Miss Withania is the story of a woman who was determined to use her knowledge of herbs and nature to help her get what she wanted most: a baby.
When Natalie, the founder, was told she had a severe case of polycystic ovary syndrome and would most likely never have children, her world crumbled.
Having children is something one never thinks about during one’s youth and something you just take for granted. You just believe it will happen, whenever you want it to happen. Sadly enough, for many women this believe shatters and they find themselves trying without any success. This was Natalie’s case.
Having studied about herbs and their use for medicinal purposes many years before, she decided to use this knowledge to create a mixture that would improve her chances of getting pregnant. She decided to use all herbs known to improve fertility and create the perfect fertility tea. Since she was geared towards that one goal and it was only for personal use, she concentrated exclusively on that purpose, ignoring what the tea would taste like. She was determined to make it work, putting so much effort and hours, that she finally succeeded. After 2 months of drinking the tea regularly, exercising and clean eating, Natalie got pregnant. She is now mother of a beautiful baby boy and is expecting her second. Now, she wants to share her discovery with other women going through her situation. This is how the Babymaker Tea came to live, creating the Miss Withania shop.
First of all the name Miss Withania, where is it coming from?
Well, I got the idea a long time ago. Originally I wanted to start selling a “depression powder mix” as well as a tea with Ashwagandha as the main ingredient. I was going through a rather difficult time and Ashwagandha root helped me a lot. The latin name for Ashwagandha is Withania Somnifera. I thought the name sounded really good and since I wanted to target women, I decided to use it as the business name. As it turns out, I ended up selling the fertility and the breastfeeding tea first, which have no ashwagandha whatsoever, but I am sure I will get back to that at some point. I am developing plenty of products that will be on the website in the future.
What are your goals currently?
Helping women in all ways possible with our products and within the company. Being a woman in this day and age is not easy. In the
But most importantly, I also know what it is like to raise children without any help and trying to make a living at the same time. If you are pursuing a career, you are expected to act, as if you were childless. But as soon as you try as hard as others, you are tagged as a bad mother. If you are a good mother, you are tagged as a bad colleague. Funny enough, the most difficulties have been given by other women. This is why I am committed to make the company grow as much as possible, so that we can hire single moms for every role. Most companies do not make it easy for single moms. Our vision is to create an environment in which single moms can work knowing that there is understanding about their situation and that their children come first. According to recent data, most single moms have financial troubles and can barely make a living. I would love to be able to change that.
What popular entrepreneurial advice do you agree/ disagree with? Why?
“Follow your passion”. I agree that you need to enjoy and like what you are doing, but I don’t think following a passion is necessarily the answer. For several reasons. Being passionate about something doesn’t mean that you are exceptionally good at it. It also doesn’t mean that your passion can make you money. Worst of all, sometimes being forced to work day in and day out on your passion kills your passion and it becomes an obligation. Why would you do that to yourself?
Of course there are a few lucky ones out there who can make a living out of their passion. But for most of us, I think passion should be there to make you feel good, not launch a business.
I do believe, however, that you should enjoy what you do a lot. It has been proven that the happiest people are those who enter a state of total focus when they do an activity, to the point that they do not notice hours have gone by. So as long as you do something that you enjoy enough to enter that state of pure focus, you are set. Or we could turn that saying around and state “be passionate about everything you do”. That would be even better.
There’s actually a book for entrepreneurs called “The Millionaire Fastlane” that talks about this with a lot of sense. I highly recommend that book to anyone who would love to be an entrepreneur, but is too scared to make the jump yet, it’s a real kick in the a**.
We all have our good days and bad days. What is your typical bad day and typical good day look like? And how do you stay motivated all the time?
I hate to admit it, but I do not stay motivated all the time. I am working on it, though!On a good day, everything seems possible. It’s like I have so much energy inside of me. Ideas keep popping up and I have to write them all down. I feel like anything is possible and I could rule the world. I’m invincible.
Before I discovered meditation, my bad days were impossible to recover, if they were really bad. Fortunately, I have come to learn that having a good or a bad day depends only on yourself. When bad things happen to you, you can either let it control your mindset or you can make the best out of it. Never let external forces control your internal state.
Having said that, if I am having a bad day, a take a break to meditate. I love the Insight Timer app, it offers all sorts of different meditations. Usually I do some metta and gratitude meditations and I automatically feel better. But of course we all have days that are more than bad, just plain horror. In those cases, I have come to learn that it is better to take a complete break and just do something for yourself. Wether it is spending the day on the couch watching TV, or doing spa treatments with a friend. When the world seems to be against you, pause, take a break, do things that make you feel good. It’s ok to let everything be and be motivated to conquer the world again tomorrow.
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
My kids. They are just amazing within and it is an achievement because I am, doing it all by myself.
