Irina continues her family’s passion for and expertise in naturopathic medicine. Part of the reason her family were so interested in holistic health remedies was because they lived in the Belarusian town of Hoiniki, where she was born, just 50km from Chernobyl, Ukraine, and one of the three towns in Belarus most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Irina also took an early interest in alternative health remedies to help deal with digestive problems she suffered as a teenager.
In the early 1990s Irina had the opportunity to move to Poland to study, and worked there for six years before moving to the UK in 1998. After obtaining a degree in Business Studies, she moved into the corporate world and worked in investment banking.
During this time, she continued to research and further develop her strong interest in natural health remedies, partly to help her overcome her own digestive disorders. After experiencing the benefits of a seven-day juice cleanse programme several years ago, Irina says that she had never felt better, with unbounded energy, enhanced mental clarity and, above all, the elimination of any digestive problems.
Based on her own personal experience and considerable further research into the power of raw juices, she decided to establish Purifyne, to provide organic, cold-pressed and nutritionally rich fruit and vegetable juices. Irina combines her juice cleanse plan with regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet with the infinite power of positive thinking in her daily life; a philosophy she shares with her friends and clients. She has been a keen Ashtanga Yoga follower and practitioner for the past twelve years, as well as a passionate classical ballet dancer.
Your story tells of great courage and a strong desire to change your reality. What drove you to this path?
In the former Soviet Union, we all – at school, work and university, were taught to be the same or as equal and I didn’t agree with that “label”. All of us were individuals with different aspirations, abilities and capabilities. We were individuals with dreams that were completely disregarded by the government. My dream was to be ‘free’ and do what I want in my life with no restrictions, borders or status quo.
What has been the darkest moment of your life during this journey?
One of the most difficult moments in my life was six months after arriving in London. My studies, two part-time jobs, exam pressure and financial problems began to take its toll. The stress and exhaustion had a huge impact on my overall health. I developed hypothyroidism, adult acne and gastrointestinal issues. The acne hugely knocked my confidence, and self-esteem. From a confident, positive and outgoing young woman I turned into an introvert with insecurities and doubts, and I couldn’t recognise myself. Every day became a battle, with myself first and foremost.
What helped you overcome this and kept you believing that you will succeed?
When you do something that you truly believe in, are passionate about and know deep in your heart that it’s the right thing to do – it becomes so much easier to succeed. We have a saying in Russia: “If you struggle long and hard enough, you will reach your goal”.
I was brought up with a belief that things don’t come easy and that one has to work hard on what one wants in life. When you do that and believe in what you do, things tend to fall into place and the ‘universe’ helps you to succeed.
Being a migrant woman makes you very adaptable, resourceful, creative and innovative as the environment forces you to be so.
What are your strongest points that made you become so resilient?
Optimism, determination and self-belief.
What inspires you in life?
My business. I am immensely proud of what we do and the positive feedback from our clients.
According to you, what makes a woman successful in business?
Staying positive and upbeat despite any obstacle, listening to your gut and having the ability to adapt to change
In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being a migrant woman in creating a successful life story?
Being a migrant woman makes you very adaptable, resourceful, creative and innovative as the environment forces you to be so. Because you don’t have your family support as much (it certainly was in my case), you become very focused and strive for being the best you can possibly be. In your mind ‘you’ don’t represent just yourself but you represent the whole country. The main disadvantage is a lack of your close family support around you.
What is your destination on this journey to success?
I don’t think that there is ‘a destination’ to reach as such. Things change and evolve on a daily basis so quickly and our ambitions, aspirations and what we want from life changes with it. I believe it to be a constant work in progress.