This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re excited to introduce you to Holli of Humble Suds.
LBC: What inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?
Holli: My three amazing daughters inspire me in many ways. If my wish for them is to be fearless and inventive, what could possibly be better than leading by example? Additionally, the dangerous lack of product ingredient transparency in mainstream household cleaners has inspired, or should I say provoked, me into action!
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Holli: Humble Suds is a line of chemical-free, simple and organic household cleaners powered by nature! Our natural and organic products are formulated with essential oil blends that are designed to naturally clean and disinfect. They safely and effectively replace over a dozen chemical cleaners found in the average home! We make it possible (and easy) to have an amazingly clean and fresh home without the dangerous fumes and chemical residues.
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Holli: Humble Suds was and is defined by quality, honesty and simplicity!
LBC: Walk us through a typical work day.
Holli: I stay at home with my daughters, all 5 years and under. During the day I sneak in work during sporadic down-times, like correspondence, social media and print-design projects. I might design a product brochure while they eat breakfast, or go outside and write a blog post while they play in the back yard. It’s challenging, but having them nearby as I work reminds me of the “why”. In the evenings (after bed-time) I transform into the kitchen scientist and work on filling customer orders or building up inventory for an upcoming market.
LBC: What are things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Holli: Identify your customers. Envision these people in fine detail and consider them in everything you do. Determine your business structure, and then get licensed and registered. Owning a legitimate, legal business is fantastic motivation!
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Holli: Disconnecting myself! Something as small as leaving the house without my phone can go a long way toward making me feel human again, or a long walk outside.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date?
Holli: Designing my own web/print graphics and product labels can be intimidating and tedious, but in the end this has saved me a lot of money. What I would have spent in paying a designer, I can instead invest in ordering larger bulk quantities of supplies or paying the vendor fee at a market I really want to participate in. But I think overall my best decisions have been the times when I trusted myself and jumped into the middle of something, even if the stars weren’t perfectly aligned.
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Holli: I’m an introvert. So the biggest obstacle for me was and still is talking to people about Humble Suds! Every time I’m left feeling inexplicably exposed and embarrassed. It’s something I’m working really hard to overcome. If I want Humble Suds to be successful, I need to be able to tell everyone how wonderful it is! That should be easy, right? I’m slowly getting there, one conversation at a time.
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Holli: The Sierra Club is an organization that is very close to my heart. I passionately believe that we have a responsibility to safeguard the Earth and all it’s inhabitants. And Nuru International, an organization that educates farming families in Kenya and Ethiopia, allowing them to grow and prosper independently as businesses.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox you can’t do without?
Holli: 1) Photoshop. For product labels, signage, etc. 2) Shopify. It’s my part-time employee, keeping tabs on pending orders and sending invoices to customers while I’m away picking up the kids from school. 3) Seth Godin’s brain.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Holli: Humble Suds would be on the shelves at stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Target. We would also be relocated to a commercial space to accommodate the wholesale order volume. And finally, if the logistical challenges could be solved, I would love to see our “Bottle Swap” program (container return credits) expanded to more cities.
What the one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Holli: My mother’s meatball marinara! I’d gladly suffer the lifetime of indigestion that would come with it. It’s that good.
Tell me about a few of the places on your travel “bucket list”.
Holli: Costa Rica, Iceland, Scotland and Greece. And although it seems rather impossible, Antarctica is on there as well. One can always dream!
Have you ever held an odd job or one you weren’t particularly fond of?
Holli: I used to train horses on a 30,000 acre ranch in Eastern Colorado, where I rode 10-20 horses a day. I worked 70 hours and 6.5 exhausting days a week, all for the love of the horse.
Thanks so much for your time, Holli. We’re cheering you on!
Thank you, Holli, for sharing your fabulous talent + awesome line with us. We look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Humble Suds.
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker Monday” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!