I have managed to build my career, build a business and raise two fantastic little beings all at the same time and without help. If that is not an achievement, I don’t know what is! You never realize how tough and bad ass you are, until you are forced to bring it on. I wasn’t sure at first I would not be able to do it and I had many moments I actually thought I was going to break. But somehow, I kept finding strength and energy every time I thought I didn’t have any left. I actually wasn’t aware at first at what an achievement this all was (I was also focused on surviving), until many women around me kept mentioning it to me. Friends and people at work would ask me how I do it and tell me how amazing it all was. I kept brushing it off, but then one day I realized it was amazing, indeed! So whenever I need a bit of a pep talk to myself, I look at my kids and say “I did that!”.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The freedom and the knowledge you gain. Building something is a lot of work, but it is under your own terms. You don’t owe explanations to anybody and you can take your own decisions. Of course it is a lot of pressure, but it feels great. It’s also a great adventure and I love adventures. You try to make the adventure as much fun and as successful as possible, but if it goes wrong, the adventure becomes an invaluable lesson. Building a company teaches far more than any MBA.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
There have been a few. Most of them came from a lack of knowledge mixed with inefficient organization, but it all turned out to be great lessons to improve. Once I had to throw away over 60kg of herbs, because I ordered them too soon and I did not have the necessary storage for them, so they went bad. You lose money, you gain experience.
But a failure that has surprised myself has been making choices I knew were not right for business, but my heart kept insisting I do them. And I haven’t learned that yet. This is because the fertility niche is touching me more than I thought it would. Every time we would dig into social media to improve our marketing, I would end up seeing this touching and sad stories of women who are trying so hard to have a baby and can’t. Some posts just break your heart. And I know our Babymaker Tea is no miracle worker, but I also know it has helped in many cases and it should not be left untried. However, I also know, if I tell that to those women, they will just think it’s a marketing effort to get them to buy the product, so they won’t buy it. Since I truly believe it could maybe help, I end up giving the tea away for free. I had a fixed amount of tea to give away for 2018 as a promotion and we have exceeded that number because of that.
This is obviously not good for business and I won’t do this again this year, but I also have to say, I do not regret it. If any of those women end up getting pregnant, I will see it as an investment in increased worldwide happiness.And after all, this is what we are all about.
Could you suggest three guidelines for the individual who is entering the field of entrepreneurship in herbs en natural medications?
I see one main and important guideline: get legal help. It is very difficult to find help with all the legal stuff in this area. I know legal help is expensive and new companies most of the time can’t afford to spend a lot of time in legal help. (business opportunity here for anyone in the legal field!). But it is highly important to get legal advice. When it comes to herbs, natural medications and even food, there are more regulations than one might imagine. Especially in Germany, where we started.
It’s a tough field to enter, because you need to be very careful how you talk and what you say. If you are trying to use natural remedies, it is treated like you are trying to fool people, so anything you say can be a reason to stop your business. This is why legal advice is so important.
Apart from that, my suggestion would be: Do not follow trends, do not follow the money. Offer something you truly believe in. But this is not just for businesses in this field, this can be applied to any business. You should always do something because you believe in it, not because you are looking to get rich.
What advice can you give to women out there who are trying to get pregnant longer than a few months?
Never give up hope and talk about it. In these past years, I have come across so many women who were sure they would never have children and ended up pregnant when they least expected it.
Of course there are some medical conditions with which getting pregnant is close to impossible. But whatever the reason, it is important to sometimes let go and keep trying.
I met this woman 5 years ago, she was in her 40s and a high profile lawyer in London. She had tried to get pregnant for over 7 years, without any luck. She got depressed after a while, so she gave up, got divorced, sold everything she owned and moved to Argentina, somewhere in the middle of nature to live with horses I think it was. She had an affair with some Argentinian and a few months later, she was pregnant.
I like to tell this story because it shows some of the main behaviors I believe are very important: getting rid of stress, no putting yourself under constant pressure that you have to get pregnant, a healthy lifestyle and getting closer to nature. I am not saying this heals everything, but I am positive it is a great help.
Talking about it is also very important. Studies have shown that many women do not talk about it and these are more likely to suffer from depression. Of course it also matters to whom you talk about it. Be sure to find someone who is going to understand your situation and will just listen and not give some BS advice. Getting a therapist might also be a good idea, since it can help to lead your sadness and frustration in a healthy way.
Women often fall into depression when they are having a hard time to get pregnant, you fell through this yourself as well. What have you learned from this period? What is the greatest advice you can give from your own experience?
Well, my history with depression is unrelated to my desire of having a baby. It happened many years before that and it was actually because of that time that I got the idea of this business. But it is true that many women can suffer from depression when they are faced with infertility or even after having a baby.
Depression is a very tricky illness, because it can’t be seen. Sometimes even you can’t see it yourself and years can go by until you are aware that it is there. On top of that, it is not something you like to talk about, because most people do not understand it. You can either get tagged as “crazy” that needs psychiatric help or you get ignored because people think “you have no reasons to be sad”.
I think the most important thing if you are dealing with depression or if you think you are close to it is to be honest with yourself and to talk about it with people you trust or with a professional. Never keep it inside and think that you can deal with it all by yourself. It will only make things worse.
If you get help and fight to overcome it, you can learn a lot from it. I am actually really grateful for that time, because it made me deal with myself and get face to face with the darkest side of my being. This helped me realize who I really was and most importantly, it got me close to meditation and
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