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Lemongrass Trading Company
Stacy started Lemongrass Trading Company in 2014. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Lemongrass Trading Company?
It happened when I was in rural South India. I was doing some agricultural research in a chemically-saturated environment, which was both bankrupting and poisoning the poor farmers. I learned that traditionally Lemongrass was used as an insecticide and a food preservative for its general antibacterial and antifungal powers. (Did you know it’s an ingredient in Dettol?)
A Farmers’ Cooperative was wheeling past me with a bamboo cart piled with produce, and – more useful for a traveller – small bottles of their own essential oils. I loved the Lemongrass oil and thought I’d use it as a food ingredient, but realised that it was a brilliant natural insecticide, and started to use it against Mosquitoes and Flies.
I had no background in chemistry, in business, or in manufacturing. But I’ve always believed that if you can read, you can do anything.
So I began learning about Active Ingredients, Emulsifiers, High-Shear Mixers, the life-cycle of the Fruit Fly … honestly, if ever there was ever a problem, I would just look up the answer. That’s one of the most important tips I have for other entrepreneurs, just look it up!
I started reading - academic papers, books on ‘Green Chemistry’, on branding, on bar codes, on shelf-life, on SEO, on marketing.
At the same time I was finding out how to mix oil and water, what bottles and sprays and caps and boxes were available. Sometimes it seemed overwhelming, and of course there were expensive mistakes: for example, I started with glass bottles (recyclable) but they are expensive and heavy to mail, and they shatter. I try not to waste anything, so I use them still, not for products but for batch experiments in the lab.
The governmental ‘Innovation For Growth’ grant I mentioned was important not so much for the money as for it was in validating the product. This level of Laboratory testing gave us real gravitas which was vital (and helped me to have confidence).
As far as my financial situation at the time - I had a not-very-good pension but my husband was still working, so I was able to use the pension money for the business as it arrived.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater