Being an entrepreneur can seem glamorous. We own our schedules, build our companies based on work we love—and sometimes we can even work beachside. But the glamour is second in command to the hustle.
The hustle is what really defines the ups and downs of the entrepreneurship journey. And to shed some light on the work it takes to build a business, I’m interviewing fellow entrepreneurs who are ready to get real about their journeys. I’ll ask them how they manage to balance the hustle with the passion of what they do, and they’ll share what they had to overcome to get where they are today. It’s all in service of inspiring, supporting and illuminating the path for you, and we’re calling it the #BalancedHustler.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and in the case of the feminine care product line The Honey Pot, that old adage couldn’t ring truer. The company’s founder and CEO, Beatrice Feliu Espada, struggled with a recurring infection, and after a revealing dream in which she gleaned valuable information from her ancestral line, she healed herself. It was that personal healing that convinced her to bring her homemade product to market, and success has only increased from there. The Honey Pot is now in both Target and Wal-Mart, and Beatrice is making healthy, natural feminine care products accessible and effective. Keep reading to get her full origin story.
Fast Facts: Beatrice Feliu Espada
When did you launch The Honey Pot?
I launched The Honey Pot Company in 2014.
In one sentence, tell us why you started The Honey Pot.
To give girls and women healthy options for their feminine health and wellness.
How much did you invest to get the business started?
It was close to $20,000 to get things off the ground.
How did you get capital to start?
I reached out to my business partner and brother Sy to help me get things off the ground. He helped me secure that initial capital.
Are you growing your business to sell? Or this is your dream job and you want to be doing this in 10 years?
Yes, we are growing this business to eventually sell to a large conglomerate.
How many hours a week do you work when you started vs now?
When I first started, I was working a full-time job and running my business. Of course, I work more hours now since I really never have a day off. I work every day.
How many employees do you have?
What two business goals do you have for 2019?
To continue to scale both online and in stores and to reach our sales goal, which is very ambitious but will set us up nicely for 2020.
How Beatrice Balances the Hustle
Your story of starting The Honey Pot is a beautiful one. Can you share it with us?
I was battling with a recurrent BV (bacterial vaginosis) infection for almost a year. It was a vicious cycle. I would get the antibiotics from my doctor and as soon as my cycle started, the BV would come right back. One night, I had a dream with one of my ancestors and she gave me a list of ingredients to put together that would heal my issues. I woke up the next morning and did exactly what she told me to do. Within a few days, my symptoms were gone. I knew that if this wash healed me, it could do the same for countless other women. That was the moment The Honey Pot Company was born.
How did you grow?
- Year One: I launched the company in the summer of 2014. My business partner helped me get $20,000 to buy bottles and ingredients and I made 600 bottles of feminine wash and got a booth at the Bronner Brother’s Hair Show in Atlanta. I sold out of 600 bottles in one weekend. I also was able to get the product into Whole Foods in Atlanta.
- Year Two: We really focused on diversifying the website since we knew our customers wanted more than just feminine wash. We started selling third party wipes and pads and quickly saw the company grow. During this time, the team was only four people and we all worked full-time jobs while doing The Honey Pot Company on nights and weekends.
- Year Three: This was when we really saw the biggest shift in our company. Target reached out to us and was interested in bringing our brand into their stores. We met with the buyer who learned about us via her hairstylist who followed us on Instagram. We rebranded and created an entire line that included Honey Pot wipes, pads, tampons and more so that Target could see the vision of the line.
- Year Four: We launched into Target—our first national retailer—and have really exploded since then. I finally went full-time and quit my day job as Honey Pot needed full-time attention.
- Year Five: We’re expanding even more. The team is currently at 8 people and counting. We’re in Walmart, Whole Foods SE and Whole Foods MA, Target, Wegman’s, Urban Outfitters and going into several more key retailers later this year.
Cash flow is always an issue for consumer good products. What’s your advice for managing it?
It’s so crucial that you spend time forecasting as this will really help you figure out how much money you need to keep on hand to purchase inventory. You need a dedicated and skilled financial team to help assist with this.
How does being a WOC female entrepreneur impact your journey? Have you experienced pushback? Doubt? Community support?
Being a WOC has had an impact although I choose to focus more on just being an entrepreneur as there are hardships we all face. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had to jump over hurdles that my white counterparts probably have not and that just makes me work harder and have to be more resourceful in finding capital and making things work.
I haven’t had much pushback. Matter of fact, I’ve had a lot of support! Many times, customers don’t know The Honey Pot Company is black female-owned and operated. When they do find out—it just makes them excited that they are supporting a BOB (black-owned business).
There’s a lot of movement and change in the feminine hygiene world right now. What are you doing to make The Honey Pot stand out?
We’re the first and only feminine care brand on the market that sells everything a woman needs for her feminine hygiene and feminine care. We’re also natural and healthy—meaning we do not use artificial ingredients or fragrances. We want to be the one-stop-shop for all things feminine wellness made with healthy, natural ingredients. We’re powered by herbs.
How did you make it into Target?
Believe it or not, the Target buyer reached out to us via email. She learned about us via her hairstylist who was following us on Instagram. She referred us to the buyer who was looking to bring new, healthier options to Target.
Beatrice’s Advice to Entrepreneurs
What do you want to leave our readers with?
You’ve asked good questions. It’s important for them to know they need to go into business with the end game in mind. This will really help steer their decisions and strategies to get them aligned with their end goal.
What failure have you learned most from?
I’ve learned from all of them. The one I learned from most was always trusting my gut. I didn’t trust my gut in the past and got screwed over. When I get a strong feeling about something or someone—I look into it and don’t just push it away.
How did you overcome it?
I’ve learned to trust myself more.
What is your #1 piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Follow your dreams and don’t take no for an answer. No one will ever grind for your business as you do, but know this life is 24/7. You will always be working—even on weekends and vacations. It’s what it takes when you’re a business owner.
What does being a #BalancedHustler mean to you?
A balanced hustler is someone who knows how to practice self-care while grinding out. It’s important that you find that balance on a daily basis as being an entrepreneur takes a lot out of you. It’s also about finding the balance between making a profit and helping the community. I work hard daily to keep that balance!