$8K/Month – Building A Herbal Skin Care Products Business – Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 1:06:13)


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Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm shares her journey of learning and falling in love with herbal skincare products and starting a side-hustle which grew organically and allowed her to quit her teaching job. Wendy talks about creating an award winning natural deodorant formula and shares the advice of keeping things simple at the beginning.

Episode Summary

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm” YouTube video segment, Wendy shares her entrepreneurial journey from a lifelong gardener and composter in Vermont to the founder of a successful natural skincare business. Starting as a side hustle in 2003, she learned about herbs and began creating her own plant-based products. Her business grew through white labeling for a Vermont company and selling her own branded items, including an award-winning deodorant. Inspired by a local woman with a stroke, Wendy developed a natural deodorant that led to the creation of cream and solid versions without plastic applicators. Wendy continues to handcraft every product and sells them through her website, retail sales, and wholesale, including on the Walmart marketplace. She emphasizes the importance of focusing on a few successful products, like her deodorant, and offers free shipping to stores that carry her items. Wendy also shares her experiences and recommendations for aspiring entrepreneurs, including the importance of passion, learning from resources, and mentors like her friend Mary Ellen Rice.

  • 00:00:00 In this section of the Treptalks YouTube video, host Sushant interviews Wendy Mackenzie, co-owner of Everlasting Herb Farm. Wendy shares her entrepreneur journey, starting with her lifelong connection to gardening and composting in Vermont. After falling in love with plant-based herbal remedies, she began learning about herbs and making her own products as a side hustle in 2003. In 2012, Wendy started white-labeling her products for a Vermont business, which made up two-thirds of her business. The remaining portion consisted of her own branded skincare products. A local woman with a stroke inspired Wendy to create a natural deodorant for her, leading to the development of a cream and solid version without plastic applicators. Wendy continues to handcraft every product, including the deodorants.
  • 00:05:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm,” Wendy discusses her business growth and the addition of new team members. She recently hired a few people to help with order packing and sales calls, and is part of a sales accelerator program. Her product line includes high-end, plant-based items such as deodorant, facial care, lip balm, and perfumes. She advises starting entrepreneurs to begin with fewer products and emphasizes the importance of her hero product, the award-winning deodorant, which has gained significant market traction due to increasing consumer awareness and preference for plant-based, chemical-free, and environmentally friendly skincare products. Wendy’s business initially gained traction through her passion project and the right distribution channels, and she credits her education with Formula Botanica for her success in creating effective and eco-conscious formulations.
  • 00:10:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm,” Wendy shares the story of how her passion project for making herbal products turned into a successful business. She started by learning the process of infusing oils and herbs with beeswax, which led her to create her own deodorant. Wendy bootstrapped her business and worked on it as a side hustle for years before she was able to leave her teaching job in 2018 when her school was making cuts. She mentions that the handcrafted nature of her products and her ownership of the formula contribute to good business margins. Wendy sells her products through her website, retail sales, and wholesale, including on the Walmart marketplace, but she finds success through outreach and building relationships with stores. She recently expanded to a new state, New Mexico, and uses the Sales Accelerator program to find and connect with potential retailers. Wendy also mentions using the UNFI Marketplace to make it easier for businesses to buy her products. She finds leads by targeting natural food stores and concentrating on nearby states.
  • 00:15:00 In this section of the YouTube video, Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm discusses her business strategies and the unique selling points of her natural deodorant product. She mentions that she offers free shipping to stores that carry her products and emphasizes the high quality and effectiveness of her deodorant, which often leads to positive feedback from business owners. Mackenzie also shares her vision of expanding her business while keeping it handmade and potentially hiring local people in her impoverished area, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. She also mentions her old-school marketing approach, which includes a newsletter, and her recent creation of a commercial for digital channels as part of a sales accelerator program.
  • 00:20:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm,” Mackenzie discusses the potential for growth in plant-based fashion and cosmetics through social media communities. She currently packs and ships orders herself but has recently hired help. Her business is primarily in the US, but she has labels ready for European regulations. Mackenzie shares that she aims to keep her business small to avoid the headaches that come with larger enterprises. She reflects on her entrepreneurial journey, mentioning two lessons learned: starting small with a few special products and considering a first-floor location. Mackenzie recommends Donald Miller’s books for entrepreneurs, particularly “Business Made Simple” and “Marketing Made Simple.” She shares that she was a teacher before starting her business and didn’t consider herself a born entrepreneur.
  • 00:25:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm,” Wendy shares her experiences and recommendations for aspiring entrepreneurs. She emphasizes the importance of passion and learning from resources like the New England Center for Women in Enterprise and podcasts like “How I Built This.” Wendy expresses excitement about innovative e-commerce products, such as washing sheets for washing machines, and recommends the time-tracking app Toggl as a productivity tool. She also highlights the success of Rights Bakery in Rhode Island as an example of a thriving business. Wendy also shares that her friend Mary Ellen Rice served as a mentor and inspiration for her own entrepreneurial journey. The best business advice she has received is to focus on a few key products rather than offering too many.
  • 00:30:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm,” Mackenzie discusses the importance of focusing on a few successful products instead of having a wide range, as it becomes difficult to manage various containers and ingredients. She also shares her background as a former family and consumer sciences teacher and expresses her admiration for the hard work teachers put in, despite not receiving much credit. Mackenzie also mentions her plans to give back by mentoring new entrepreneurs in the future. The interviewer expresses appreciation for Mackenzie’s story and lessons learned, and encourages viewers to visit EverlastingHerbFarm.com or MeowDeodorant.com to purchase her products.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm

