Today we welcome Sarah Orecchia, founder of Unbeelievable Health Ltd. The company launched in April 2010 at The Natural & Organic Products Europe show and has been an unbeelievable success!
They are an ethical nutritional supplements company, making wellness remedies which include one or more bee ingredients combined with other nutrients to target specific health issues.
So let’s hear about this fantastic journey from Sarah…
1. What drove you to start your own business? What was the turning point?
I frequently suffered from colds and flu and started speaking to nutritionists to investigate the best natural ingredients to help boost immunity. I have never been a fan of over the counter temporary fixes or prescription drugs. With the help of formulation experts we developed a terrific combination of nutrients including the hero ingredient, bee propolis, and I decided to form my own targeted nutritional supplements company based on health from the hive.
2. Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
I have been really involved with the British Library Business & IP Centre who has been hugely helpful over the last few years. We were selected for the Innovation For Growth Program this summer (Julie told us about it!) and it has been fabulous. We have met so many inspiring and helpful entrepreneurs and business owners, it really helped take the business to another level.
3. What are your goals for your business?
We recently launched in 450 Holland and Barrett stores and now hope to add more independent health store stockists to our roster- we are currently in about 150 independent stores. We are also expanding our business in Ireland as well as New Zealand and Australia. We also have two new products we hope to launch this year.
4. What would you do differently next time around?
I would spend less time working on the business plan- we changed tack hugely. I took a brilliant class last year with Paul Grant/The Funding Game on writing executive summaries which was beyond brilliant. If only I’d taken it before I started- I could have saved tons of time & money!
5. What difficulties and challenges have you had to overcome and how did you keep going?
Our original manufacturers delivered a batch of faulty products which meant we were unable to supply our distributors for a while. They replaced them but we had them analysed and they did not contain any propolis so we had to return them again. It was a real set back as it took ages to find a new manufacturer and replace the products. We now source most of our own ingredients and continue to keep a close eye on quality control.
6. What legacy would you like your business to leave to the world and your family/friends?
We want to be the Burt’s Bees of vitamins! We also want to help do as much as we can to raise awareness about the decline of the bees and increase demand for bee products- that encourages more people to keep bees which is crucial to help maintain bee populations.
7. What support did you seek out and what difference has that made to your business?
Mentors! I shamelessly approached some people in my industry who I admired but didn’t know, their help has been invaluable! I also took some stellar courses from Women Unlimited. The site is also a treasure trove of helpful nuggets!
8. How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
We plan about a year out- we have become much more organised. Target lists and goals help keep us on track. I love what I’m doing and am starting to see the fruits of all the hard work and that keeps me going!
9. What has been one big success that you have achieved in your business?
Getting into some really selective health chains like Whole Foods Markets, Planet Organic, Revital & Nutricentre. Plus we are really excited to have been approached by Amazon to supply to them. Distribution is key for us as we don’t sell online.
10. What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business?
‘Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right!’
11. What are your top 3 tips for someone who would like to start a business now?
Go to as many lectures and classes as you can with people who have built businesses. The British Library should be your first stop! Also market research is key. Also as I said before- don’t get too bogged down with the business plan- just get out there and start your business once you feel the idea is viable.
12. What are 3 books, websites, or resources that you would recommend to other business owners?
Anything You Want, Derek Sivers, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie, A Book About Innocent by Innocent Drinks
You can find Sarah and her company at www.unbeelievablehealth.co.uk