Startup Spotlight: HerBlends of Plenty

HerBlends of Plenty sells herbal teas that empower individuals to make healthier choices. Through education they want to re-introduce natural herbs as a holistic medicine. They want to focus on herbs that are sustainably grown without chemicals and that can be grown or found right here in Lansing. Their goal is to help create products…

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HerBlends of Plenty sells herbal teas that empower individuals to make healthier choices. Through education they want to re-introduce natural herbs as a holistic medicine. They want to focus on herbs that are sustainably grown without chemicals and that can be grown or found right here in Lansing.

Their goal is to help create products that help people lead healthier lives and make it easier for people to make healthier choices. Through HerBlends of Plenty, Kirk Green and Patty Akley want to create a package of products people can feel good about.

Founded:

Kirk Green and Patty Akley

Where the idea came from:

Kirk, a long time allergy sufferer was introduced to tea blends by a housemate and discovered a blend that helped his allergies more than any medications he had tried. The blend was one that was found everywhere and had many other beneficial properties. It used to be common place to turn to things like mint for a stomachache, but instead, people turn to medications that only help with one thing, while herbs can help with overall health.

He also wants to be able to help other farmers that work so hard for very little pay off.

Problem they are trying to solve:

Many people, including Kirk, can’t always afford the best healthcare and when they can, it’s often impersonal and not effective for the long term. Herbal teas provide nutrition that contribute to complete health and can help heal the body as a whole. Herbs are easy to find or grow and are a cheaper, and often more effective solution than modern medicine.

Exciting Opportunities:

It’s exciting to Kirk to be able to benefit from a product and help others at the same time. Eventually they would like to be able to provide jobs, help farmers and put a percentage of their profits towards non-profits and local causes. He hopes to soon be able to give back to the community on a much larger scale.

Biggest Challenge:

Kirk is still a beginner in the business world so creating a scalable business is challenging to him because it’s not just about creating the product, but putting together many different components and pieces.

But, he is overcoming this particular challenge by simply turning to others for help. Having a partner helps balance his workload and he’s turned to resources such as The Hatch for assistance. He has also worked with the MSU Product Center and their small business development center.

Another major resource has been the Capital Village Trade Cooperative, another project of Kirk’s. Through them he has been able to source herbs from other farmers who are part of the cooperative and just get general support.

Surprises:

So far, Kirk has been the most surprised by the response from potential customers. He’s seen a lot of positive responses by a lot of people and more than a few have mentioned that they would be customers. Because of this response he’s also surprised that there aren’t more tea companies that have herbal/medicinal focus and that there are so many plant resources that aren’t being utilized.

The Future:

Kirk says the first year is basically testing products and getting feedback and that next year will, hopefully, consist of more sales to businesses like co ops, Horrocks, and The Avenue Café. In 3 years he hopes to have more employees so they can produce more product and can start marketing and expanding through the state and region.

Advice:

Kirks advice to new entrepreneurs would be to “go out there and do it.” He says, “don’t just throw the idea around, even if you fail, you learn along the way.”

He also says that it’s “really helpful to start telling people you are interested in something.”

Connect:

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