5 Minutes With ... Sharin Thurin, Slim Secrets

Sharin Thurin was bound to become health conscious. Hailing from a family with a medical background (her brother, father and in-laws are doctors), and having spent 15 years working in pharmacies, Sharon became a wellness coach. Whilst she always had an interest in health and wellness, it was in this role that she discovered a gap in the market. Sure, there are hundreds of snack bars and shakes on the market, but many are not nutritionally balanced or specially suited for women. After spending some time working on nutritional products that were full of beneficial ingredients that still tasted delicious, Slim Secrets was born. With its fun-loving icon, and approachable packaging, this cheeky brand boasts a variety of products from snack bars to guilt-free chips and the best bit: these delicious treats are readily available in the health section at Coles and Woolworths. We sat with Sharon to discuss Slim Secrets...

Sharon, how did the concept start? Whilst I was working as a weight loss coach it concerned me how many overweight patients we had and how their weight issues usually affected their overall health. It was during this time that I saw a gap in the health/wellbeing snack market for snacks that were nutritionally balanced, convenient, tasted great and that were also a bit cheeky. Most of the products at that time were geared towards either the body builder, or whilst were low in sugar for example were then high in fats…but nothing balanced! I thought this was a good idea as a hobby and after discussing it with my target market decided to start this fun adventure. Little did I know that the so called hobby would be become this rapidly expanding global business!

In a few words, describe the Slim Secrets consumer... The Slim Secrets consumer is usually (but not always) females interested in their health, fitness and or weight conscious. She is usually busy on the go, savvy and craves a balanced lifestyle.

Who would you most love to be the face of Slim SecretsIt’s funny as we don’t use any ambassadors for Slim Secrets because I believe this can be intimidating sometimes for consumers. We use an animated female character on our packaging in the hope that everyone can picture themselves being healthy, fit and happy with their weight and enjoying a Slim Secrets product. However that being said I believe Elle McPherson would be great as the face of Slim Secrets as she is fit, healthy looking and fab!

Slim Secrets has the cutest packaging! How important was it to make the brand approachable for women of all ages and shapes? That is exactly what we wanted from our packaging: to not only be approachable for all women of all ages and shapes but also to communicate to the consumer. For example, if you are having an afternoon snack attack here is the snack for you (our Afternoon Snack Attack bar is high in protein and fibre to help fill you up and keep you going 'til dinner).

Slim Secrets is now stocked in 10 countries! Did you expect the products to be in high demand so quickly? Slim Secrets started as a hobby so to see the brand growing rapidly and in many countries around the world is so exciting and definitely not expected!! I have just had orders sent to Bahrain, Japan, New Zealand and China just this week. It definitely keeps me on my toes!

Unable to eat wheat, I was thrilled to discover your products are wheat free! Was it difficult to create nutritional products that taste delicious too? We have tried to create as many wheat or gluten free products as possible in our range which helps us stand out from most of the products in the sports/weight management section. You are correct in saying that it’s not always easy to create these wheat free options that have a nutritional profile that fits into the Slim Secrets criteria and taste great. We get many emails from very happy customers who love the fact that Slim Secrets ticks all their boxes.

What did your role as a wellness coach involve? When I worked as a wellness coach I helped my clients achieve effective ways to create permanent lifestyle changes incorporating their diet, exercise and life balance. They would set realistic and achievable goals and would work towards reaching and maintaining those. The results were fantastic! However Slim Secrets is now much too busy for me to take on individual clients any more.

Having not owned your own business previously, you must learn a lot along the way. Is life hectic? Balance and rewards are critical to the ultimate success of Slim Secrets and my continued motivation. Family is vital to me and the flexibility of running my business from home when I need to means I can be readily available for my husband and children and here I get balance. I also try and do some form of exercise most days which helps clear my mind. I love going out, having fun and taking time to relax and forget about work for a little while. We receive daily emails of thanks from customers who love the Slim Secrets brand and to help in the fight against obesity (even slightly) is motivation in itself. My team of people also help keep me motivated! I find that every day I learn something new about business and every day a new challenge is faced!

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why? I love this question -  it's definitely hard to choose just one but I will choose Oprah. I love her story, her passion for everything she does, she is an inspiration to so many people all over the world. I would love Oprah to just pop into my home for a casual drink, a chat and a laugh as I believe that would be the best way to meet Oprah.

Slim Secrets has just collaborated with swimmer Michael Klim on Milk Active, could you tell us about that? The Slim Secrets brand has a largely female audience and I felt that there was a gap in the market for a male oriented active range that was as nutritionally balanced. We had supplied Michael and his wife Lindy with Slim Secrets protein bars in the past and he was a big fan. Hence, he approached me about doing a range of snack products with his Milk Active brand which compliments his skin care and lifestyle products. We have co-branded Milk Active powered by Slim Secrets range and are very proud of how well it has been received by so many varied consumers. The best part of the collaboration is that we are actually having fun in the process!

What else is on the cards for the brand? We have had an amazing response to our brand in so many overseas countries and are working on growing this area of our business. However the most exciting element of our global expansion is that we are currently working with someone very prominent US to license our brand to them in the US/Canada. If this formula works we will look at doing the same in other countries such as India where we have had some keen interest. We believe this will help grow our name and brand enormously. We are also launching some exciting and innovative new products in the next few months with a focus on more raw style ingredients. We are having such fun and we can’t wait for these to come to market!

Lastly Sharon what makes you feel SpoiltI love my life and my family and that makes me feel spoilt. I feel so spoilt to have been given a great upbringing by my parents and now able to carry that on with my husband Peter, our children, extended family and friends. Holidays, massages, hugs, laughs, giving to others and sharing all make me feel spoilt! When times are stressful there is nothing better than treating myself to a great massage!