Wendy Mackenzie


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Wendy Mackenzie is an American entrepreneur. Wendy started Everlasting Herb Farm in 2003.[1]

Wendy Mackenzie, founder of Everlasting Herb FarmWendy Mackenzie, founder of Everlasting Herb Farm

Company

Companies

Everlasting Herb Farm, Everlasting Herb Farm

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Early Career

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Everlasting Herb Farm

Wendy started Everlasting Herb Farm in 2003. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: [1]

Q: How did you get started on Everlasting Herb Farm?

My interest in herbalism started when I was teaching health in 1998 and an herbalist guest speaker came into my classroom. Isabelle Hadley showed my high school students beautiful jars of dried herbs and passed around small vials of plant-based essential oils. She talked about using these beneficial plants for health and beauty, as healthier alternatives to products many of us were using in our daily lives. Everything smelled so good and I was captivated. I followed Isabelle out of the classroom and took her 6 Saturday long course at her cozy log cabin in the woods. We learned about plants and made herbal products. I had found my passion.

Supporting pollinators is a big part of what we do here at Everlasting Herb Farm. We give back to help the plants that help support us.

Five years later in 2003, with the help of my friend, Mary Ellen Reis, Everlasting Herb Farm was born. We met while volunteering for our local school’s parent/teacher group when our children were little. We went to Pickety Place in New Hampshire one day, which is where you can enjoy a fabulous 5-course herbal lunch, walk through greenhouses, and wander gift shops designed around herbal themes. On the long, three hour drive home, we chatted about starting our own herbal business.

We generated lots of ideas, but we landed on growing herbs and everlasting flowers that dry well to make Tussie Mussies, bouquets that featured the Language of Flowers, in which each flower had its meaning and you could convey your thoughts much as they did during Victorian times. Well, this was just about the stupidest idea ever, and my first piece of advice to new entrepreneurs is to think about what you name your business. I am attached to our name, “Everlasting Herb Farm”, but we don’t grow everlastings, and we don’t farm row after row of herbs, so we aren’t your typical herb farm. I do grow herbs, mostly herbs that grow despite me, and my gardens are a bit on the messy side because I value the plants that grow for me prolifically.

About one year later of dabbling with various product ideas, we decided that it might not be a business that could support us both financially and Mel ended up starting her own marketing business. For 9 years, Everlasting Herb Farm was just a side hustle while my children were little. I could study and experiment with different formulations and even tried them out on my family. I found this so entertaining, and a great way to grow intellectually while my kids were young and I was a stay at home mom.

I did an internship with Zack Woods Herb Farm in 2003. In exchange for planting and weeding, I was able to attend classes. Melanie and Jeff Carpenter are amazing herbalists and farmers, and I learned so much from them about herbal product making.

Soon after that, I found a way to take courses with Rosemary Gladstar at Sage Mountain, which was exactly 30 minutes from my house. I started with her home study course, The Art and Science of Herbalism, and went on to take her beginner herbal apprentice class and then her advanced class. I learned to make salves, Rosemary’s Perfect Cream, teas, tinctures, flower essences, and fell even more in love with product making. Working with useful plants became my passion. It was the perfect fit.

On a girl’s weekend away, my friend, Jen, was perusing catalogs she had gotten in the mail. She suggested I send product samples to a large Vermont retailer, because they sold similar items to what I made, but not exactly what I made. I thought she was crazy, but less than one week after I sent a box of products off, I was talking to a buyer who wanted herbal cosmetic products made to their specifications for white labeling, specifically a solid perfume. It was at this point that Everlasting Herb Farm started to grow. I was teaching full time, filling orders in the evening and on weekends, and eventually, I ran out of time outside of my teaching hours to fulfill orders.

The business took over the kitchen, our dining room, and office space. Our mudroom became storage for shipping supplies. You couldn’t move in some areas of our house. My husband, Matthew, who is now my business partner, built a beautiful barn in the backyard to house our growing business. We took out a loan for $35,000 to build the new workspace, which for paying back $336 each month for 10 years was one of the best things we ever did. The money covered most of the materials, (we now have about $50,000 into it total with insulation and fixtures). Matthew built the space himself in his spare time, It took 1 ½ year to build, but it was worth the wait. My new workspace is beautiful and a dream come true.

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how-i-started-a-6k-month-plant-based-organic-body-care-brand

Source [1]

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