Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Kruse, Owner of Herbal Beauty, located in Wells, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Herbal Beauty is skincare inspired by nature. Over the past 15 years, I have formulated an entire line of bath and body products that utilize the nourishing properties of herbs and plant-derived ingredients.
I connect the proper herbs to the skin type to create a more balanced skin in the end. Our customers desire skin care products that don't contain synthetic ingredients but instead use the chemistry of nature through herbal-infused skincare.
Tell us about yourself
Healthy living and nature have always been a significant part of my life. My love of the outdoors prompted me to attend college in Bozeman, Montana, where I enrolled in the health and nutrition program. While in college, I took classes on natural healing, herbalism, holistic health, and edible and medicinal wild plants.
I also attended my first lotion and lip balm-making class (I still have the original recipe!) at the cutest herb shop. I hooked up right away! I fell in love with the ingredients, aromas, process, and endless formulation possibilities.
In 2004, I moved back to my hometown in MN and spent my free time studying and foraging local plants with my fiancé. We got married in 2005, and in 2006 our first daughter was born.
In 2006, I started making cold-process soap as a hobby. I would sneak downstairs during nap time and make 1-pound batches of soap using essential oils and local plants. We gave it out as gifts and set up a small table at the Mankato Farmers' Market.
Today, our soap batch size is 22 pounds (about 100 bars), and we have developed an entire skincare line using our accumulated knowledge of medicinal plants. We still sell at the Mankato Farmers' Market and many other local shops.
My passion for herbs, skincare, formulating, and helping others feel their best motivates me to learn and grow. When people feel confident in their skin, they feel more at ease. In addition, I love creating fresh and new products for our customers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest business accomplishment would be building a business that supports my family and being able to do what I love daily. I feel fortunate to share my creativity and passion through my products. I also feel grateful for all our connections with our customers and community.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It is challenging for me to keep up with the new technology, social media platforms, advertisements, and website updates. Also, some people think being self-employed means being able to clock out when you want to, but often it means never clocking out! It is essential to take breaks to prevent burnout. I am still learning how to find a balance between work and play.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Create a product for a market, don't try and create a market for a product.
- Focus on what is succeeding and let go of what isn't.
- Quality and efficiency will make you competitive.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." I have this quote at my desk. It reminds me to move forward slowly and that success isn't always immediately noticeable but builds over time.
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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