The decks of luxury yachts may not be the most natural of birthplaces for a natural product brand but that’s exactly where Myrtle & Maude began.
What started as an idea to alleviate sea sickness for passengers led to a Yorkshire business which has brought alleviation to thousands of expectant mothers and is set to expand its product range.
Named after the grandparents of the firm’s owners Julia d’Albert-Pusey and Matthew Johnson, Myrtle & Maude produces natural herbal and vitamin based teas, sweets and acupressure wristbands.
Ms d’Albert-Pusey was inspired to create the brand after helping seasick passengers on luxury yachts upon which she used to work.
She soon began being approached by expectant mothers who wondered if the product would help them through morning sickness, a condition 80 per cent of women experience during pregnancy.
This led to a huge spike in demand and in two years the Leeds-based brand has grown in prominence, selling predominantly through Amazon and seeing sales growth of 700 per cent since the start of the year alone.
Ms d’Albert-Pusey, whose background is in fashion design, suddenly saw that there was significant opportunities to scale up the business.
She told The Yorkshire Post: “I have a post-graduate in pattern cutting and studied masters in Paris. I owned my own label and sold into John Lewis.
“But it is a hard game. I realised I could grow this quicker.”
She was inspired into the all natural range from her upbringing which she describes as akin to the 1970s sitcom The Good Life.
“It is considered quite chic and cool now but in the 1980s not so much,” she said.
“My mother was a nurse and when we were unwell she would always look to cure it with a remedy before prescription drugs.”
She runs the business alongside her partner Mr Johnson whom she had known since childhood. From an entrepreneurial family, Mr Johnson has a background in finance but always wanted to follow suit and work for himself.
He magnanimously describes his partner as “the creative one and the force behind the firm” with his role as the supporting functions.
“The whole ethos of the business is to be as natural as possible and the most natural on the market,” he said.
“The vast majority of sales are through Amazon. It is the first port of call for people. We have three of our products on the front page. There are key things you can do but if I am honest it is about keeping your service levels high.
“There are loads of algorithms but the main one is customer feedback. Ninety two per cent of ratings are five star plus, that is one of the key matrix that get you to the top.”
The pair’s move into starting their own natural health company has already garnered them a slot on the ITV programme Give it a Year, hosted by Karren Brady, which tracks the progress of people following their dreams for 12 months.
Their appearance generated a huge spike in sales, with 8,000 people visiting their website within minutes of their appearance.
Already, both of the Myrtle & Maude bosses, have plans to expand the business.
“You have to really adapt when you have a business like ours,” said Ms d’Albert-Pusey .
“Overall, our objective is to be stocked in John Lewis. But what we have now is a really niche product. The big aim is to come out of pregnancy and baby and be an all natural company, with ranges of teas etc.”