People to Know: Cindy Collins

HARRINGTON — After serving in the United States Air Force and beginning a family of her own, Harrington resident Cindy Collins decided she wanted to make some money on the side.

She started her business as a hobby, making jewelry and herbal blends and serving as a doula, or birth attendant, and photographer.

Several years into the business, she decided some of her services were needed more than others.

Ms. Collins began focusing on herbal blends, creating products such as teas and salves to address a void in the marketplace.

“We have so many photographers. But I knew there would be a void if I stopped making my products,” she said.

From 2010 until now, she has grown her business to international proportions. Her products reach every state and 54 countries.

She was recently interviewed by Forbes in recognition of her success. Read more about this week’s person to know: Cindy Collins. Find her online at euphoricherbals.com.

 

Age: 37

Hometown: Oakland, California

Educational Background: Associates degree in baking and pastry, also majored in photography and behavioral science.

Occupation: Owner: Euphoric Herbals. “I own my own business, that’s what I tell them.”

How did you make it to Delaware?

“In 1999, I was stationed in Dover. I did not know where Delaware was. I remember when I put in all my bases to choose where to go, I put in Hawaii, Europe and I put in the Washington, D.C. locale so I could get near the city. When they put me in Delaware, I thought, ‘Oh good. It’s close to New York City.’ But then I did some research and saw there was less than 40,000 people in Dover and I thought I would die. In the Air Force, if you found someone in your field that graduated within two weeks of your graduation date, you could trade locations with them and a friend of mine was headed to California. I would have been within driving distance of family. But I didn’t join the Air Force just to go back home. I joined for an adventure. So, I stayed.”

Tell us about the military?

“I was 4-years active duty. I was an informational manager. I basically did admin and computers. I worked in the post office, as a publishing and distribution officer with the Airlifter, but mostly admin and computers.”

Tell us about your family?

“My husband is a teacher of 24 years for the Lake Forest School District. We have three boys.”

What do you do now?

“I’m an herbalist. I create and manufacture herbal products that we sell online that are sold to every state and 54 countries. What we make is herbal tea, salves and lactation blends. We make herbal teas for therapeutic health benefits.”

How did the business begin?

“It technically started in 2010 just as a hobby. Herbal salves and jewelry because I liked to make them. I sold things I liked to create. I was a doula and did photography. Everything [herbals] was done by me before in my kitchen. It was born in 2010 when I made my first lactation blend. Friends would ask if I could make this or that and I would say ‘Sure, I’ll give it a try.’”

When did it go from a hobby to a business?

“The difference was about four years ago when I really started to focus and stop being a doula and photographer because I realized that wasn’t where the money was coming in from. Anybody can be a doula. Anybody could be a photographer. But if I stop making my products, there would be a void in the marketplace. I said, ‘I think this is what I’m going to have to do.’ I could focus entirely on the business. A shift happened because my attention wasn’t so divided. I began taking it more seriously about a brand and a company. Eventually, I was able to cast a vision as to what I wanted this to become.”

You’ve gone from hobby to business to employer?

“I’ve always had an assistant because Silas was so little when I started. At one point, she had to make capsules at home and here because we had so many orders. But now, I have a few gals upstairs that help make our products and some better processes in place. I still make the salves, but they make everything else up there. I direct and lead and do only the stuff that I have to do.”

Why herbals?

“I think because to me it felt simple. You would think I would find more fulfillment from baking. But, I know better about what I’m good at and I also know how to say no. I know if I don’t want to do it, I just say no. I enjoy making the teas. And I enjoy making the salves. I didn’t enjoy being on call five weeks at a time. We often feel like we’re obligated to do those things we’re good at, but I feel like I can better serve people doing what I’m doing now instead of being a doula or photographer.

“Doing herbals, I can create jobs. That’s a really cool thing to do. It’s more of a struggle in those other industries. What I do is so niche and there’s very few companies that do it this way. I am different than my competition.”

You talk about fulfillment. How does this business fulfill you?

“Being able to create products that make a difference in people’s lives is enough. And I get constant feedback all the time. That’s when things started kicking in all those years ago because I would get constant positive feedback for this business. Sure you get complaints, but who doesn’t. Creating jobs and making a difference in people’s lives, too. Telling them that you have more potential than you know you have and leading them in that way. Push them because I definitely do. I’m always pushing myself, reading… But I’m also encouraging them to always do the same. I find fulfillment in helping them be better in their jobs.”