[00:00:08] Introduction to Treptalks
[00:00:24] Welcoming Wendy McKenzie to the Show
[00:00:49] Expressing Gratitude to Wendy for Joining Treptalks
[00:00:54] Wendy Mackenzie’s Excitement about Being on Treptalks
[00:00:57] Sushant’s Interest in Wendy’s Entrepreneurial Journey and Organic Skincare
[00:01:33] Wendy’s Background as a Vermonter and Her Journey into Herbalism
[00:02:18] Sending Products to a Catalog and White Labeling Business Beginnings
[00:03:24] Overview of Wendy’s Business Structure and White Labeling
[00:04:43] Evolution of Products, Including the Success of the Meadow Bee Deodorant
[00:11:09] Handcrafting and Business Margins
[00:11:43] Retail Sales and Wholesale Distribution
[00:12:28] Sales Accelerator Program and Store Outreach
[00:12:54] Wholesale Platforms and Simplifying Ordering
[00:13:41] Sales Leads and Working with Duplassie Foundation
[00:14:36] Targeting Natural Food Stores and Co-ops
[00:15:38] Incentivizing Stores without Offering Terms
[00:16:16] Vision for Cottage Industry and Local Hiring
[00:17:41] Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Rural Living
[00:19:22] Marketing Approach: Newsletter and Commercial for Social Media
[00:20:28] Working Towards Exciting Goals
[00:20:45] Warehousing, Fulfillment, and Small-Scale Operations
[00:21:00] Selling Focus: Mainly in the U.S.
[00:21:42] Staying Small and Avoiding Business Headaches
[00:22:26] Mistakes, Lessons, and Starting Small
[00:23:29] Innovative Products: Eco-Friendly Laundry Sheets
[00:26:00] Time Tracking with Toggl Track
[00:27:37] Acknowledging Wright’s Bakery and Dairy
[00:28:20] Mentorship and Inspiration from Mary Ellen Rice
[00:29:12] Best Business Advice: Keep it Simple and First-Floor Operations
[00:29:41] Focusing on Key Products for Business Success
[00:30:13] Simplifying Business Model: Fewer Ingredients, Same Container
[00:30:44] Wendy’s Teaching Background and Reflections
[00:31:30] Missing Teaching Moments and Challenges
[00:31:57] Transitioning to Mentoring and Giving Back

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm

  1. Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller)
  2. An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response:)
  3. A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend/Productivity Tip. (Response: Toggl Track)
  4. A startup or business (in ecommerce, retail, or tech) that you think is currently doing great things. (Response: Wrights Dairy Farm)
  5. A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Her friend Mary Ellen Rice)
  6. One networking tip or building and sustaining valuable professional relationships.
  7. Best business advice you ever received (Response:  Keep it Simple and First-Floor Operations)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there entrepreneurs, my name is Sushant and welcome to Treptalks. This is the show where I interview successful e commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders and ask them questions about their business story and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.

And today I’m really excited to welcome Wendy McKenzie to the show. Wendy is the co owner of Everlasting Herb Farm and they handcraft the highest quality plant based organic skincare products in small batches. using top performing botanical ingredients. And today I’m going to ask Wendy a few questions about her entrepreneur journey and some of the strategies and tactics that she has used to start and grow her business.

So Wendy, thank you so much for joining me today at Treptalks. Really, really appreciate it.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Thank you so much for having me. This is exciting.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So very, very interesting, uh, business. [00:01:00] I mean, I’m very curious to know. Um, how you kind of got started, uh, with this and, uh, why organic skincare?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Sure. Um, I, I’m a Vermonter.

