Jenny Sleath’s day job involves fighting crime and keeping us all safe. However, her secondary professional endeavour involves keeping us safe from the perils of an unhealthy lifestyle. Jenny is the founder of Lifebox — a superfood subscription service that continues to go from strength to strength.
It was when Jenny decided to improve her fitness levels that she started to think about food differently. She noticed that certain foods gave her an energy boost and improved her general wellbeing. Jenny started to research the link between diet and important health issues such as sleep quality, mental health, energy levels and general well-being. And she changed her eating habits in order to reap the health-related rewards.
Unfortunately, a back problem meant jenny had to spend a prolonged period off work. Following surgery, she decided to turn her newfound passion into a business. It was during her recovery that Lifebox was born — and Jenny hasn’t looked back since.
Jenny noticed just how much more she could achieve with her new, healthier diet. She could train harder and for longer at the gym, because her body had the fuel it needed. However, she wants people to find their own path to health and wellbeing — which is what this health food venture is all about.
Living the dream 24/7
For Jenny, the Lifebox journey has been life-changing. The busy entrepreneur is still a serving police officer, but she now works on a part-time basis. And while there are no plans to retire from law enforcement any time soon, Jenny is keen to strike the right balance between work and the more important things in life.
“I have to admit, it’s very hard to find the right work-life balance right now. I’m so driven by my desire to make Lifebox a global success, but I also know that I need to look after myself. I often have to force myself to take days off — simply to spend time with my family.
“You only live once, so you can’t afford to neglect the truly important things in life. Lifebox is all about health and wellbeing, so I’d be kind of negating all of the positive aspects of healthy eating if I were to run myself into the ground.
“At first, I probably worked too much. I sacrificed time with my family in order to hold down my job and get Lifebox off the ground. But as the company has grown, I’ve been able to bring a few partners on board to take some of the strain. I have someone to look after my website now, so that’s made things a lot more manageable.
“Don’t get me wrong, life is still hectic at times, and I still struggle to find the time to do the important things in life. But more recently I’ve learned how to switch off. I also recently got a puppy. Yes, that’s hard work too, but it’s so rewarding… and she helps me to relax.”
Living with the challenges of running a successful business
Jenny is rightly proud of her achievements, but she admits that running a business can be a minefield. The ups and downs involved in getting her company off the ground definitely took their toll, but Jenny remains philosophical and positive — about the past, the present and the future.
She said: “ I often found myself so immersed in Lifebox that I totally forgot who I was, what was important to me, and even about the important people in my life.
“It has at times been a struggle but working through this has only made me stronger as a person as well as strengthening the relationships I have with my friends and loved ones.”
Establishing a business from scratch is something only those who have done it can understand. The process is long, slow and laborious, and it can take both a physical and emotional toll. This was something Jenny experienced first hand.
“I found it incredibly isolating working from home and doing everything on my own at first. You are literally the one person taking on all these different roles, some of which you have absolutely no experience of.
“I remember my launch day in my local town centre. There was huge excitement for my first event; however, engaging with people and talking to them about healthy eating was incredibly tough.
“I remember having to start sampling lots of goodies, as free stuff always draws people in to come and chat to you. I guess that was a real knock back for me. I think I sold literally just a few boxes, and I handed out a gazillion leaflets that were probably thrown away. BUT…..it was about sticking with it.”
Helping people on their journey to health and wellbeing
Lifebox is a health food subscription service that is aimed at helping people help themselves. Filled with healthy snacks, superfoods and nutritious ingredients, Lifebox packs are designed to give people ideas about how to implement a healthy, wholesome and mostly vegan diet. Each pack contains goodies such as vanilla spice coffee, healthy brownies, fermented red cabbage, seasonal granola and various other nutritious snacks.
The contents of the average Lifebox are continually changing — allowing people to stay one step ahead of the latest health food trends.
Jenny is understandably very passionate about her product.
She said: “For me, Lifebox is about a journey of discovery. We’re not trying to dictate to people or make them feel guilty. We want to help people make the best possible dietary choices for them.
“Some of our customers are new to the principle of healthy eating, and they use Lifebox to learn more about what’s available. Others are already leading a healthy lifestyle, but enjoy the convenience and ideas Lifebox delivers.
“We’re giving people healthy alternatives to the everyday, processed snacks so many people rely on. Instead of taking a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar to work as a snack, we give people the option of taking something far more nutritious.
“What we do is all about education and giving people an idea of what healthy eating is all about. Some people are introduced to certain foods for the very first time because of the service we provide, and that’s very rewarding for me.”
Healthy eating options for everyone
Lifebox offers three main options for customers: subscriptions, gifts and one-off purchases. For a recurring monthly charge, customers receive a box of healthy goodies on a continual basis. There’s also the option to sign up for a fixed period. Delivery is free, so all subscribers have to do is wait for their Lifebox to arrive at the door once a month.
There’s also the option of buying one box at a time. The boxes are evolving all the time, as new products are being sourced all the time. There is a Lifebox for wellness and one for health, as well as an option designed specifically for men. Seasonal boxes are added throughout the year, including the Luxury Christmas Box — which makes an ideal gift.
A recent agreement with Marie Claire has resulted in a brand new and wholly unique box aimed at the magazine’s readership. Customers also have the option of sending a box as a present, complete with a personal message and gift wrap.
One final pearl of wisdom from Jenny…
“If I were to give anyone starting a business or new venture some advice, it would be to have belief in yourself. Believe that your idea and your brand are strong.
“Stick with that gut feeling you have about how successful your idea can be, and keep the passion burning. It’s going to be tough, but perseverance is the key. Try different avenues when you need to, but never give up!”
What Do You Do?
I’m a front line police officer in the West Midlands Police and founder of the health food subscription company Lifebox
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
I think time travel would be fascinating.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to think that I will be an even better version of myself and that I will have been lucky enough to have had a couple of children. Perhaps be the owner of a Lifebox Wholefood Market / Cafe and perhaps have at least started to write a book! (thats rather a lot I know but a you have probably guessed I don’t like to do things let alone LIFE by halves!) A huge thank you to the wonderful Ninja for having me. Happy New Year everyone x x