We did it, TOGETHER!!
As some of you may already know, 2017 was a year of massive transition for Living Earth Naturals. In 2016, I took a leap of faith and decided to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant with the USDA. The grant was for “marketing and market expansion.” Because I personally grow or wild harvest all the herbs I use in my products, I qualified for this very advantageous opportunity. I was at a point in my business (then Gaia Goods) where I was ready to try new products and a new image, so I decided to try.
I had never written a grant before…and Holy Moly…my first try was a federal one! It took me almost a month to formulate my work plan and gather my references and resources, and with my fingers crossed I submitted my proposal. This was a working capital grant, and I would be required to match any requested funds with my own funds, time and herbs. Basically, they would match my investment into my business to accomplish particular goals.
After 4 months of hoping and waiting, in November 2016, I was awarded the grant. In fact, I received the highest score in the state! WOW! I was so happy I cried!
Immediately, the work began. I had MASSIVE projects of rebranding, product development, booth design, and website design all to accomplish within one year. All this while I continued to produce products and sell at Kootenai County Farmer’s Market biweekly and numerous craft shows. Needless to say, 2017 was one of the most high paced, demanding, and stressful years I have ever had as an individual and as a business. I have more gray hair. I think I could feel it sprouting!
With that said, I am so grateful and happy to share with you all that Living Earth Naturals had the most successful year to date in 2017. Not only was I able to finish all my projects in a timely manner, but with your support, I was able to pay off my financial portion of the grant in one year!!! As I type this, I have tears in my eyes. I am so grateful. I know this is not a journey I am taking alone. I feel very supported as I reflect on this past year, and I truly hold all of you in my heart for helping me to succeed. Most Sincerely, I Thank You.
So now what? I’ve actually been spinning in that space a bit lately. With so many fundamental tasks accomplished, where should I aim?
I have decided my word for the year is Balance. Living Earth Naturals was all I did last year. I hope to balance my personal life and business life better this year. I aim to provide the best product I can and this can only come from me being the best person I can, so I hope to balance my daily schedule better. I hope to find ways my business can operate in better balance with my community and planet. I have ideas I want to develop to be more involved locally and globally. And finally, I hope to balance my LEN social media presence with both purpose and products. Believe it or not, I am a natural recluse and social media is not natural to me, so I am seeking out a balance by striving to infuse my social media presence with authenticity and inspiration.
So here is to moving onward in Balance! Thank you again for supporting Living Earth Naturals.