I’m a lifelong Vermonter. I grew up in a family that was composting a million years ago and gardening and everything. And I never, as a kid, paid much attention to that. I never really thought that was really a great thing, but I became a teacher and I was teaching health. And I had a whole bunch of guest speakers come in and one of the guest speakers was an herbalist and I basically fell in love.

She passed around these jars of gorgeous dried herbs and little vials of essential oil and I just, there was no turning back for me. I did a deep dive into everything plant based that I could and took a lot of courses, did a lot of internships. And I moved to Northern Vermont and unbeknownst to me, I ended up 30 minutes away from Sage Mount where the renowned Rosemary Gladstar lived and taught.

So, [00:02:00] uh, that was just an amazing immersion into the herbal world. Um, many, many years ago and I kind of started an herbal business as a side hustle back in 2003, but I have little had little kids at the time I was a stay at home mom and I just needed a little bit something extra to like sink my teeth into.

So I learned about herbs and I loved making things and so that’s how I got started many, many years ago. Um, and it was kind of a side hustle for a long time until, um, uh, let’s see, until about 2012, and I went away with a friend on a relaxing weekend and we were looking at catalogs and she said, you know, this is a catalog where they make a lot of things like, or they sell a lot of things like you make.

But they don’t sell exactly what you make. You should send them some of your products. And I was teaching. I had three little kids. I thought, when am I going to do that? But the next week we had a snow day where we didn’t have school. So I took every product that I made, did what no one should ever do. I threw them all in a box, not [00:03:00] presented nicely.

And I sent them off to no one in particular, but the right person got the box. And the next week that person called me and said, I don’t know who you are, but the stars are lined up for you. And that started, uh, I’ve been white labeling for 13 years for this Vermont business. So I make large batches, 600 at a time, a thousand at a time, send them off, um, and with their label.

And that’s a big part of what I do, but it’s not all of what I do.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow, that’s very interesting. So your products are sold under a different brand name, but of course, your, you have your own brand name as well.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yes, I do a little bit of everything. So that’s, that’s about two thirds of my business. And then I also make skincare products.

And I would say up until about 2020, I kind of had a, you know, a nice line of skincare products. I’m in Vermont. I have, you know, a lot of customers here that want that kind of, um, skincare and who know me and who buy from me. Um, but I was asked to make a natural deodorant by a local woman [00:04:00] in a community group.

Because I’m from a town of 700 people. It’s pretty small. Um, she knew what I did and she had had a stroke and she couldn’t apply apply deodorant to one side of her body and a traditional applicator. So she needed me to make her a cream deodorant. So I said about a two year project trying to make a cream deodorant for her and in the process made a really fabulous.

Deodorant. And then I had friends who said, Hey, I can’t stick my fingers in my armpit. Can you make a solid version? So then I made a solid version that doesn’t have the plastic applicator and doesn’t melt at 120 degrees and actually works like in the natural deodorant world. It’s a natural deodorant that works, which is pretty exciting.

And it comes without all the plastic.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow. That’s so interesting. Um, so I mean, one of your value proposition is definitely that your products are handcrafted. Are they still handcrafted? Like, are you making all of these things yourself or do you have like other people kind of helping you with this?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: This is, this is kind of crazy, but I hand pour [00:05:00] every deodorant and every product at this point.

Um, I recently, within the last three weeks, hired a couple of people to help me pack up orders. So that’s kind of exciting. And I also recently within the last month hired a woman to help me make sales calls. So that’s been a really interesting process. I’m part of a sales accelerator program and that’s working great.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Well, very interesting. I mean, it seems like your, your business is growing. Um, What, um, I mean, you have a, a wide range of products, you have deodorant, facial care, uh, lip balm, perfumes, um, so, so you, it seems like you’ve kind of started with, you know, one or two products and kind of built your product line over time.

Can you talk a little bit about your products? Sure,

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: sure, sure, sure. I everything is made from plants with ingredients that you would be able to pronounce and know and understand, um, and they’re high end oil. So we use organic oils and organic essential oils to make the products. [00:06:00] Um, and I guess my advice, some advice that I have to some of the listeners would be that if you’re starting a product business, you don’t need 30 products.

Start with one or two. I didn’t do that. That’s one of the mistakes I made. Um, but I would recommend fewer products because you have it. Less to worry about, fewer labels to buy, fewer containers to buy. Um, so consider that heavily if you’re doing it. Um, but I have really winnowed down the number of products that I make.

