenges was through sheer self-belief, I knew that I had a product that delivered real, radiant results – so I continued to pursue this purpose, despite the naysayers.”

“The juggle is always challenging and I’ve had to accept that I can’t always please everyone and sometimes when you’re busy, something has to give. I’m very open in my communication about this, so the people in my life - at work and in my family - don’t feel offended when I turn down an invite."

Developed using The Beauty Chef’s Flora Culture™ bio-fermentation process, GLOW® contains natural broad-spectrum probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics to support hair, nail, gut, and skin health. “What sets us apart is our unique fermentation process. We have our very own state-of-the-art fermentation plant where we are able to control every step of the journey,” Carla explains. “We’re often asked why fermentation is better and put simply, fermentation makes our whole food ingredients more potent. This means they become more bioavailable and more active.” 

“In turn, this ensures they are easily digested by the body and deliver even greater benefits for your skin, gut, hair, and overall wellbeing.” 

Over the last 15 years, The Beauty Chef has cemented its rightful place in the wellness industry and is stocked at major global retailers such as MECCA, David Jones, Sephora, and Selfridges. The brand boasts a cult A-list following, including fans such as Naomi Watts and Miranda Kerr, and has even received a royal nod, with Meghan Markle reportedly using The Beauty Chef products as part of her daily routine.

Developed by a team of leading naturopaths, nutritionists, and microbiologists, The Beauty Chef continues to lead the inner wellness movement. Expanding on its bestselling GLOW®, the brand offers a wide range of products designed to address common concerns, from eczema and psoriasis to menopause and PMS. 

“Quality is of the utmost importance, and when developing products, we always opt for certified organic or biodynamic whole food ingredients wherever possible,” Carla says. “Every formula is created with evidence-based herbs and nutrients, then fermented using our exclusive Flora Culture™ bio-fermentation process, which supercharges our ingredients to create natural broad-spectrum probiotics and postbiotics for even greater digestive benefits.”

But even with a team behind her, building a multi-million dollar business has been no easy feat, especially as a mother of two. Carla and her longtime partner Davor Pavlovic have two adult children, Jeet (26) and Otis (23), and balancing work and family life has often proven challenging.  

“When you have your own business, it’s hard to switch off, so I’ve definitely suffered from mother’s guilt,” Carla says. “I’ve always tried to stay close to my kids no matter how busy I am and particularly when they were living at home. We always went on lots of walks together as this helped to facilitate honest and open conversations.”

“The juggle is always challenging and I’ve had to accept that I can’t always please everyone and sometimes when you’re busy, something has to give,” she continues. “I’m very open in my communication about this, so the people in my life – at work and in my family – don’t feel offended when I turn down an invite. As long as you communicate with people honestly, then usually they are very understanding.”

Her children have gone on to have successful careers of their own. Her daughter Jeet is an internationally renowned model, and her son Otis is famously part of the Australian pop duo Royel Otis. Although they’ve left the family’s Bondi home, Carla continues to cheer them on from the sidelines. “Both of my children are confident in who they are, so I’ve always tried to nurture their passions and interests,” she says. “As long as they are doing something they love and make good decisions for themselves, that’s all I can hope for as their mum.”

“They both have a great sense of style and are into wellness, so they give me great feedback on new products, design, and marketing campaigns. I’m still trying to convince my daughter to join the business.”  

Over the last few years, The Beauty Chef has continued to grow, and its success is largely attributed to its unique offering and unwavering commitment to inner wellness. Not one to follow trends, The Beauty Chef continues to listen to what customers are looking for in a product, something Carla is particularly proud of.  

“There’s no question that there is a constant push-pull for every business owner. Scaling and

growing your business is vital for its long-term success and longevity as a brand,” Carla says. “However, without an efficacious product that invites customers to return time and time again, there is no business to scale. For us, maintaining our integrity as a brand and developing formulas that are highly nutritious is of the utmost importance and the first step to success.”

So, what advice does Carla have for women who would like to start their own business but worry about the juggle? “I think it all comes back to being kind to yourself. As women and mothers, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to have every part of our lives operating seamlessly – when in reality, life can be non-linear,” she says. 

“Life is a juggle when you have children, whether you’re working full-time, part-time or at home – so we need to change the dialogue around ‘juggling it all’ and instead just try to foster some balance in our lives,” Carla adds. “It’s hard to pour from an empty cup, so ensuring you take out some dedicated time for yourself is vital. And that will look different for everyone.”


Visit The Beauty Chef online and follow @thebeautychef on Instagram. 


Words by Danielle Fowler

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