The Founder of Self Care Originals on over coming rejection and taking risks in business


July 14, 2023

Member Spotlight

We met with Rachael to discover more about her personal mental health journey and her own learning of running a small business and taking risks.

We met with Rachael to discover more about her personal mental health journey and her own learning of running a small business and taking risks.

Meet Rachael Akhidenor - a member at The Commons Wellington Street. Rachael is the Founder and Director of Health and Wellbeing brand Self Care Originals.


We met with Rachael to discover more about her personal mental health journey and her own learning of running a small business and taking risks.

The focus of this brand was closing a gap that Rachael felt was missing in the market – and to make caring for our mental and emotional wellbeing as easeful and inevitable as caring for our physical one.

Where did Self Care Originals start? What was the initial idea and how has it evolved since?

This was a time before self-care was a known concept. I had personally struggled to find a brand and products that made looking inward easily accessible and resonant for a person like me (a young, woman of colour, living in a city, and desiring to live a big, full life). So, I decided to create the brand I believed needed to exist in the world.

It started as an apparel line, where we created t-shirts - what we called ‘Wearable Activism’ - to promote the concept of self-care and invite all into the conversation around what it meant to live well.

It’s since then evolved into a progressive wellbeing brand, developing world-first Mental Wellbeing Tools, co-created with psychologists.


"Self Care Originals was born out of an idea to make living a more intentional, aware and compassionate life, cool, easeful and mainstream."

What challenges did you face, if any, in starting your own business? What have you learnt from that process?

Like most founders, I’ve encountered many challenges in starting a brand. From conversations I have with my peers, it seems that challenge never truly goes away – they simply evolve as we move through different stages of business.

At the beginning, the challenge was just being heard. Getting attention on the brand and being taken seriously was incredibly difficult. I wasn’t someone with a social media following. I didn’t have a background in beauty or lifestyle. At the time, I was a university student with little-to-no contacts or connections when it came to the industry or press.

It took a lot of persistence. A lot of knocking on doors that wouldn’t open; a lot of rejection. For every email I got a response to, I probably had 20 or 30 that were left unanswered (or even, unopened).

It’s taught me to have a thick skin, not to internalise rejection and that rejection is purely part and parcel with this job. And if you have an idea that you really believe in, then, it’s up to you to make that known.

You have been quite open about your own personal mental health journey, what do you find helps you personally with health and wellbeing? And staying "grounded"?

My practice ebbs and flows as I move through different stages and seasons of life. What’s always remained is journaling, meditation and yoga. I love to journal as a way to check-in and communicate with myself. It was from this practice that our Self Care Journal was born.

I find the practice of writing so therapeutic and was so delighted to learn, in the development of our Self Care Journal, that this has been scientifically researched and proven.

Meditation allows me to cut through the noise and find space within the busyness of life. And I absolutely love to move my body through yoga. I recently began an Ashtanga practice; which has been a really welcomed and exciting challenge.

What product first launched the brand?

The brand first launched with an ethically made T-shirt. This was intentional. Part of our founding ethos was to make self-care more accessible to all.

Instead of launching with a Mental Wellbeing Tool – which could alienate those who weren’t interested with looking inward – a T-shirt was a product that everyone knew and felt comfortable with. It meant we could reach and communicate with an audience far beyond those interested in self-care.

What brought you to the Commons, how has this helped your journey with Self Care Originals?

I began working at The Commons years ago. It was pre-covid, when the brand was in its absolute infancy. I was looking for more community of like minded people and brands. I was based out of Gipps St, and found Collingwood really creatively enlivening.

Today, I love The Commons as way to connect with my team and others. I love that there are so many locations, so whether I’m northside, southside, or up in Sydney for work, there’s always a base I can work from. The flexibility that it provides is really amazing.

What advice do you have for someone starting their own business, or deciding to freelance?

If you want to start something, start small. Begin freelancing on the side of your full-time job. Start the business on the weekends while you’re still employed.

"It doesn’t have to be this big, risky, scary ‘leap’ into the unknown. You can begin right now."

How big is the Self Care Originals team now?

We are a core team of three, and slowly growing! We’re in the process of bringing our psychology capability in-house, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. There are many exciting times ahead!