I’m really working on, um, scaling back, but we live in a cold climate where everybody has dry skin. And so there’s just, I’m always going to need to make a facial cream, the lip balms, the salves. Those are really important because of just the nature of where we live.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And the reason you want to scale back is because it’s kind of getting unmanageable or you want to basically scale back some products that are, uh, low, like low selling and you want to focus more on the products that are high selling.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, well, the deodorant that we made, like, I, I’ve, I have worn natural deodorant my whole life as an adult and I [00:07:00] didn’t know it actually could work, but like what we’ve made, Meadow Bee deodorant is actually a really amazing deodorant. It’s one. Two international awards, it won two international awards last year in the 2023 beauty shortlist awards where little companies and big companies.

So think like little companies like mine here in Vermont and big companies like Procter and Gamble competed in the same arena. And I know that they were in the contest because their birth bees lip balm won in a different category. And I don’t know if they had deodorant. I don’t know that at all, but I know that there were bigger companies in this contest.

So it was really exciting. We won best. It’s unscented deodorant and best waste free deodorant. And we only sent two products. So that was, um, a pretty exciting thing. And so we’re kind of, we’re kind of running with our deodorant because that’s kind of our hero product. That’s kind of, it’s, you know, we’ve only been making it since 2020.

Um, it took two years to develop. So it really is new to the market. Um, it’s beautiful and it works [00:08:00] and it’s so environmentally friendly that I’m just so proud of it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s that’s great. Um, so it seems like, you know, when you got started, it was kind of an accident where maybe you started it as a passion project, but and you didn’t know if there’s a big market for it.

And then you kind of accidentally found the right hands to kind of give the distribution to your products. Can you talk a little bit about market for these kind of, um, Um, Like plant based skincare products. Is there a big market out there? I know there’s definitely in consumers mind now a greater awareness of things like, you know, chemical free products and no plastics and, you know, more, uh, awareness of the environment and so forth.

Are you really seeing more and more consumers, like, gravitating toward these kind of products and, like, these kind of products having greater traction rather than, like, more of the Widely, um, bulk [00:09:00] produced kind of, uh, skincare products.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, I think there’s a huge and very much a growing market for this kind of skincare and these kind of ingredients.

I was a student of Formula Botanica in London. It’s an online course. I did a three year program. I can’t say enough about it. It’s fabulous. Anybody who’s making skincare should be learning with Formula Botanica because there’s, there’s just so much that they offer and so much to learn. And because they’re in Europe, they’re way ahead of us here in America.

They, you know, they’re environmentally, they’re on top of their game in terms of chemicals that they won’t allow they’re on top of their game. Um, there’s a lot that we can learn here from them. So it was a great exposure to be in that school. Awesome.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, so initially you. Got traction into, you know, uh, in the market slowly.

So can you talk a little bit about, you know, how you got your first customers and over time, how you have been able to kind of grow your business? [00:10:00]

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Sure. Sure. Sure. It definitely, it started as a side hustle before I even knew the term side hustle and I don’t have a business background. So it was just, it really was a passion project, something that I was interested in and something I loved.

I learned that I loved making sabs where you take. oils and herbs and you infuse them together and heat and then you solidify the mixture with beeswax or another wax so it’s not as messy to apply. Um, so I fell in love with that and curiously enough the deodorant is kind of based on the same principle.

So I started and I’ve kind of ended in the same, um, spot doing that. Um, but, and I, I definitely bootstrapped the business. And, you know, just worked on it when I had time and it was very small for a long time. I think, you know, one year I might have made 3, 000. I was just like, Ooh, maybe someday I’ll make 10, 000.

But what was nice is in 2018, my school, after I taught there for 10 years, was looking to make cuts. And I was able because I had this side hustle that was so successful to raise my hand and just say take me I want to [00:11:00] go and I was just able to get out. So for anybody I loved my job until I didn’t love it.

And for anybody like a side hustle is just such a great thing. I highly recommend that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And it seems like, I mean, this, because you’re handcrafting everything and, you know, you own your formula, this, your business has a, probably has a really good margin. Would, would you agree with that?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, because I’ve done everything myself too.

I do have, my husband is my business partner. He’s amazing. Um, he’s, he built one, The business took over our entire house. He single handedly built a building in our backyard that looks like a barn. That’s beautiful. Um, and I have the upstairs space and he has the downstairs space. So, but you’re right. Like there, there, there are really good margins.

