Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brooke Henderson, Founder of Botana, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Botana is a sustainable bedding company where our products are made from 100% hemp. Hemp is one of the most sustainable crops on this planet - when compared to cotton, it uses about one-third of the amount of water, it does not require pesticides or fertilizers to grow, and one acre of hemp produces about three times more fiber than one acre of cotton. When talking about the fabric, hemp is antibacterial, antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and thermoregulating - everything you want in your bed sheets. It's also extremely breathable and continues to get softer with each wash.
Our customers are people who value sustainability and natural products and are willing to pay a premium for those products. We like to use the term 'eco-luxe': they are looking for a high-quality product that has a luxurious feel and a sustainable footprint and will outperform its conventional counterpart. We knew people weren't going to sacrifice comfort just for sustainability's sake, so we set out to make the most comfortable bedding our customers have ever owned; it just happens to be made from 100% hemp.
Tell us about yourself
After being introduced to hemp in early 2019, we quickly learned that its sustainability profile is the envy of all other textiles. After the landmark Farm Bill passed and legalized hemp in the United States, I saw it popping up everywhere: bioplastic, wood, concrete, paper, textiles. I got to thinking, researching, and planning. Eventually, it hit me: "What about bedding?"
I had never considered starting my own company, and I had no experience in textiles or home goods, but as I dug in, I felt a new spark. It's time we make the shift to sustainability in every part of our lives - not just the cars we drive or the clothes we wear, but also the food we eat and, yes, the bedding we sleep on. I hope that with Botana, I'm doing my small part to make the world a better place and that you'll join me in Dreaming Responsibly.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment thus far is simply launching my business. There are so many steps and hurdles you have to jump through before you're able to launch a business, and so many people end up giving up before they really get started. I'm so happy I was able to build Botana from the ground up, largely during a pandemic, and saw it through to launch. That's an accomplishment in and of itself, and it is something every person who has started a business should be proud of.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I am a solo founder, I bootstrapped my business, and I still run the business 100% on my own. My business rides on my back, and at times that can be very stressful. The most important thing is to not let the stress overwhelm you - this is really hard at times, but when I'm able to just dive into the work I have to do for the day instead of stressing out about what I'm not getting done that day, the outcome is more productive. Learning how to manage your stress, your day-to-day activities, and your short and long-term goals is hard for every business owner, and it's something I'm continuously working on.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Believe in your idea and your product - if you can't sell yourself on the product, how can you sell to anyone else?
- Don't be afraid to dive right in. News flash: most people don't know what they're doing and are just figuring it out as they go. Don't let the unknown stop you from getting started; you can find an answer or a solution to almost everything, and you won't know unless you try.
- Use your network, and don't be afraid to ask people for advice. There are so many people who can help you in areas you might lack, and there are so many people who have gone through what you're about to go through. Use them as a resource! Ask questions, listen to thoughtful advice, and learn from their mistakes.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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