All businesses start with some kind of spark, the idea that you can fill a gap that isn’t being filled.
BottomLine’s Founder, Lisa Genovese, is fascinated by the do-or-die mentality of bootstrapped entrepreneurs who are building their own visions through grit and determination.
This month, she sat down with Stella Sehn, Founder and Innovator with Sweet Pure Honey as well as Shawna Curry, Registered Nurse and Founder of Health Redesigned to gain direct insight from the trenches of start up, health-focused and holistic business.
Sweet Pure Honey and Health Redesigned
Sweet Pure Honey is a family run honey farm in Saskatchewan that ships pure honey as well as face and body products made from their product all over the world. Health Redesigned is dedicated to total-health solutions and all of the aspects of healthy living including sleep, nutrition, fitness, self-help, and overall lifestyle strategies.
Can you tell us what your company is?
Sweet Pure Honey was born out of necessity. I’m a businessperson who wears many hats, I’m not just an entrepreneur and a mom, I’m also a bee farmer and we produce the products health and skin care products in addition to raw honey.
Health Redesigned is my baby! My vision is for a world where no one has to suffer from preventable diseases, and that’s what Health Redesigned is all about. It empowers you as the client to have the tools and knowledge to take care of yourself.
How did you get started? What’s the story behind the magic?
We were tired of being at the mercy of market fluctuations and our family’s income is dependant on decisions made around the world. Sweet Pure Honey was born to bring extra income into our family of five. My husband and I brainstormed and figured out of how we were going to make money, and I was very lucky to have a lot of smart people to help me very early, who convinced me that my story is what was going to sell our product. Lucky for us we have an exceptional product, but it was a combination of skill, honesty and authenticity that came together to build our brand as it exists today.
It’s two-fold. When I was younger I had a large overbite, so much so that by the point I was 18 I could barely eat solid food. I had jaw reconstruction which lead to a series of sinus infections for six month. I wound up with a whole bunch of ailments that a young woman between 18-20 shouldn’t have, like shingles, gout, staph infections, inflammation, a lack of sleep, and my mental health fell apart. I felt really stuck in the healthcare system as they kept telling me nothing was wrong, and spent thousands on alternative medicine and went nowhere. What I talk about with all of my clients is my experience of trying to heal myself, which comes down to 7 core pillars that I found in all of the programs that are out there. It’s never one thing that will fix your health, it’s a combination of all of them. Your body knows how to heal, you just have to give it the right things in the right order.
Can you share one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
Being honest and not letting your vision cloud the reality of what’s happening in the reality of your present business. It’s so important to always think about the future, but you have to be honest when something isn’t working. A lot of people, due to the time or the investment, will not change or adapt. But if it’s not working, you’re not moving forward, you’re not growing, and it’s not serving your strategy. I’d also encourage business owners to reach out. Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect and collaborate. There’s a time and place to do things for money, but you have to schedule in helping, giving, and networking in ways that you do not profit. You have to step outside of your daily network to gain a wider perspective.
I dove in too quick. You need to be able to feed yourself and your family. We see all of these “overnight successes” and we don’t realize how incredibly rare it is. That’s the unicorn. My biggest lesson is that you need to have a side gig and something that pays your bills while you build your project.
What’s next for your company?
We are definitely moving towards automation. We used to hand pack everything and turns out, your customers don’t care if it’s hand-packed! So we are going to explore more automation that will help free up cashflow that would otherwise be spent on labour. We will definitely be exporting to other markets through our online store. People talk all the time about diversification in your business, but I don’t know if anyone in my generation has ever really experienced a recession in the way that we have. Now that I have seen how dependent many of my core clients were on oil money, I have realized how important it is to have a wider customer base in the event that a specific market tumbles. I can now reach out to other countries that will pay money for the value that I’m offering.
I’ve spent a little more time trying to break into workplace wellness. I want to be able to scale my program to the bigger picture. I’m trying to find ways to support the healthcare system to combat chronic illness without it being an expensive privatized system. I think online education will be the way that healthcare will start shifting and I’d love to be a part of that.
Being an entrepreneur is never easy. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, however we have gained some very important lessons from our conversations this month, particularly to never underestimate how much work it will take to get your operation off the ground.
To stay up to date with Stella and the Sweet Pure Honey family, visit SweetPureHoney.ca where you can learn all about their family business, and their products that extend far beyond just honey. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Shawna encourages everyone to check out her website at HealthRedesigned.com and you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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