I do a lot of retail sales and when I hold, you know, when I wholesale and white label, it’s, it’s, you know, lots and lots of numbers, so it’s exciting. Awesome.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, what are your sales channels? So of course you have your website and you’re white labeling it. So you [00:12:00] do, you have some distribution there. Uh, are you also selling through online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, um, these kinds of places where, I mean, these kinds of products would likely.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I’m on Walmart marketplace, but I have to say for me, it’s a real sleeper. I think I could pay to play and be elevated, but I’m just more of an organic kind of business. So, so I think I, you know, I, I didn’t, I don’t know. I might’ve sold 53 deodorants last year, but I’m always amazed that anybody can find me.

But like. With the sales accelerator program that I’m doing, we’re doing just a simple outreach where you call a store and then you send samples if they’re interested and then an order if they’re interested. But through that, probably in the last year, I’ve picked up 40 stores, which is kind of an amazing thing.

And I’m, and yesterday I got into my 11th state. So now I will have products in New Mexico, which is pretty far from Vermont, so it’s very exciting. Wow. Are

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you, are you using any of those wholesale platforms like, uh, fair or, uh, some of these other ones where [00:13:00] you can put your product and then people can actually just buy it through, through that platform wholesale?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, I’m not on fair, but I am on UNFI marketplace. I just, that’s just a new thing. So the businesses. To make it easier for them to buy could go on that platform if they’re already on it and buy Meadow Bee, which is exciting. I’m starting to hear from businesses that they need to simplify their ordering, so they like to go through distributors.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. So with the sales accelerator program, I’m very curious, like, do you find the leads just going on Google and doing the search or do you go on LinkedIn? How do you like collect a list of businesses to call to?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, I’m, I’m working with the Duplassie Foundation out of Boston. And we, I was able to do this whole thing because of Center for Women and Enterprise, which is another organization that I highly recommend here in New England.

It’s, it’s been a real business education for me. Um, I’ve learned so much and through [00:14:00] Center for Women and Enterprise, I was able to be a part of the sales. Accelerator program down in Boston, um, and it was an online program. And then I decided after the five weeks that I loved the, the coach so much. I thought his information was brilliant that I signed up.

I invested in myself and said, okay, it’s now or never. You’ve been in business for 20, 20 years. Let’s go for it. Um, and so I have like an assistant who finds the stores. We figured out that it’s natural food stores and co ops that my deodorant will do the best at. That’s kind of where people go to buy deodorant, not so much like a gift shop or like a conventional store.

So that’s, that’s kind of what we’re targeting. And we’re just looking at, um, nearby states is kind of what we’re concentrating on now, but New Mexico is kind of an exciting development.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. And, uh, and, and do you give them like, you know, in order to incentivize a new store to carry your product, like, do you give them great term?

Do you say? You know, if you don’t sell your, my products in 90 days, you know, you can send it [00:15:00] back or like, do you give them great pricing? What, what, what kind of offer do you offer them to basically have them carry your products?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah. No, the thing is it’s, it’s. I don’t have to do any of that. Like this month, I’m going to do free shipping to any stores that would like to carry it just as kind of like a, just a fun little thing to do.

But the reality is when I send the sample to the business and I encourage them, I’m like, you got to get people trying this. They try it and they love it. It’s, you know, very rare that someone doesn’t love it. It’s like, it’s. Because it actually works. So that’s a standout. And I’ve even gotten feedback from business owners saying it’s the best in the business, which was really exciting to hear back.

Um, but because it’s so good and it’s high quality and it’s different, if you look at the deodorant aisle in any store, there’s a whole lot of plastic and things haven’t changed much. You know, you might have one thing in a cardboard tube or something like that, but there’s so much plastic. So this is like different.

And the idea that. A natural deodorant can work is it’s an uphill climb because people don’t believe that a natural deodorant can [00:16:00] work. So I’m kind of going against the odds, but when people try it, they love it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, a couple of things. I mean, it seems like you found, I mean, of course you’ve created a great high quality product and you know, when people try it, you know, they can see it and it works.

And so it’s a good product market fit. Um, It’s the next step to this is really to kind of bring your hero market, your deodorant product to like mass market. And, uh, like, is that something that you think, and I mean, if, if you go in that route, I think the biggest challenge would be, first of all, you’ll have to probably outsource your manufacturing, right?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I love the idea of like a little cottage industry. So like I, I have in my mind, I just love being able to hire local people to be able to come in and do, you know, I mean, it would just be such a great model to just put a wing on the back of our house, like a, an addition and just have a lot of stations where people could do this because it’s, it’s really, the thing about it is I love making it.

