The multi-billion dollar health industry, with its myriad opportunities, can be an alluring prospect for fledgling entrepreneurs. Each year, global sales of ‘natural’ products are estimated to be around $1.5 trillion. The market shows no signs of slowing. In fact, there is a seemingly insatiable appetite for novel products.
Elissa Scott, founder and owner of the T lady, has created a unique blend of natural ingredients, in a tea bag, that treats the symptoms of menopause. Scott adheres to a strict sustainability policy and aims to make a profit without spoiling the earth. She also employs women who have escaped domestic abuse and the disabled, an ethical decision that enables her to give back to the community. Her inspirational journey offers unique and valuable insights on how to build a burgeoning business whilst remaining true to one's values.
Sustainably farmed, organic and indigenous ingredients
“I use only certified, organic ingredients,” says Scott. “My products do not damage the earth. For me, that’s non-negotiable. One of the most heinous forms of abuse committed against the earth is farming that damages the environment. In many countries, cash crops have overshadowed other indigenous plants and species and led to harmful farming practices.”
Farmers understand that mono crops drain the soil of vital nutrients and that they need to cycle crops in order to enrich and revitalize the earth.
“The recent move towards supplementing gas supplies with ethanol, made from corn, could also inflict untold damage to the environment. As health industry leaders, we need to encourage the use of sustainable methods that protect the earth.”
Learn all you can about nature
Scott also advocates learning as much as possible about the natural world, especially the ingredients used in any products. She explains: “I'd spent time in the area getting to know the locals, getting to know the environment. I read and developed an affinity for local customs and traditions. Without paying respect to the local heritage, you risk being another greedy entrepreneur who’s trying to make a ‘quick buck’. There has to be a spiritual element to the whole process. You can ‘gain the world but lose your soul.’”
Give something back to the world
“It’s vital to give something back,” says Scott. “You can't exist for selfish reasons. If your motivations are entirely selfish, or self-serving, I believe that the universe fights against you. My vision was to create a product while helping the community. The community where I source my plants benefits financially and socially. It has to be a win-win.”
Share your unique story
Finally, to break into a new industry, you must tell your story. People buy from companies that they connect and identify with. This is impossible without spreading the story of how and why you came into being.
Scott recalls how her ‘story’ helped her to establish her brand even when she faced obstacles. “When I first started, I contacted a tea bag producer who said the minimum order was 10,000 tea bags. This was a daunting prospect; I didn't have that kind of money behind me. I wasn't even sure I could sell that many. But, I told him my story. I explained the healing properties and told him about the ladies who had suffered domestic violence and abuse. It changed his mind and he offered to make 2,000 tea bags—a vital concession.”
People love to support a ‘righteous’ cause
“Telling my story has become second nature, something I do all the time. When your intentions are honest and open, and you have a real and genuine story to tell, it becomes a door-opener. People are willing to listen, and help. They can see that you're trying to do some good in the world, a feature that I think we've lost in society. There are few who have a ‘righteous’ cause and are striving to reach their goals for the good of others, not just themselves.”
“Hopefully, my passion for The T Lady shines through because I believe in it. It has something to offer the world, and the medical community, and I will never tire of telling whoever will listen, even if it’s one menopause relief tea bag at a time! My legacy to the earth is best summed up in a quote from my nineteenth century relative, Madame Langdon:
“Herbal medicines are nature’s remedies".
Firstly a little about Elissa:
Hi my name is Elissa and I will turn 55 in April.