About Your Life Diary
I am Alenka, founder, and editor of this blog, a toxic free life advocate and a healthy whole food enthusiast. With my personal interest in health and wellness, I am currently expanding my knowledge in holistic and culinary nutrition. After spending over 20 years running my own businesses I have decided to go back to 'school'.
'Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.' (Henry Fonda)
I have recently completed my Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training, Certificate in Nutrition, Psychology, Behaviour Change & Wellbeing Management Certificate, David Wolfe Raw Nutrition Certificate, 90 Days Body Mind Renewal Online, Gerson Therapy Basics Online, Ayurveda Lifestyle Course, and have read many books related to holistic health and healthy cooking.
From a humble childhood to a career conquering a competitive Western market, I share my story of success, emigrating from Slovenia to Australia, to life traumas and overcoming various other obstacles that life put in my way.
This is My Life Diary
I was born in the small country of Slovenia in a town called Brezice, one hour of the capital city of Ljubljana. The country itself is very small with only two million people but it’s a beautiful country and provided a solid, grounded foundation for what my life would become today.
I had a very sheltered childhood and grew up in a working family, My mother was a chef and my father was a carpenter. As s a child, I and my older sister often helped on my grandparent's small farm. We used to spend a lot of time outside since there was no temptation of computers or mobile phones at that time.
During my time on the farm, I learnt how to plant and grow vegetables and fruit. My family’s modest income meant we weren’t able to afford the luxuries of purchasing much food from a store so we allowed nature to provide the sustenance we needed. At such a young age, it never occurred to me how special it was that I was eating perhaps the most natural and wholesome produce available. I would always be ungrateful and jealous that the other children were able to purchase their food from supermarkets but I realize now, in a day and age where the price of vegetables and fruit are higher than almost any other food product, how silly it was that I took what I had for granted.
My childhood allowed me to garner a great respect for money from the very beginning. Ever since I began my working life at 13, I always made sure to have a budget for myself and be earning my own way in life. My job at that point was picking currants where you would be paid per kilo that was picked. It was tough work with long days but me and my sister were raised to work hard.
At age 14, I moved to selling bread at a local bakery. I would wake up at 4.30am every Saturday morning, get on my bicycle and ride to the shop. This set me up with basic customer relations skills and money handling – concepts that would come in handy further down the line for me.
As a child, I was very creative which shone through in school. A significant moment that I remember from primary school was I wrote a scene for a school play. I managed to write, direct, coordinate and stage the whole thing on my own and I was only 10 years old. That was when I first discovered that I was not only creative but had the skills of a good leader.
When the end of high school neared, I reached a cross roads: Do I continue studying? Or do I continue with something else? The only thing that I was certain of was that I wanted to be my own boss. So I did just that.
I managed to complete hairdressing school and high school at the same time, allowing me to attain my apprenticeship as a hairdresser in Ljubljana. At 20, I decided to attempt to run my own hair salon. My supportive father built an attachment to our house that would serve as my own salon.
Unfortunately, this positive time of my life would not last as I was the victim of a car accident involving a drunk driver. I almost lost my leg but was lucky enough to have a top surgeon available at the ER when I arrived. It took me a long time to recover both physically and mentally from the trauma. To this day, I am still self-conscious about the scars that this event left me with but overtime, I’m sure that I will grow to not be embarrassed by them.
At this point, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to continue my career as a hairdresser as pain in my leg often verged on unbearable. But I didn’t want to give up on my dreams and seeing my own salon, sitting there unused inspired me to push on.
From 1997 onwards, I continued to expand my business and my industry knowledge, traveling through Europe (Germany, Italy, UK) to learn more about hairdressing and the fashion world. I was trained by well known brands such as L'Oreal, Wella, Paul Mitchel and Toni & Guy to name a few.
During my time in the salons, I was performing lots of makeovers on people and uploading the before and after photos to my website. This was a new concept in Slovenia (1997) that not many businesses were doing. I owe my knowledge of this aspect of the business to my cousin who taught me the basics of website building. My cousin still helps my current business 20 years later.
As the years passed, I soon discovered that the part of my career that I was most passionate about wasn’t the hairstyling. What brought me the most joy out of my business was the confidence that it brought to the women that I worked on; That when they looked into the mirror, they were happy with what they saw and felt beautiful.
I continued to be very proactive in the Slovenian beauty community, becoming the president of the local hair association, a member of the national board, a writer for a local newspaper and a hair and beauty moderator on the biggest Slovenian online forum for 7 years.
One day in 2005, I felt ready for a new start and a drastic change in my life. Me and my family (husband and daughter) made the decision to immigrate to Australia to expand our horizons. So, I left my hairdressing business behind, sold a beautiful house in Slovenia, got my permanent resident visa and made the long flight to the land down under. We didn’t know exactly where we were going as we haven’t been in Australia before so I followed my gut feeling and simply knew this is the right thing to do.
It wasn’t an easy move by any means- There were nights I would stay up crying, frustrated over language barriers, social customs, wondering if I had made the wrong decision. For two years I felt lost and broken, wondering if I should just cut my losses and head back to Slovenia. But my pride wouldn’t allow me too. There was no way I was heading back home to my critics who had told me that I wouldn’t make it overseas and that I would be back with my tail between my legs in no time.
With the love and support of my strong husband and daughter backing me, I began to put my focus back into starting another business. I put hours and hours of work and sleepless nights into improving my English, learning Australian business and computer skills and researching for ideas that would become my beauty brand today. Truth be told, I had no idea what I was doing most of the time but I guess I owe my success to my stubbornness and refusal to admit defeat.
Limited funds meant that finding money to start up my business was an issue so we sold out house in order to have money to invest into the business. It was a risk but one that would pay off in the future.
The business skills that I had gained through my Slovenian business and passion for beauty helped me to establish my own natural and certified organic cosmetics.
After some research, I got in contact with suppliers in Asia, manufacturers in Australia and continued work with my cousin who offered graphic and web design and then a few years later, my own natural cosmetic brand was born. Remaining true to my code of ethics and devotion to nature, I developed high quality, natural cosmetic products that were safe on the skin and to the environment.
Today, the brand I created is expanding furhter under new ownership and has a presence across Australia and is proudly exporting internationally to Asia and Europe and expanding further nationally and internationally.
To the shock horror of my adversaries (and even close family), I was able to establish a profitable beauty brand in one of the most competitive markets in Australia as well as internationally.
I am proud of what I have achieved so far in my life but I don’t believe that what I have done was acquired out of luck nor is it out of reach to any of you. The successes that I have experienced are accessible to all of us if you focus your mind and passion into it.
In 2015 I have made a huge decision and have passed my cosmetic brand onto the new owners. I now feel able to pursue further studying knowing that the brand will continue to develop in compassionate and very competent hands.
With my personal interest in health, wellness and toxic free living I am expanding my knowledge in holistic nutrition.
I have worked with Alenka for many years and found that she is very passionate about health and well being. She has made me re think about food and the benefits of analysing my diet that has assisted me to find a healthier way of living, to lose weight and my energy has improved. (Chrissie, Australia)
Meeting Alenka 4 years ago really changed my life, in different ways. She inspired me to think about my lifestyle and step by step, I changed little things. Today, I can say that I live much healthier than before. I still have a long way to go, but Alenka was my biggest inspiration. (Barbara, Belgium)
I know Alenka for a few years now. She is really committed to helping others to live healthier and better lives. Constant conversations with Alenka helped me to improve the way I eat and look after my skin. I was able to slowly switch to semi-raw and Paleo eating and have noticed improvements on my skin very soon, less pimples for sure. (Justine, Philippines)