Like I, I [00:17:00] love everything about it. I love everything about everything I make, but this deodorant has just, it’s just so close to my heart.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, can it be mass produced? Like, I’m assuming that because you have the formula and you’re creating it, you know, handmade, but as long as you have the formula, you can probably automate it, right.

And, and mass produce it. Like, is that something that you ever think about or, or you kind of want to have your business model really handmade because that’s, you know, that, that feels different.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I like that. It’s, I can’t imagine it automated. Like, but again, I’m one of the, I live in a town of 700 people, like I think in very small terms.

So this year my, you know, my business has grown phenomenally, but still it’s not a huge business, but you know, it’s still exciting. So I just had this vision of being able to hire like local people because I live in the Northeast kingdom of Vermont. It’s one of the 10 poorest areas in the United States.

So Appalachia is one poor area, the [00:18:00] Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is another one of those top 10. So, yeah, just to, you know, and I, and I live in a pretty nice little town. It’s not the most impoverished town of this area, but the whole area in general is pretty impoverished.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: You know what, I read that when I was doing the research, Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, and I was confused, like that almost sounded like some sort of an oil kingdom kind of a name.

Is that really the name of the city? It’s the area like Northeast Kingdom. It is. I

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: think one of our state governors came to this area and just and said it’s just so beautiful. You know, it should be called the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. I think that’s what happened.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Because kingdom means there must be a king.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, no, I know. And that’s not good these days either. It’s just, it’s just an unspoiled area of Vermont. It’s pretty rural. There’s not a lot of people here. Most people are in the Burlington area on the other side of the state. Okay. We’re kind of in the country. Are

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you doing any marketing efforts? I know you’re doing sales and you have a distribution partner, but are you doing any kind of [00:19:00] online marketing to drive the products on your website and so forth?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I did have like Facebook and Instagram and then my account got hacked and I’m kind of old school. I’m kind of a Luddite. So when that happened, I was kind of like, Oh, that’s a relief. Like I don’t have. To like, think about that. So I have like a newsletter, I send it out, you know, every month, a couple of times, and I get really a great response from that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Wow. That’s, that’s awesome.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah. And that’s kind of the extent of my marketing, although, because I’m in the sales accelerator program, I just made my first commercial

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: for television or for like digital channels. I

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: think it’s going to be on social media. And I meet with an ad executive next week. Okay.

As part of this accelerator program, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. So, um, they’re going to take my commercial and, and help me do some things with it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. I mean, to me it seems like, because this is kind of, um, I mean, I don’t want to call it a niche. I think it’s much, it’s probably bigger than a niche because, you know, a lot of people now are interested in like, [00:20:00] you know, um, plant based, um, fashion and cosmetics and so forth.

Um, to me, it seems like if. You know, if you find the right community on social media, whether it’s TikTok or Instagram, I think there could be a very good traction on this because, you know, the people who are passionate about these kinds of things are really passionate. And I think it can definitely help you drive, uh, demand for your products.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, that would, that would be exciting. I think that’s what I’m working for and getting ready for. Awesome.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, can you talk a little bit about your warehousing, your fulfillment, um, um, Uh, and so forth. Yep. This is it. I do it. Okay. So you pack your all

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: orders. Yeah. Well, I have, I recently hired a couple of people to help pack, but it’s pretty, you know what I mean?

But we’re still pretty small.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Okay. Um, and you’re right now mostly selling in the U S are you selling anywhere outside of the U S as well? [00:21:00]

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Not at this point. Uh, you know what I mean? I think with my business, I think I could easily work in the United States and be happy, you know what I mean? Like I, you know, I, I don’t have to go to the next frontier kind of like thing.


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so you, although

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I do have labels that are ready for Europe, if I, if I got that big, I kind of planned ahead. Okay? So they’re labeled accordingly to their regulations,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: but generally you want to keep yourself, uh, your business more. Uh, more on a smaller scale, uh, as, as a business owner, you don’t necessarily like your, your goal is not necessarily world domination, like you want to keep it more of a small business kind of a thing.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: think so. Because I just think of the headaches that grow exponentially when you. Grow as a business. And, you know, I mean, it sounds exciting to have a 25 million business, but I think the headache that would go with that wouldn’t warrant the 25 million. So, but I’m, you know, I’m quite happy. Like, you know, boy, if I made like, you know, like [00:22:00] half a million dollars, like that, that would be really exciting. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow. Awesome. So, um, in every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always mistakes made, lessons learned, failures. Um, to me, it seems like you’ve grown quite organically. Um, would you say that you’ve made any, like, big mistakes or failures and, um, You know, what, what did you learn from it and what can other entrepreneurs learn from your mistakes?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Sure. Sure. Two jump out at me. One is you don’t have to start with 30 products, start with one or two, make them super special and just go for it. You know what I mean? Make them absolutely perfect. Something you just love and can stand behind. And then the other thing is when we built the building in our backyard.

