This is a follow up story for Everlasting Herb Farm. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Wendy Mackenzie and I am the co-owner of Everlasting Herb Farm in Peacham, Vermont. We make organic, plant-based body care products using high-end ingredients for mature customers who want top-quality skincare products that are highly effective. We sell products that are soothing for the skin.
One of our most popular products is our Skin Defense Salve. Many people over the years have told us stories about creams that were prescribed by a dermatologist that hasn’t worked for their skin troubles, but how our Skin Defense Salve has come to the rescue. We hear this feedback over and over and are always so happy to hear about their success in using our products. Skin Repair Salve — Meadowscape Botanicals
Everlasting Herb Farm’s story isn’t of great riches, but instead that we have come through the pandemic with a business that had its best year ever last year. It was a year of extremes. I had my worst month, just $600 in sales in June 2020, as well as my best month ever, over $11,500 in August 2020.
I used the early downtime in April and May of 2020 to work on grants to push my business forward. I was successful in receiving three grants. We received help with re-branding, product photography, further educational courses, and social media marketing.
This is a photo of where we make our Meadowcape Botanicals Products here at Everlasting Herb Farm. We finished this barn just in time to allow us to work from home together with a little extra space.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
We hired my first employee ever this May of 2021. She works 10-15 hours per week and packs up orders. It was a scary leap, but I am so glad that we did it. I had to learn what I needed to do to hire an employee so I went to the Center for Women in Enterprise and they were so helpful. I work with a local payroll company, which has taken some of the workloads away from me and I have less to worry about.
We are currently developing a solid deodorant bar that will be in plastic-free packaging. So far, we have been testing them on family, friends, neighbors, and strangers and they are reporting back that this deodorant WORKS, which is so exciting. We are close to getting these perfected and will launch them within a couple of months. We are making a bar that glides against your body but doesn’t melt in hot weather.
Gardener’s Hand Support is a salve that we created that features heirloom rose petals and peony petals. It is popular with my customers and makes a great gift for the gardeners in your life. One customer recently purchased 10 of them to give as gifts to her friends. Gardener's Hand Support — Meadowscape Botanicals
We have joined Faire and Range Me in the hopes of attracting more wholesale accounts. We can white label for companies, and specialize in low MOQs. We will also soon be at The Real Herb Market, an online herb store featuring all things herbal.
I received grant funding to learn how to work with Facebook and Instagram since I hadn’t even used those personally before.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The supply chain has been disrupted by the pandemic. Some things take FOREVER to arrive, and some things are not available at all, which is very frightening. I have learned to order extra supplies ahead of needing them, but I have to watch cash flow, so it is a delicate dance.
Just keep going and try to adapt to what is happening around you. Work at your business as a side hustle until you can jump to it full time.
Personally, my most exciting news is that I am a grandmother for the first time to a wonderful little girl named Reagan. She is 7 months old and lives close by so I get to see her a couple of times each week. Being a grandmother is a lovely experience and I just can’t get enough of this new baby!
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
For the short term, I am planning on creating a shampoo and conditioner bar that will save on shipping costs because they are water-free, and are better for the environment because they will be sold in plastic-free packaging.
I have also been working on perfecting my face creams and body lotions. They include botanicals infused into oils and glycerine. I am working on natural preservation and skin feel.
I am working hard at expanding Everlasting Herb Farm. I would love for my employee to be able to work full time and take over new aspects of the business.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
My Formula Botanica studies have been AMAZING. I highly recommend this online skincare school located in London, England. I am currently taking 6 courses with them and have learned so much about furthering my formulation skills and widened my knowledge of botanical ingredients that are beneficial to the skin.
Humblebee and Me is a great website about formulating body care products. Marie Rayma is such a great resource and she produces lots of videos to show you how to make a whole variety of body care products.
Lisalise is also excellent. Her blog and classes through the Tisserand Institute are so educational. She has so many good tips that you don’t find elsewhere.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Just keep going and try to adapt to what is happening around you. Work at your business as a side hustle until you can jump to it full time. Being in business for myself is way better than any work I have done before. I feel so free and that freedom is priceless.
I have loved working with the Center for Women in Enterprise. They offer free business counseling and classes. They have locations in Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. I can’t say enough about them and all they have to offer.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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