I met Sarah, the Founder of Unbeelievable Health, on the Mentoring workshop at The British Library Business & IP Centre. We both had agreed to be mentors to start-ups. Her energy and dynamism are infectious. To hear more about her story do read on ...
What was your inspiration behind UnBEElievable Health?
I was living between London & NY & used fall ill quite often, probably much to do with gruesome plane air! I started asking nutritionists what they felt were the most effective natural ingredients to help one avoid illness and a few kept cropping up, including bee propolis- which has natural antibiotic & antiviral properties. Through trial an error & fine tuning with the help of nutritionists, I worked out the optimum combo of immune supporting ingredients and found that I was no longer falling ill.
I'd curiously always dreamed of starting a supplements brand. My father, an entrepreneur, was always a natural health fan and I learned a lot from him about health and business. I was also always intrigued by bees & the lightbulb went off to create a brand based on health from the hive as bees produce such healthy products and combining them with natural, plant sourced nutrients with proven benefits & studies behind them, which are not usually found in a regular diet or multivitamin. I think it's really important to have a higher purpose in business so we also raise awareness about the importance of bees & donate to bee charities like the amazing Bees for Development.
Would you share a valuable insight into the world of bees and their magic?
I like to say they are like little alchemists. Propolis for example, is collected from plant & tree buds & they mix it with wax and other substances to line their hives, it is said that a bees hive is the most sanitary place on earth, indeed, the Egyptians used propolis in the mummification process and also used it for health & skin healing. Pollen, is also amazing as it is probably the only substance that contains the full range of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
And of course who isn't a fan of honey, which also has many surprising health benefits too as does Royal jelly. It's the females that do most of the work, the chaps pretty much just buzz around & do a lot of shagging. Also bees are known to have personalities, some can be timid and others can be daredevils. Also, they can recognise human faces, so never swat at bees. Only the males have stingers and usually if you don't bother them, and you keep a chilled attitude, they won't sting you.
Your greatest learning to date?
My dad always told me psychology is the most important thing in business, and it's true. Relationships are everything and when stuff doesn't go as planned, you have to know how to handle it in a good way.
I do some mentoring & always recommend Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People. There is so much valuable insight in that book, part of it being that acting like a peckerhead won't get you very far. The other important thing I've learned is the importance of costs & margins & staying on top of supply chain- always have a backup plan!
An achievement which puts a huge smile on your face each time it springs to mind?
I'm a big believer in manifesting / visualising, I suppose Law of Attraction if you will, and when I started, I was told by a number of small thinking spoilsports, that as such a small business starting out, that we didn't have much of a chance of getting in any of the health chains, wholesalers or important independent stores right away but with a daily practice of believing that it would happen, within a matter of months, we got into 4 of the top UK & Irish wholesalers, The Revital chain & Planet Organic.
Soon after, our supplements were listed in Whole Foods & Holland & Barrett as well as hundred of independent health stores & chemists.
We have since won 11 awards (including 3 best supplements 2018 awards) and sell in over 1000 stores in the UK & abroad.
Who or what inspires you?
I really look up to people like Whole Foods co-founder John Mackie & Planet Organic founder Renee Elliot. They have a passion for natural & healthy products & a great ethos too & understand the importance of giving back & treating staff, suppliers & customers well.
I also have to say I'm truly grateful to my parents who always drilled it into me that you can achieve almost whatever you want in life if you put your mind to it & knuckle down.
How do you juggle a husband and bringing up two daughters with the business?
Thankfully they have been very patient as I work long hours, but much of it from a home office, so I'm often there before and after school & when we are all home, we always have meals together (sans phones!). I've also tried to get them involved a bit in the business. They all have great advice & my teen daughters have great marketing ideas and have driven home the importance of social media to me. But the main thing is making time to talk, and most importantly, to listen.
Where do you see your industry going?
Up, up & away. People are drinking less, eating better, exercising more and taking better care of themselves. We are living longer so most of us want to be able to keep it together in the twilight years. The wellness industry is the fastest growing market in the world right now!
Where can we find your fabulous supplements?
You can find Bee Prepared immune formulas & Bee Energised energy & focus in independent health stores & chemists, Holland & Barrett & Boots & online globally via Naturisimo, Revital & Bodykind.
Do you have a lucky charm or omen or ritual?
I have a song- You Get What You Give by The New Radicals. I blast it when I need to get in the mindset to make the stuff happen!
Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Eclair?
Hot chocolate... mmm, especially thick & with a chili kicker!
Three words to inspire our readers ...
Yes you can!