Hi, I’m Caroline, the founder of Herbaceous Blends. We make loose leaf, naturally caffeine-free herbal tea blends. I’m also extremely caffeine intolerant, which means herbal tea is my only hot drink of choice. Even before my caffeine intolerance kicked in, I’d been drinking herbal tea for years. The selection out there isn’t great (better than it was, but still), especially in the loose leaf tea department. Not only that, but tea packaging is often excessive. I wanted to create a brand that ticked both the environmentally conscious, quality and flavour boxes. So here I am.
Starting a business, as any other business owner will know, is an emotional rollercoaster. On the one hand, you’ve got freedom of creativity, the power to sculpt your own work life and the variety that comes with having to wear many different hats. But it’s also scary, sometimes demotivating, confusing, financially risky and you feel like you’re never working and always working at the same time.
I’ve been working on Herbaceous Blends full time since May 2018. I’ve managed to secure a business loan (Virgin Startup have been fantastic) and am well into my soft launch. The official launch is mere weeks away. While I am by no means a veteran entrepreneur (this is my first business), I’ve come to realise a few things about the ‘business of business’.
– The maxim that opinions are like a**holes (everyone’s got one), really proves itself when you start a business. Everyone (from your friends and family to strangers on the street and so-called business experts) will tell you what they think you should do for your business.
– All the conflicting advice you get given can become overwhelming and confusing. The trick is to shift the wheat from the chaff and take away what resonates with you.
– There’s a lot of business dogma out there. Formulas one must follow in order to achieve success. But really, it’s about finding your way. What worked to make Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola the giants they are today probably won’t work for your business. Or it might.
– Everyone in business is winging it, as much as it seems they’ve got their shit together.
– Talk to as many people as possible: to make connections and for information. Don’t be scared to ask for help: you might just get it.
– Work sustainably. There’s a stereotype of the entrepreneur that never stops working, night nor weekend. In a sense this is true: your business will be (hopefully) your passion, so you never really stop thinking about it. But if you want your business to have long term success and stability, you need to pace yourself. Adopting unsustainable work habits will only lead to burn out and poor decision making. You’re in this for the long haul: even though you might want to rush towards your goals and achieve them (and sales) as soon as possible, remember that you’ve got time. Enjoy the journey.
Caroline comes from a very eclectic educational and professional background: from a Biochemistry degree and Business Management Masters to working in hospitality, the wine industry, shipping, marketing, casting and the media as a freelance writer. Besides being entranced by the magic of plants and herbs, she loves baking, dancing and the outdoors... and, after many rocky years, has finally fallen in love with London.@HerbaceousBlend