With the global wellness industry topping $3.7 trillion, Lauren Anderson has made it her business to celebrate it, quite literally, by way of The Wellness Festival. Dubbed ‘the Coachella of the health world’, it’s the signature bash of her Melbourne-based bespoke events company Colour & Coconuts that, since its launch in April 2016, has sprinted its way across the country with a sparkling line-up of speakers including Mastering Your Mean Girl author Melissa Ambrosini, model Laura Dundovic (aka Miss Universe Australia 2008) and Stylerunner CEO Julie Stevanja in tow.
“I wanted to create an event that celebrated wellness like no-one had before, with a live DJ, fresh coconuts, delicious food and coffee, incredible speakers and a venue styled to perfection,” says Lauren, the former TV and content producer who’d worked with Medibank and Mercedes (and, interestingly, Mars chocolate) before being fortuitously dragged along to a health seminar.
“After hearing from some incredibly inspirational speakers, a spark was ignited and there was no looking back.” Here’s what happened next:
I soon became fascinated with all aspects of wellness, and immersed myself in reading, cooking new healthy recipes and exercising in new and exciting ways. As my passion grew I started integrating exploring fun ways to integrate into my work life from coordinating group PT sessions at the office, organising healthy catering for meetings and shoots and introducing almond milk to the work barista!
The first step in launching Colour & Coconuts was picking a date and securing a superstar line-up of speakers for our launch event. The key-note speakers gave credibility to the brand and once we had our talent we could build a website, pull together a pitch document and start getting people excited on social. From there detailed production costings and planning were key to ensure the business was going to be viable. However, you can only plan so much in a start-up as there were to be so many variables. I just had to jump in and do it, [and] after six months of investing early mornings and late nights, I finally plucked the courage to quit my job after 10 years in the industry.
Producing is all about bringing a vision to life, [so the] skills of budgeting, scheduling and managing a team were very much transferable. Except this time, instead of producing TV commercials, I was now producing events that I was and am truly passionate about! Having worked in large multi-national companies with hundreds of employees, there had always been a set person for each role – writers, art directors, designers, web developers, strategists, accounts, client service and more. So when I leaped into C&C, everything was now in my control and I found myself wearing every hat… daunting but liberating.
Trying to do it all myself [was my biggest mistake in the early days], which is of course impossible! Learning how to delegate certain tasks was crucial to the growth of C&C. There’s no way we could have gone on tour to Brisbane and then Sydney without an incredible team around us. Once you find the right people who understand your vision, it’s incredible what you can achieve!
[A year in, I feel] blessed, scared, uncomfortable and excited. I jump around some days I’m like ‘Loz you’ve got this!’ other days I’m like ‘What the hell am I doing?!’ I think it’s important not to rest on your laurels so that we continue pushing the envelope and wanting to creating new, exciting events.
Building C&C has been a seven-day-a-week role and has led to a few burn outs – oh the irony! It’s so tricky when you love something so much, but I’m getting much better at prioritising rest. Oh, and I’ve just discovered Yin yoga – pure bliss.
[The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of] prioritising health and trusting my gut. The few times I haven’t it has come back to bite me – lesson learnt!