I have the upstairs and I didn’t understand it, but when I was showing a friend, our new space, he has a big business. It’s a grain business where he feeds animals and he went upstairs. And as he was going upstairs, he said, everything that goes up must come down. For sure. And so like everything, all the ingredients [00:23:00] get taken up and all the boxes get taken down when we have orders.

So now I think of him a lot every time that I’m going up or down with something. So I think my advice would be to, you know, a first floor location might be the ideal.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, for sure. For

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: sure. And I have the most gorgeous space. It’s absolutely exquisite. And we have pictures of it on our website at Everlasting Herb Farm, but it’s still, it’s still a hike up and a hike

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: down.

Yeah, you may need to install like a small lift, I guess, you know, if you want to automate it.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, that might be a

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: good idea. That’s awesome. Um, now I’m going to move on to our rapid fire segment. In this segment, I will ask you a few quick questions, and you have to answer them maybe in a word or a sentence or so.

So the first one is one book recommendation for entrepreneurs and why?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Okay, any book by Donald Miller. He wrote, um, business made simple marketing made simple. He’s, he’s just a genius. And [00:24:00] if you, and if you want to start small and do things yourself, because you don’t have big money to help you, that’s a really great resource.

You can read his books, but he also has things that you can buy programs. You can pay for and help that you can purchase. So it’s, it’s kind of for everybody. I think that would, they’re really great resources. I’ve read every book he’s

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: written. Awesome. I think he has a very. popular other book called building a story brand.

I think a lot of other entrepreneurs have recommended that one as well.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, it’s really good. I highly recommend it. It makes you really kind of think about marketing your business in ways that you might not think.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: You know, um, that’s, it’s, it’s interesting because many people think that entrepreneurs are kind of born, like, you know, there’s a entrepreneurial personality, but obviously, you know.

I’m assuming because you were teaching before, I believe you said you were teaching, um, so you were a teacher, so, I mean, maybe you didn’t consider yourself a born entrepreneur and now you’re an entrepreneur, you’re, you’re a business person, um, what, what are [00:25:00] your thoughts about that? Like, do you, you, you think that, you know, if you have, um, enough passion about your product, you know, business is easy to learn?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I think anybody, I always go by, if I can do it, anybody can do it. So I highly recommend that anybody like you just have to start, but like, I’ve gotten a lot of help along the way. So I would say like in new England center for women in enterprise, the, how I built this podcast was like a business education in itself, you could really learn.

Big mistakes other companies made, so you never had to make them. I mean, it’s shocking the mistakes that companies make. So that was like a business education in itself.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Uh, an innovative product or idea in the current e commerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about. Yeah,

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I love that they’re coming out with washing, like sheets for washing machines that you can, instead of having a big plastic jug of liquid detergent, that’s expensive to send and, you know, bad for the landfill.[00:26:00]

Like, I just love that there’s these little sheets that dissolve in the water. And right now I’m just trying to figure out, okay, what’s the best brand that has the most, uh, environmentally friendly ingredients.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, that is so interesting. Like, uh, I think I have also interviewed a couple of entrepreneurs who are, who are actually kind of disrupting that, that market.

You know, some, some have different kinds of ideas. Some have like more environmentally friendly products. Some are playing with the, the, the, the bottle itself. So it’s like a reusable bottle. So there’s like a lot of entrepreneurs are kind of, uh, disrupting these kinds of consumer products, um, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I like Toggle Track. It’s like a free app that you can sign up for and have on your computer and you can just keep track of your time. You can see what you’re doing, where it’s going. Um, and that’s just been kind of a fun thing just to say like, oh, I’ve got to get going on more marketing or, you know, I’ve got to get going on operations a little bit more.

[00:27:00] It’s just, it’s fast and it’s fascinating to see where your time goes.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow. Very interesting. So you basically track, you know, you, you, do you track your time on an hourly basis? Like you do, would you write like this hour I spent on marketing or this hour I spent on operations like

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: that? Yeah. Yep. Marketing operations or sales.