Tell us about your mentor role with Delaware State University?

“I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I reached out to them to be a mentor because I thought I’d love to be able to mentor a student. If I have the skills and experience, I want to be able to reach them down and pull them up. Everybody needs to be lifted up in their life. So, if I can be a source of resource or helpful to them, then I want to be. In the military, we have managers, not bosses really. They’re not great leaders there. I think that’s what sparked me wanting to be a leader. I heard, ‘Be the leader you wish you had.’ Sometimes you have to lead the others, but you have to lead yourself, too.”

What are your future plans?

“I’m doing retail next year and a huge trade shows. For three years in a row, I’ve been to the trade shows. I had planned on going as a vendor in two years, but if I wait until the next year I’m going to miss a tremendous opportunity.

“In the next five years, some of the goals are to be already in a different facility. We’re working with the capacity we have. I have some ideas like moving into a new facility, again. I know, we just built this one.  I’m still getting to know the real estate market, but I want to be in Milford. I have to be in Milford with more capacity. I like how Milford does business. For me, I feel like it’s a town of growth and opportunity.

“I want to be able to import herbals and be able to import directly from farmers and work with them to make sure it’s a fair trade. This will mean products from overseas. Then, at that point I can be able to supply them here and distribute. All the major ones are in west coast. It will lower my cost for one reason. It will bring freshness to my products and supply local health food stores. And if people walk into the store, they’ll see a wholesale department. When we move, I actually want to take an apothecary compound course. It’s something no established brand is offering: custom extracts, compounds and stuff like that. I want to be in Mom’s Markets — natural food grocery — by next year.”

Some of those goals you have started to realize already?

“We’re now in Sling With Me in Milford and Wilder Love in Greenwood. We’ll soon be in a wellness center in Salisbury.”

Tell us about some of the feedback you receive?

“There’s one woman that comes in mind about the Menstrual Melody Tea where she had endometriosis and just had horrific cycles. She was going to have a endometrial ablation. And her holistic OBGYN said ‘You know, you might as just give it a try.’ Her next cycle was normal. She didn’t even need to have surgery at that time. Then there’s women who find help with breastfeeding. There’s a sea of that with me. Some people are able to stop supplementing with formula with my lactation blends and are able to recover their supply after significant illness. I had a customer whose baby had yeast rash that she just couldn’t get rid of. She used the fungal salve. It significantly improved after application. One woman told me the lactation blends increased her milk supply and made it richer and fuller and her baby was resting better, napping longer. And she was able to get rest. She was able to clean her house. That’s every mother. It’s so simple, but it’s amazing.  Who does not want that as a mom that your baby sleeps?

“I feel like when I create formulas, a lot of it is intuitive for me. Yes, there’s scientific stuff behind herbals. But for me, it’s intuitive. Part of it is people know that they’re getting a quality product with quality ingredients you can trust, connect to and relate.”

Advice for others?

“I think do or create what you find enjoyment in. I think it’s the simplest thing. There’s so many things that suck about business, but as long as I enjoy making this product and enjoy service, I can cope with all the other stuff. Taxes, and creating a website and figuring out shipping; all those other things aren’t so fun. But creating something you enjoy is a huge part of it.

“Be really solid on why you do what you do. There’s easier ways to make money, I’m sure. My mom said to me a few years ago, ‘How big are you trying to grow this thing. Are you just trying to become rich and famous?’ I just said, ‘No, mom. I’m not trying to get rich and famous. I could have easily married a millionaire. I don’t know how big I’m going to grow this thing. As big as God will allow me.’

“Knowing your why is important. I make products I like but also build a business around my family life. I don’t follow rules really well, so I have to make my own rules. So, you can go back to bed, that’s why. I wanted that kind of freedom in my life.

“Bootstrap your business financially. Start small and man, if you can grow it without debt, do it. I have an inventory without herbals inside of $50,000. And I did it without debt. Scale up slowly. Aim to become vital in your customer’s lives, not viral. Vitality is more important.

“Be in the front of their minds and on the tip of their tongues.

“Be flexible on how you do your business on the methods. You have to be solid on the why you do it and be committed. Be able to outsource; I had to do that. It was a risk, but it was the best decision I made.

“And know that I’ll figure it out and that’s okay.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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