Natalie is the president and co-founder of Healthy Human Life. Her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis prompted her to make clean living and healthy choices a priority. She co-founded Healthy Human Life to help people eliminate toxins in their life with the simple choice- choose stainless steel.
Tell us a little bit about you and your company, Healthy Human Life.
This company is actually my last venture. My partner and I are with it until the end of this one. We started Healthy Human Life because we wanted to be in the health space with a product that would help people’s health. As you know, I was diagnosed with a MS and one of the easiest and quickest thing I did was to start drinking lots of water. I was having a hard time using glasses, my grip wasn’t good anymore and I needed something unbreakable. We decided to choose stainless steel as a container for water. We wanted this to become a universal product. As we all know, we eat and we drink, so this is a product that people could use and they could give the product to their kids. I really wanted to have something for the entire family as well.
Why would people choose healthy human in stainless steel vs. BPA free plastic?
BPA plastic has really been in the news lately and BPA free is supposedly not safe. We go to extra lengths to make sure that even the lids of our stainless steel stein is lined with the stainless steel and not the BPA free plastic. Even in the malls or the supermarket, they don’t use stainless steel in the lids of their containers. We are doing this so that we won’t touch any plastic that is in the lid, so making this product is convenient for everyone.
How did you actually get started?
My business partner and I combined our superpowers. I am into marketing and sales but before I got to be innovative in that field, a long time ago I was a potter. I was doing sculpting. I have this creative side. My business partner is actually the biggest tech guru that you will ever meet. He was setting up a very successful online stores when the internet was just starting. We decided to work together and planned to build an e-commerce company. From that stepping stone, we targeted Amazon because it is one of the biggest means of marketing. I know what it is like to order foods and what it is like to deal with distributors and I don’t want to do that again. I want to just sit at my desk or just be at the beach while I’m doing the business. I don’t want to manage 300 people. We worked on the means and ways in the business like deciding on what products are we going to have and how are we going to manage this venture. Many people have started asking how we do these things and asking us for advice. We have decided to work with the healthy options product since we’re both passionate about our health. From then on, I realized that this is where I am supposed to be. This product is made for me and I was born to do this thing.
What is your vision of your own company? How do you align your vision and your priorities?
My partner and I really wanted to have a work-life balance. Even though we are the same age, his boys are younger than mine—ages 10 and 12 while I have 3 teenagers, one is in College and the two are soon to be out in the next two years. My life is already getting to a point that it is not home-based anymore that is why I am switching to this new thing and what I’m doing really has to fulfill me. This business perfectly does that. Dick’s sports goods offered us a business partnership but then we thought that would be a new venture. We thought about it and said thank you anyway but no. We didn’t pursue it because we are so vigilant about about vision. We get wholesale inquiries every day and it’s tempting really, it’s nice to know that there are offers for us because it is a validation that our company is doing something right. I think there is value in it but it is very powerful also to say, “No!”
What is the proudest moment you have with Healthy Human?
That is a hard kind of question. I mean, almost every single day I throw my fist in the air and say, “YAY!” There’s that feeling of excitement because I think of the small things as bits of success. Everything, whether how big or small it is, is a victory for me. I love that we’re the first Paleo-friendly product to be approved by the Paleo Foundation that is outside of Food and Beauty Products. It is so cool for me because knowing we were first, and we will always be first and I can hang on that. I just think that is my best and proudest moment I have with Healthy Human. All of these things are just amazing. It proves that we fit in the healthy space, we’ve created a new quality product and people are responding to it very well.
What are the struggles that you have encountered in Healthy Human?
We underestimated the market. In our growing company, we also experienced running out of stock and that’s a huge thing because a company must not run out of stock. We had a lot of angst about that happening. It was really bad and painful. That’s why this year we have a much better stock flow for our customers. I have to say, that was our biggest issue in the company. We’re looking forward to recovering from it today.
What is your best piece of advice for someone who is just starting out?
My brother asked me this question a few months ago because he was starting his own business. I said to him that, at the end of the day as an entrepreneur you have to put everything all in. It means that you have to put it all in, if it means you have to sell your house or you do things that you thought you can’t do. In order to launch it, you must acquire new skills and if you are not willing to do that, maybe because of your family or whatever circumstance, then it is not for you. Any business that I have done and have involved myself in, I definitely put it all in. That would be my advice for anybody who is planning to start any business. You can’t have a plan B, meaning you must have a solid plan or else you are going to fail. I mean that you have to put yourself in the position of thinking the best for yourself. Never allow yourself to think about anything else.
Where do you see yourself in your company 5 years from now?
My goal is just to keep innovating. I mean, my mind is always looking forward to come up with the things. In 5 years, I hope that I’m going to have the most amazing product line. I don’t want to say I’m ever finished. It is always about what are we going to do and how, it is the thing that drives us every day. I can also see that in the coming years, our company will be more “branded” and become larger, it means to hire a super crew. I’m going to keep on doing things until I can’t do anything anymore. I vowed that this will be my last business.
How do you stay balanced?
Honestly, I stay balanced by taking care of myself. As a mom, I know that it is one of the hardest things to do but I actually take hold of that and realize that when you take care of yourself first, everything else falls in line. I also thought that what happened to me (MS) is the greatest kick of my life. If I didn’t decide on doing something for me, I might be laying in my bed for life. That’s why I took care of myself first so that I can do many amazing things with my family.
Do you have a morning routine to make sure your day successful?
I usually take an hour after I wake up to not be looking at computer screens, cellphone or TV. What I do first thing in the morning is that I sit and drink my coffee. I organize my thoughts and read the news. I don’t think deep thoughts, I just organize them. From then, I check my email and do about half an hour of some exercise and take my time before I go to work. When I say take my time, I have to prepare the essentials like having my smoothie. After those routines, my body is super ready to dive in to all the things in work.
What is the best promotional strategy or technique in Healthy Human?
My vision from the very beginning was to be an online company so we had to talk and reach out to people. It starts with the packaging and the entire messaging that people are reading online. When they open the gift and they use it, they feel sought out. Every detail was thought over and is absolute quality. If there’s any questions or follow up, we’re there actually to answer them. We don’t have automated emails, instead we are there personally talking with you. Every email that you get is hand-typed to you that answers your specific questions. I really wanted to create a company that had a human touch in an online world. Instagram, for example, is a large online platform wherein you can have marketing because it allows you to work hands on in a very adaptable way. From there, it blossomed and I loved to give products away.
Find Healthy Human Life!
Natalie is the co-founder of Healthy Human Life. Harnessing every ounce of entrepreneurial spirit starting out in sales and marketing over 20 years ago, she has carefully honed her skills to concentrate on business strategy and development. Recently diagnosed with MS in June 2014, Natalie began using food as her choice bypassing all other medicines. With a very clear vision in front of her today and a unique outlook on healthy eating, living, working and out world, she is ready for anything. “Business is fun, family is better, health in controllable, the earth is fragile, whatever you do, protect those things.”
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