Creating a product out of pure necessity has been the common drive for most of our COCOBelles of the Month. This month, we are featuring Beatrice Feliu Espada, of The Honey Pot. She has produced a line of plant-based personal hygiene products that have changed the way we choose everything from, our sanitary pads to feminine wash. Read all about how Beatrice began her brand by choosing alternative options and her best advice to women entrepreneurs.
What’s a day in the life of Beatrice?
It’s hectic! Everyday, I’m working on multiple things at once. At any given moment, from product development, to raising capital, to meeting with the buyers at major retailers, I have my hands in every access of the business and I’m constantly looking to elevate my brand in a smart and forward-thinking manner.
What inspired you to create a feminine hygiene brand?
I battled with an almost year long BV (bacteria vaginosis) infection that just wouldn’t go away. I did the vicious cycle of going to the doctor, getting antibiotics and then when my cycle started – the infection returned. One night I had a dream where one of my ancestors gave me a list of ingredients that would help heal my infection. I created the formula based on that dream and that’s how The Honey Pot Company was born.
What was your first product that you started with?
Our plant-based feminine washes were the first product. I did two years of R&D (research and development) tweaking the formulation until I landed on the perfect formula.
Did you consult with other women before going to market with your product?
Yes. I gave out samples of the washes to family, friends and customers at Whole Foods where I was working at the time in the Body department. Getting their feedback was crucial to the development of the feminine wash.
What did you do before you became an entrepreneur?
I worked as a natural foods broker for Rhythm Superfoods. I also worked at Whole Foods in Whole Foods Body for a few years. I have a strong retail background.
How did your prior work experience prepare you for entrepreneurship?
I have a firm knowledge and understanding of what buyers and retailers need when it comes to selling products into stores. I also know what the consumer needs to purchase, as I was on both sides of that experience – buyer and retail
What was your transition like becoming an entrepreneur?
It was crazy but at the same time, I am so blessed to be working for myself. I worked full time for three and a half years while I worked on Honey Pot. I didn’t quit my full time job until I absolutely had to. Also, I didn’t quit my job until I could financially afford to pay myself without bankrupting my business. I poured every bit of revenue back into the business those first three and a half years.
What advice would you give other women who want to start their own business?
First off, you need to realize that this will become an all-consuming aspect of your life. Unlike working a 9-5 where you can leave work at work – running your own company is a 24/7, 365 days a year venture. You will be eating, sleeping and breathing your business. You need to love what you’re doing and be willing to sacrifice a lot to make it happen. Also, know it won’t happen overnight. Building a successful business, no matter what industry you’re going into will take time.
Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me, my mother for her strength, resilience and support. Richelieu Dennis for believing in my vision and backing us financially – we are a part of the New Voices Fund founded by Richelieu and Unilever. My team – for all the hard work and time they have poured into this vision.
What are the top three products in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal – that you can’t live without?
Doterra Essential Oils- specifically peppermint, lavender and mint
Organic Shea Butter
What’s next for Beatrice?
Scaling my business to become an international household name. I am also seeking to create foundations and programs to help girls and women worldwide. In the next 5-10 years I plan to sell my company to a large conglomerate and launch a new business – possibly in the food industry.