Behind the Business: Camilla Barnard, Rude Health

Camilla Barnard Rude Health

What do you do for work?

I look after the Rude Health brand, which is remarkably similar to looking after and bringing up a child. The business has its own personality and path, my job is to help guide it and bring the best out of it.

When did you find the work you love?

I found that what mattered was working with people I liked and respected and also that I loved starting things. This was in my 30s, a couple of years before starting Rude Health.

How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey? 

Quite slowly, with lots of detours and very little sense of direction. At school I was led to believe that to be “successful” you needed to be a “results-oriented, self-confident and driven personality and a natural leader.” I am not that person, and yet Rude Health has grown from the kitchen table to a thriving business with an office in the Netherlands and a café, and it’s still fun. As far as I’m concerned, that’s an extraordinary success. And I’m more self-confident than I was when I started.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?

I’d advise patience, but I think the energy of frustration is what gets a business going. The pushing uphill is really important. If Nick and I had been patient, we might never have got the foods into shops.

How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?

Doing completely unrelated things, like watching ballet, going on holiday, reading novels. I think that if you follow your interests, they will inspire your work. Too much focus on one thing becomes narrow and limiting. I could be accused of having too little focus, I’ll take that.

What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?

The challenge with having a business with your husband is managing to talk about anything else. So any time when we aren’t thinking or talking about RH is balance for me.

How does being a woman affect your work?

As I’ve never been a man, this is an impossible question. I compare having the business to having children a lot, which may reflect being a mother, but it may also just be the way I think, in that I am all about people.

How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?

With great difficulty. When things are really tough it’s less about motivation and more about hanging in there. It’s probably good training, but it’s not fun.

How do you ensure you practise self-care?

I didn’t for years, and inevitably exhaustion set in after a while. It’s much easier now that the business thrives without day-to-day involvement from me or Nick.

What does money mean to you?

At its best, freedom. But the people I most admire are those who live freely without the need for much money

What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?

Not sure I’d have listened, so maybe wouldn’t bother.

What’s next for you?

At Rude Health, lots more innovation. Outside Rude Health I’m working out how to get a tree house into my life (without a garden to put it in).

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