Elizabeth Russel is the owner of Lizbeth’s Botanicals in Corning, NY. She is planning a complete makeover of her website in the very near future so the best way to connect with her is on Facebook, Etsy, Instagram, Twitter and at (607) 329-0651. Elizabeth has been in business since the Fall of 2013. Almost 3 years.
How do you describe your business and what you do?
I create guaranteed wheat and gluten free body care products. My products are GUARANTEED Wheat and Gluten free because of allergy issues. It’s not in the production area. It’s nowhere to be found. All of the materials I source are also wheat and gluten free.
Gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean wheat free. You can take the gluten out of wheat, but you can’t take the wheat out of wheat. Many of us who have that gluten issue are also allergic to wheat, or other grains.
This is why I began to make a lot of my own body care products. I could not buy them off the shelf. Something as simple as Vitamin E can be wheat-, nut-, or (other) grain-based, and for some of us, that is a problem.
What has been the evolution of your business? What got you from there to here?
The business came about as a result of going back to school to study Holistic Health. I began by studying Herbalism and graduated with a Holistic Health Practitioner diploma with a focus on Herbal medicine as well as a background in Nutrition.
What’s the difference between studying Herbal Medicine and the Holistic Health Practitioner?
The Holistic Health Practice allows me to work with people on a coaching basis. I am not a Doctor, so I cannot diagnose, cure, nor prevent an illness. However I CAN work WITH clients, as an herbalist, working with their doctor to provide the best course of herbal therapy without counteracting any other ongoing treatment.
I also work independently with clients, helping to make holistic changes to lifestyle routines, such as exercise, diet (especially when people have to go grain–free), and stress reduction. If I am not able to help someone, I can put them in contact with people who have modalities that may work better for them – for example an acupuncturist, chiropractor, etc.
So the Holistic degree allows you to not just understand the herbs and the natural ingredient portion, it also gives you the flexibility to consult with people.
Yes. I will consult with doctors as needed, and through the client. Doctors also send people to me and I will work up herbal recipes for them such as herbal teas, infusions, and tinctures. I work with the doctor to be sure there are no potential interactions with the client’s ongoing medical therapies. Just because it’s herbal doesn’t mean it’s safe. Some herbs can interact very badly with some of the medications that are out there. Everyone needs to work together, and this is one way we have seen some good success.
As a business person, what has been your greatest stumbling blocks – either personally or in your business? What are the helpful things you have learned in your 3 years of being in business that might help others?
Take it slow. You don’t want to go too quickly into things.
Find yourself a good venue for promotion, like joining Wellness Arts Network. Find local venues that you can work with because Work of Mouth is important.
You want to be consistent. You don’t want to begin doing one thing and then 2 weeks down the road change it. When I was first starting off, I was letting others guide what I made a little too much. I would go to the expense of buying the supplies, putting something together, marketing it, and no one would buy it. People had changed their minds or moved on to something else. It’s a learning process that needs time – so take the time.
Put your feelers out ahead of time before you introduce your business to the world. Find those people who will help you test things, so when you introduce your ideas, they are firm. Keep it that way for a couple months at least before you change anything. Everything needs time to grow. It make take a few months before you see a difference.
Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?
Yes. Because I deal with herbs, people make the assumption that I deal with the illegal variety as well. I do not!
Some people will come and say, “I have this problem. What herb will fix it”? My first response is “Have you been to your doctor”? Secondly, “I need you to give me permission to talk with your doctor so I can review your list of medications, any other conditions you have, your medical history before I can come up with the herbal formula that will work for you”.
This is very individualized. Some people think you can go to the store and pick up a bottle of herbs off the shelf because this is what they heard on XYZ TV show. It’s not like that at all. Herbal medicine is not a “quick fix” – it takes time.
This is a science unto itself. It’s really great because some people cannot take the chemical based product or the ones that have been overly processed. However, you still have to be careful with herbs. There has to be a balance there.
If you could have a Do-Over from a business perspective, what would you do differently?
I would have taken a few more business courses before I launched the business. For example, I didn’t have any idea about the accounting aspects of it. I have had to learn by the seat of my pants. Also, be sure you have your Business Plan completed and in writing!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My business is in flux right now. Lizbeth’s Botanicals is going to be part of a much larger umbrella business which will involve client coaching, Lizbeth Botanicals products plus my Angel Work, Energy Work, and my writing. In 5 years I see myself having a thriving business where I work with people on different facets of bringing wellness back into their lives and showing them how they have the power to do that.
“I am a facilitator for people to find the wellness in their lives”.