There are some people whom you instantly admire and connect with and Michelle Witherby, of O&N Collective is one of those people. I was contacted by Michelle only months after launching Zoe Organics because she was interested in carrying the line in her new online apothecary. It wasn't long before she and I began having regular phone calls to share in the highs and lows of starting and running a business as well as the joys and challenges of being a woman in business.
Michelle has a heart of gold and the positive energy and zeal for life that radiate from her are contagious. It is no wonder her "baby", O&N is thriving after only one year in business! One thing I learned quickly about Michelle and how she operates her business, is that she is all about relationships. Whether it be her outstanding customer service (make sure to check out her concierge service) or ever growing network, Michelle is a leader and a world-changer. In convinced.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Michelle and O&N Collective to you and I hope you will head on over and connect with O&N Collective on Facebook and Twitter because you WILL NOT want to miss some of the surprises O&N has in store in the coming months.
Also, O&N has put together a special Mother's Day promotion! Details at the end of the interview...
Q: Tell us the story behind the name "O&N Collective"
A: Our apothecary's name was conceived thru a few different avenues. People in my life have shared that they feel I am a "connector", somone who brings people of like minds and/or ideas together. I feel we gain wisdom and insight thru the people we meet, it's also a vehicle for inspiration. Bringing like minds together is a definition of a collective; it's community, it's connection, it's encompassing.....hence the core feeling I wanted our business to be built on. O&N identifies "organic & natural" - we strive to retail brands that utilize as many certified organic & natural ingredients as possible.
Q: Have you always been a natural beauty buff or was there an "ah-ha" moment that started you on this journey.
A: I would say that I have always been a beauty buff - I've been in love with beauty for as long as I can remember. Products, and boat loads of them, have overflowed my bathroom and vanity forever. Many people do not know this but back in 2000 I looked into opening a franchise of an apothecary lifestyle company out of Amsterdam. They had products that incorporated organic ingredients but their entire product offering wasn't 100% organic at that time. I fell in love with their concept and wanted to be their introduction to the States. The opportunity didn't work out, but all things happen for the right reasons. Obviously though the idea never left my mind. My "ah-ha" moment in regards to "natural beauty" came however when I began making holistic shifts in my lifestyle that encouraged me to be more mindful of what I exposed myself to, and one element being what I fed my body from the inside & out. Auto-Immune disorders run in my family and experiencing the affects of food, environment, toxins etc. has had a large impact on us all.
Q: Your apothecary sells a wide variety of natural products for the whole family & home. What are some of the guidelines you use when choosing these products?
A: We have a pretty extensive criteria of guidlines for choosing products; beginning with percentage of organic & natural ingredients used, exclusion of harmful & toxic ingredients, dedication to sustainability, cruelty-free, etc. O&N Collective was recently awarded Gold certification in sustainable business from Green America so our criteria continues to grow.
Q: Tell us how you found Zoe Organics and why you chose us to represent your baby/pregnancy category.
A: Back in 2010 via one of my favorite eco-beauty and wellness blogs, Fig & Sage. There was so much I loved about the product and in particular Heather Hamilton. The story behind the ZO brand just appealed to me immensly. I went with my gut and reached out to Heather....out of the blue. There was an instant connection and my intuition said that this was a company I needed to partner with. Samples from the ZO line were sent out to friends that were either expecting or had recently given birth and their feedback on the products were unanimous - everyone loved their products! Quite a few products from the ZO line are major faves with me as well; like the extreme cream and bath teas!! Overall the entire line is simply beautiful.
Q: Many of the companies in your apothecary have been started by and are run by women - including yours. We know how important it is to cherish these great connections and learn from each other. Tell us some advice you have given and/or received from these amazing women.
A: I am a huge advocate of supporting women owned businesses....it's a passion. There is a long list of advice we have all shared in, but I guess some of my most favorite conversations centered around "trusting". Trusting our instincts, the creative process, trusting that we know what is best for our businesses. Women have a truly beautiful and innate understanding, a deeper understanding, of how their business can resonate and affect people. We are showing up big in life and this transcends through our relationships & companies....but showing up big can be challenging sometimes and there are moments when we need that sisterly camaraderie and thankfully a few of us connect on this level. One of the many things I am so grateful for is the fact that I have been blessed to have amazing women in my life. To be able to work alongside some of these women, Heather being one of them, has been one of the greatest gifts of all.
Q: You just turned 1 year old! Congrats! Can you give us a sneak peek into the year(s) to come?
A: Wow - where to begin? This last year has been such an electric whirlwind and we are slated for even bigger things and projects to come. My last few weeks of travel have all been centered around the master plan of what O&N will be working on in 2012 and in the years to follow. Many things are still in the works - but going global is on the focast, additional brands and team members will be added to the O&N family as well. So stay tuned!
Thanks Michelle! We <3 you and O&N Collective and look forward to a bright future together!
Announcing the O&N Collective & Zoe Organics Mother’s Day Exclusive:
Purchase any Zoe Organics Products from www.oandncollective.com between now (4/17) and Mother’s Day (5/10) and receive a complimentary Exclusive O&N Collective Natural Beauty Member Card
O&N Natural Beauty Member Card is valid for 20% off your next Zoe Organics purchase (full order details enclosed on the back of your Member’s card)
Use this card to give to that savvy eco Mommy for Mother’s Day or use it yourself to receive 20% your next Zoe Organics order at www.oandncollective.com
Either way it’s a perfect way to share in the beauty of Mother’s Day and the Summer Season ahead!