My name is Darpan, I am originally from India. I came to Canada as a foreign student at the age of 15, I worked at a Natural Emporium - my grandfather's store. I began working with him while pursing my high school diploma and fell in love with herbs and spices all 102 of them on his back wall, in his store. No one was looking at the root issues, which is how I discovered my path and calling during my co-op term in Pharmacology. I became a full time entrepreneur at the age of 19 managing and owning few businesses here and there. An example was a mobile supplement shop which transformed into a brick and mortar natural health marketplace in Manotick, Ottawa as we speak today. My key niche in the beginning is my connection with the elderly in the community re: meeting their needs by delivering the right products to their doorstep when they need it. Currently, I have collaborative agreement with local business who deliver that instead of me when I first started. But still maintaining the quality and standard of service. My vision has always been to support local vendors by showcasing and selling their products and also implementing an in house counselling program and blood analysis. That way my team and I can find the root cause of their problem. I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Live blood analyst, herbalist and a product knowledge expert and a formulator. I had few business catastrophe along the way – the burning of my marketplace but I overcame this obstacle.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest challenges was competing with big franchises and time management. As a mom and a business owner my mental health is key. Balancing both was hard to deal with.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Luckily, for me everyone around me have been very supportive. Especially, my parents told me to go and chase that dream. However, once a while I do cross paths with a devil advocate. I believe, you do need that one person who would challenge your decision making and your vision. As you can tell, I don't let anyone bring me down even when my business burnt down.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Word of mouth - has been my key breakthrough. I hardly advertise because of quality of service we render. That has been rewarding for me. So far the old method works for me - "personal touch".
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Don't spread yourself thin! Focus on one thing if you can and do your possible best!
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally? My advise is, don't let your passion go to waste. Delegate and partner up with a team out there! Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes. Learn from them and grow - example is my store burning down. Get help, ask for help and receive the help! I have a big ego ( working on that daily) - Pls put that aside! Find your Tribe! Don’t let anyone dictate your life.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Irene