Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in skin care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Trista Okel, Founder and CEO of Empower BodyCare, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Empower, we make thoughtfully sourced, high-quality CBD products. We use organic ingredients and design all of our products with our customers' experiences in mind. From our Luxe Body Oil to our Full Spectrum CBD Drops and everything in between, helping people soothe discomfort and get back to living life is our number one priority. Our customers span from 93-year-old women struggling with arthritis to millennials wanting better sleep or needing laser focus when working on projects. We have the pleasure of helping a wide array of people get what they need to get back to living their best lives.
Tell us about yourself
In 2004, my mom was diagnosed with three forms of arthritis, and doctors started prescribing her harmful pharmaceuticals for her pain. I decided that there must be a better way and went to work in my kitchen to create a topical product that could help her. Even from the first iteration of what is now the CBD Luxury Body Oil, Mom was able to get significant relief. I shared the product with people in my community elders, family members, friends, and even some medical marijuana patients, and they kept hearing the same thing - the oil brought great relief.
My motivation to do what I do is twofold. I want to simultaneously reduce the stigma around cannabis by providing "ambassador" products that anyone can use without having intoxicating effects, thus proving that cannabis has therapeutic value and help people relieve their discomfort and live their best lives. Every time (and it is often) that I receive a call from a customer who tells me how much they rely on my products and they help them, it reminds me why I do what I do. After almost ten years in business providing relief to people and over 18 years providing relief to loved ones through my products, it is still incredibly rewarding. I feel honored to be able to do what I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I grew the business from nothing to over $1.5M in five years organically, without any loans or investments.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The unknown. For instance, nobody had any idea that the pandemic was coming and was going to change everything. Overnight, we went from growing quickly to losing a huge percentage of our business. I am grateful to still be in business, rebuilding.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Even at the beginning, set your schedule up to take weekends off. It's vital to have downtime, and as a business owner, that is nearly impossible. I think (or is that hope?) that if an entrepreneur starts their business with set downtime, they can have a healthier work/life balance. If you don't start that way, it will never happen. You simply won't allow yourself to rest until (insert key milestone here). And each new challenge prevents you from actually taking time off.
- Learn to delegate what you can. Nobody will ever do your job as well as you can. It's your business, and you're attached to the outcome and, frankly, making sure your "baby" (business) grows up to be the best it can be! That said, you won't be able to wear all of the hats for long. Seek out and hire talented people to do what you don't do best. That way, you're giving your best to your business.
- Guerrilla marketing is a great option for small start-ups that don't have the marketing money they need to get the word out digitally. If you own a CPG (consumer packaged goods) company, participate in local events, give a product to local charities, get into goodie bags for events, do whatever you can to put a face to the brand. That way, when someone loves your products, they share them with their friends and family and feel a sense of pride that they know or have met the people behind the brand.
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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