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My first boss: Leading nutritionist Henrietta Norton on a wellness trailblazer

·4-min read
Henrietta Norton co-founded Wild Nutrition in 2013 with her husband Charlie. Photo: Wild Nutrition
Henrietta Norton co-founded Wild Nutrition in 2013 with her husband Charlie. Photo: Wild Nutrition

Henrietta Norton is one of the UK’s leading nutritionists and supplement experts. She co-founded Wild Nutrition in 2013, with her husband Charlie, and is now a market leader in natural food supplements, supporting health including fertility and pregnancy to menopause and stress.

In 2021, Wild Nutrition was one of the few companies to become B Corp Certified and won a Best Places for Work for Women award. It also secured a £5m ($6.7m) investment deal with Piper to grow awareness in the international markets. The business has retail partnerships with Planet Organic, Whole-Foods, Harrods, Selfridges and leading independent health food stores across the UK.

Margo Marrone was a trained pharmacist who decided to go down a different path. The more she understood about how human physiology and pharmaceuticals work, that there are so many side effects to taking medication, the more she wanted to learn about nutrition.

She had opened up a very integrated pharmacy in 2002 – The Organic Pharmacy – on the King’s Road, Chelsea and it paved the way for a more integrated high street approach. She was and is a big hitter in the wellness industry and the shop was where I got my first job as a nutritionist; giving advice on the shop floor as well as holding appointments.

As the pharmacy was a startup business, I was piling products onto the shelves, going behind the till and stock taking. The lesson for me working in a startup was to get your hands dirty and basically do everything going.

Margo was great at delegating responsibility rather than the company being about trailblazing on her own. She got everyone involved and credited everybody when they did something right. That was really supportive for me.

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Margo was doing something new and different – back in 2003 the world of nutrition and healthy living was markedly different to what it is now – and very quickly we had celebrities like Donna Air, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow come in for health advice.

Her husband also worked with her on the design side. From an inspirational point of view, I had seen first hand someone else start from scratch and make a successful business from it. The pharmacy ended up having stores across London, launched in Los Angeles and has a cult following.

In 2021, Norton's company secured a £5m investment deal with Piper to grow awareness in the international markets.
In 2021, Norton's company secured a £5m investment deal with Piper to grow awareness in the international markets

Margo was Iranian-born and strong-minded. This also gave her a sense of confidence and determination. She wouldn’t hold back in telling you if we got things wrong, but there was always something to learn from her.

Back then, I didn’t harbour dreams of owning my own supplement company. But I got a flavour early on about how exciting it is to do something your way. I also got a deeper understanding on her integrated approach, not just an orthodox one, and being able to combine the two together. 

As I then developed in my own practice before we founded Wild Nutrition, my early experiences made me confident to give more advice rather than just nutrition. She definitely whetted my appetite for curiosity.

I stayed for 18 months until 2004. One day a journalist from the Evening Standard came in for a blind consultation at The Pharmacy. I didn’t know she was a journalist and she ended up doing a piece along the lines of the ‘top 10 health gurus you need on your speed dial’. I was put on the front cover and my own bookings suddenly skyrocketed.

There have been moments, particularly at the beginning of the ‘Wild’ journey, where I have looked back on those days at The Organic Pharmacy and the stresses Margo must have felt on owning a company.

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I realised that she must have been under a lot of pressure starting out. But Margo was a game changer.

Wild Nutrition picked up an accolade as one of Best Places for Work for Women by Great Place to Work in 2021
Wild Nutrition picked up an accolade as one of Best Places for Work for Women by Great Place to Work in 2021

She was one of the pioneers in making alternative medicine cool rather than products being in healthy stores and languishing on dusty shelves. Her pharmacy wasn't dour, her own range was a great brand and the shop had an amazing lay out.

Running Wild Nutrition now alongside my husband Charlie – we started out from our garden shed in Sussex in 2013 – we’ve always had the determination and passion to build the business. 

We've also been stubborn enough not to be deterred from starting the company. It’s been quite a journey.

Wild Nutrition has launched its Vegan Protein + Superfoods Blend formulated specifically for those navigating the twists and turns of every day.

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