There is a growing interest on the part of consumers to find products that have been created with a gentler footprint on the planet. So it’s exciting to hear of a great holistic lifestyle store in South Africa, Organico, created by passionate social entrepreneur Annabel Biggar-David. This is a business that has environmental sustainability at its heart.
LoA found out more about this impact driven business this month from its passionate and committed founder, Annabel Biggar-David.
What does your company do?
Organico is an exciting Aroma & Holistic Lifestyle Store driven by a dynamic and passionate team of Eco Warriors pioneering innovative, natural and effective health solutions. Making a social impact and contributing to the Green Economy is critical to our core business model. We are bringing the life-changing benefits of a wide range of products to cater for all aspects of one’s health. Our innovative range includes Aroma Health Ultrasonic Diffusers, Certified Organic essential oils and our incredibly popular certified organic Synergy blends, an SA first! Our range is affordable and accessible to every person, home, family and business as we believe everyone deserves a life of abundance and health. Based on a firm foundation of integrity and sustainable farming practices which we cherish, we create a lifestyle of harmony, where a balance and collaboration exist between people, as it exists in nature, with ethics, integrity, care and respect for our surroundings, people and our environment. Our social responsibility is not only an integral part of our business model; it is our natural way of doing what we do. In addition to offering a holistic approach to health we take care of our employees, whom we upskill and empower.
"Based on a firm foundation of integrity and sustainable farming practices which we cherish, we create a lifestyle of harmony, where a balance and collaboration exist between people, as it exists in nature."
What inspired you to start your company?
No amount of security was worth the suffering of a mediocre life. I wanted to contribute to something bigger than myself.I did not want to be imprisoned by a haunting thought of “I wish I had” so was willing to risk almost everything I own to make a difference in society and create employment. I sold almost everything, tapped out our access bond and when money ran out would barter furniture for services. With a deep need to provide the public with safe, effective, natural health solutions and the dramatic spike in demand for plant-based, certified organic products Organico was born. Coupled with the fact that tensions high in our country and communities, our high unemployment rate as well as more than 50% of South Africans living in poverty was another reason we do what we do. As an SME we are here to make a difference economically.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
They are effective, safe with guaranteed benefits which in the long run will save you money. We’ve created a lifestyle product, where a balance and collaboration exist between people and nature. What sets us apart is that we are listening to the needs of people, offering innovative products while creating employment. We source essential oils harvested in their native regions and climates to get the best quality oils available. Our social responsibility is not only an integral part of our business model; it is our natural way of doing things. We believe in People Before Profit and that is why every bottle is labelled, bottled and capped by hand. When buying certified organic, you are also assisting in reducing the amount of pesticides used on our planet.
"Our social responsibility is not only an integral part of our business model; it is our natural way of doing what we do."
Tell us a little about your team
Our team extends far beyond us employees of Organico. Its our business advisors Vanessa & Zaida Jackson from Seda. My sister in law Carol who takes leave according to Organico’s schedule so she can take care of our furbaby and handle the online store. Krips is an amazing business advisor, one of my best friends and someone I can call on at any time. The company The Courier Guy who goes way beyond what is expected of them and ensures our clients orders are delivered as quick humanly as possible. Marianna and Lauren from Ecocert who’ve been with us from the start, being very patient with us along this journey. Our families and Noel my extraordinary husband, who is my greatest support and someone who shares the vision to change the world. Regarding our staff we have Phamela, a former domestic worker who runs our production line, does all the labeling and oversees client deliveries. Fuzile a human bottling machine. Cameron is fresh out of high school with distinctions a mile long. He joined the team to earn money and gain work experience in sales and marketing in preparation for his marketing degree in 2019. Wendell radiates sunshine and laughter and leads the sales team. And then there is me who does all the above.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
We are based in Cape Town and up until very recently my husband, furbaby and I lived in a room that was once my hubby’s man cave. Our entire house has been converted into a laboratory on one side which is spot checked and audited by Ecocert and the USDA to ensure we comply with the rules of handling certified organic material. The lounge kitchen, dining area and all the bedrooms serve a specific function. It has become a factory with a full on production line where we test, bottle, label and package everything. We have now outgrown that space and soon will be moving to a factory. Organico was established in 2015 and we spent a year and a half in the research phase, developing our products. We officially launched on Freedom Day April 2017 and have been incredibly humbled by the amount of support we’ve received. My granny was the one who instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me. She helped me start my first business at 9 years old selling fudge. Once I returned to the Cape Flats I continued my small business and extended the range to toffee apples and as I got older, while holding a full time job, would make dream catchers and candles at night and sell to stores and colleagues.
"We believe in People Before Profit and that is why every bottle is labelled, bottled and capped by hand. When buying certified organic, you are also assisting in reducing the amount of pesticides used on our planet."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We are an online store www.organicooils.co.za and also supply South Africa’s largest organic store Faithful To Nature. We have a few distributors which you can find on our website at www.organicooils.co.za ☺ and soon to be in a national retailer Clicks in June…..It will be announced on our website and FB page so watch this space :-) We are also working on something incredibly special and if we pull it off not only will it be a South Africa first but a global first too!
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Knowing we are making a social impact by uplifting and up skilling from our local informal settlement. We have twice been put through as a SEDA success story to provisional government for the employment we create. I believe in People Before Profit and I think that’s why Organico has been as successful as it has. We've garnered numerous awards and through my work I was offered a scholarship to study at the prestigious Gordon Institute Of Business Science - an opportunity I never had growing up and still pinch myself as I’m incredibly humbled to study.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Keep your circle small and find your "tribe" that celebrates the magnificent goddess that you and they are. Be a woman other women can trust. Keep you values front and centre as in business integrity goes a very long way. Don't take things too personally. have no ego...dignity yes, but no ego. Work as if someone is working 24 hours to take it all away from you. Network at every opportunity you can get. Your customer doesn't care how much you know....they care about how you care. Your customers should be in your thoughts EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Keep your word, offer exceptional customer service. You do not get a second chance to make a first impression. Be authentic.
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Why LoA loves it….
Some of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the world are driven by the sheer passion for what they do, and the way that they incorporate that passion into every element of the business. Annabel Biggar-David is one such entrepreneur, truly passionate about creating innovative, sustainable, natural and effective health solutions, harnessing the power of nature. Her belief in creating a business that is kind to the environment, caring to its employees and suppliers, and passionate about making a difference in society, is a real example to others. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa