Crib Sheet #61: Elements Naturals’ Linda Naerheim.

entrepreneur, natural products

In 2007, Linda Naerheim founded Elements Naturals® in Bend, Oregon, with the aim of developing high-quality baby natural products that are designed with babies and the environment in mind.  She found success rather quickly, and with it came little nuggets of wisdom that can surely help us all.  My favorite?  “Never take no for an answer.  It just means ‘not now.'”

What business did you start up?

Elements Naturals.

What motivated you to do it?

As a first time mom I wanted to use natural products for my baby.  After giving my 9-month old daughter a severe rash from a homemade baby wipe recipe I found on the internet, I decided to develop a product that was a safer and eco-friendlier than what was already on the market.

How many children do you have, and how old are they?

Two daughters, ages 2 and 4.

How long have you been running your business?

Since 2007.  It took 18 months to develop and launch the product.

How long did it take you to start becoming profitable and/or successful, however you choose to measure success?

The company launched its first natural products in April of 2009 and sold out of its initial inventory within six months. Now one year later we have moved manufacturing from overseas to the U.S. and have expanded into retailers nationwide.

How did your family react to your starting your own business?

My husband was very supportive and still is.  I have some friends and family that have supported me all the way.  Others still can’t grasp that I run a national business…yet.

Easiest part of your job?

Responding to emails.

Hardest part of your job?

Managing my time and also dealing with my guilt of working from a home office and still having my children in daycare.  I was working two days a week when I started and now I work 5-6 days a week.

What skill would you most like to improve?

My knowledge of social media.  I like Facebook but find Twitter to be very time consuming.

What tools or advice do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Be cautious when talking to people about your business.  Although people can be very helpful, you never know what they are thinking in the back of their minds.  I had a mentor who was very helpful, only to find out that this year that person will now be competing against me. Remember, business is like an onion, it’s ok to talk about the outer layers but keep the core close to your heart.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

Growing my business quickly.  I knew it would do well, but not this fast!

Can you recommend 3 essential websites for moms in, or going into, business?

The Mogul Mom, The Business of Being a Mom from the Boogie Wipes moms, and Seth Godin’s blog.  There are so many out there. I think it’s important to choose which ones you find most valuable.

Favorite part of a typical day?

Picking my girls up from school and hearing their sweet little voices say “Mommy.”

And a few more questions, considering that American Express should be featuring more mom entrepreneurs

Childhood ambition? To be a hair stylist.

Time of day you get the most work done? After 9 am.

Last purchase? A $10 pair of lined linen pants for summer.

Favorite book or magazine? Oxygen and the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

Inspiration? My girls.

Least likely to…..take no for an answer. It just means “not now.”

My life…..is absolutely beautiful.

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