After spending 11 years doing custom fabrication of home interiors, Joena Shay Buchholz was diagnosed with lymphoma. During chemotherapy she began to develop products to soothe and detoxify her body. Joena´s company Silk "n Shea (www.silknshea.com) is a direct result of her need for natural hypoallergenic soaps and skin care products.
So how did someone who had worked with fabrics for over a decade learn about creating products for the skin? "I took a year to study everything I could find about natural herbs, oils and skin care. I began by learning about the various oils and chemicals used in soaps." The Shea Butter did not cause any reactions for Joena and helped to heal the dermatitis that she had suffered when using other mass-produced cosmetic products. "It did what all of the dermatologist´s products failed to do."
But Joena hadn´t started producing cosmetics with the hopes of opening her own company. In fact, it wasn´t until she began giving them as gifts and was approached by someone who wanted her to sell them commercially that she actually ventured into the business world.
Joena found that the most difficult part of opening her business was writing the business plan; so she avoided this task for six years. "No matter how difficult it seems, give yourself at least a beginning outline and project ahead for the first 6 months and the first year. Even if you show it to no one else, it makes you accountable, " advises Joena. She suggests that after writing the business plan you should then revisit it each month. This will result in revisions, she says, but it should; you will be constantly thinking beyond where you are at the time and setting goals as you go along.
Joena works from home and her biggest piece of advice is to know when to end the day. "It is so tempting and compelling to work every minute since work is always waiting to be done. " Also, she recommends having a dedicated work line for your phone and to let family and friends know that you are working regular business hours.
And her other tips? "Set a timer when you turn on the stove. I can´t tell you how many times I´ve burned up a teapot because I went to answer the phone and an hour later found it melted to the burner! " Also, do something that you are passionate about so that you will enjoy the time that you invest in the business, and ask for help if you need it.
Joena ensures customer service by giving the customer what she would want if she were in their place. "I really do care for my customers and expect the best from myself. I feel a glow just knowing that I am able to help others overcome their allergic reactions to cosmetic chemicals."
While Joena´s children are now grown, she did run a home-based business when they were smaller, and she feels that she was guilty of trying to be all things to everyone. However, that did not include herself. As with many women, she says, "I couldn´t say no to anyone´s needs without feeling guilty and consequently I was almost stretched to the breaking point. "
Her tips for mothers with small children include finding appropriate childcare, setting hours for work and hours for home, and giving yourself permission to spend the weekend with the family. "The children grow fast and no business in the world will ever give you the kind of memories you will make doing activities with those miraculous beings."