I’m doing that through the accelerator program through the Duplassie foundation. That’s one of the requirements you have to track your time. It’s kind of interesting because I spend way more than 40 hours every week on my business.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow. Very interesting. Uh, a startup or business, another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I am a big fan of Wright’s Bakery and Dairy in Rhode Island. They’re in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, and they’re a really cool family operation. They’re a very big business. Um, I think it’s a second generation right now that’s running the business, but they basically are a cow to cone kind of place. So they have the cows right there.

They milk the cows. They sell the milk. They make all kinds [00:28:00] of dairy, uh, like, bakery products with it, and including ice cream, and they sell it all on site. So it’s like a destination and a fun little place to go. And they’re, they’re family friends and they’re, they’re absolutely amazing. Awesome.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, a peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, I have a friend in my town. Her name is Mary Ellen Rice, and she’s the whole reason why I got started in this business in the first place, because she helped me, um, do everything that we needed to do to get started. Again, I’m not a business person. I had no idea what to do, but she is a business person, so she helped me.

And that’s the amazing thing about Vermont, is people are so happy to help you. I’ve had so much help from complete strangers. It’s really an amazing place here.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s, that’s great. And I think, uh, everybody can, can use a mentor who has kind of, uh, you know, done, done there, been there, done that. And, uh, and yeah, if, if people can find a mentor, uh, experienced business person who’s willing to help, I think they should definitely get the help.[00:29:00]

What, um, final question, um, a best business advice that you have ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs, I know you’ve given a couple already.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, like the teacher in me won’t shut up. Um, I, I think it’s definitely like the one, the first floor kind of operations, which if we do get big, I’m excited.

We’re just going to bust out of the back of the house. We’re just going to have a first, like a one floor, um, room, which I’m excited about. But also the best business advice was, you know, not too many products. I just, I learned that late in my business life. But I thought, geez, that’s really smart. And you know, for a lot of reasons, it’s really smart because it just makes a lot of sense.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, I think that’s a great advice because I think, uh, in probably most businesses, there’s probably like 10 or 20 percent of the products. Uh, if, if a business has probably drive 80 to 90 percent of the, the, the revenue for the business. So I think it’s very important to, I think, you know, good to test out and see [00:30:00] if a product works in the market.

And if it doesn’t, then I think, yeah, definitely good to focus on a few products that, that actually work, uh, rather than having a wide range and because it becomes probably becomes, uh, difficult to manage. Right.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah. Well, it’s a lot of different containers. It’s a lot of different ingredients. My other advice would be like, you know, get five ingredients and make, you know, make your three things, but use those, you know, simple few ingredients, have everything come in the same container, ship out in the same size box.

Like that would be a really smart business model to use.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Last question. Uh, so you mentioned that you were a teacher. What, what subject did you teach? And, uh, do you miss teaching?

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: I taught family and consumer sciences and I taught health. And I very much, there’s a lot of the job that I loved, but I was, I got out before COVID, and I can’t even imagine all these teachers who had to do what they did through COVID, and [00:31:00] it’s a really hard, hard occupation where you don’t really get a lot of credit for all the work that you’re doing because everybody thinks, oh, summer’s off, and you know, like, you don’t really have to do much, but I know that teachers are working so hard and it’s just, you know, amazing that anybody would even want to be a teacher.

So, you know, I, I, I miss it at times, but when I’m upstairs in my space, I’m in like a kitchen space and I think what’s missing. And I look around and I think, okay, 20 students are missing. Wow.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, for

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: sure. For sure. As much as I loved kids, it was a hard, it was hard because you had to like you were like, whatever they were going through, you were having to help them deal with and it was really hard.

I mean,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: maybe at a certain point you can guide or mentor other, you know, new entrepreneurs in the future because, you know, you, you know, after you’re kind of satisfied with your business journey and, and pass on that. So, I mean, that could be another opportunity to be a teacher again, I guess.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Yeah, it’s time for me to give back.

People have [00:32:00] helped me so much. It’s time for me to give back. I definitely see that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, Wendy, those were all the questions that I had. Really enjoyed speaking with you. Really enjoyed learning about your business. Uh, it seems like, you know, you’re really passionate about it. And of course you’re creating a really high quality product.

So I wish you all the very best. Uh, if anybody wants to buy your product, what’s the best way to do that? Yeah, they can go

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: to everlastingherbfarm. com and also meadowbeadeodorant. com.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Well, Wendy, thank you so much again for your time today, for sharing your story and lessons learned and, uh, wish you all the very best.

Thanks. Thanks again. And, uh, uh, yeah, thanks for joining me today at Treptalks. Really appreciate it.

Wendy Mackenzie of Everlasting Herb Farm: Thank you very much. It was lovely talking to you.

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