When you discover a thriving business it’s hard to imagine their humble beginnings – and that’s exactly how inspiring wellness entrepreneur, Candy Marx, started with her soul-venture, Plantfed Mama.
Hi Candy, thank you for joining us. Can you please tell us a bit about your background? How did Plantfed Mama come to fruition?
My background is in fashion footwear design. I launched a successful and award-winning fashion footwear brand in 2009. We showed at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Sydney, in LA and NYC, we dressed the Australia’s Next Top Model’s Top 20, and we won a prestigious Qantas Award. But when I switched from a vegetarian diet to a vegan lifestyle, I knew I had to stop using leather.
I never anticipated how much going vegan would change my entire life, but my decision to ditch leather was the end of my high-end fashion career. It was tough because my brand was beginning to enter the US market, and I worked so hard for that. I knew rebranding would see my label struggle financially, but I couldn’t continue working against my soul, knowing how much damage my profession was causing. I spent the following year rebranding to an eco-vegan social label, which was really tough.
Leather production is extremely detrimental to the environment and is listed twice on the World’s Top Ten Pollutants from the livestock industry and leather tanneries.
I continued eating a plant-based whole-foods diet, which is when I made the connection between my health and food. I was a lot healthier and I stopped getting sick, so I wanted to understand the science behind it. I studied Human Nutrition and Master Herbalism, and became a Holistic Health Practitioner specializing in plant-based nutrition and herbalism (phytomedicine).
During my second pregnancy, I realized that vegan and plant-based pregnancy resources were lacking. I had an influx of pregnant vegan and plant-based clients, and many of them needed nutritional advice and wanted pregnancy-and-infant-safe herbal blends. I researched what was already on the market and surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot. That’s when I realized that I needed to write a book and take my blends to market.
In 2018, I launched Plantfed Mama, which specializes in plant-based nutrition and holistic health. I also wrote my debut literary cookbook, Plantfed Mama’s Holistic Guide to a Vegan Pregnancy, and began planning the release of my herbal products.
Can you share the biggest challenges that you have had to overcome since starting Plantfed Mama?
Finding a publisher for my book was definitely a challenge. I was sent a contract from the first publisher that I approached – I signed with them but when we were close to going to print they told me that my book was to be printed in black and white. It’s a literary cookbook and all of the recipe images are bright and colourful – being black and white would’ve ruined the look and feel that I was aiming for. The publisher agreed to let me out of my contract, so I was back to square one – I had a book and no publisher.
I approached a few more publishers and they all rejected my book. Thankfully, I found a publisher that knew veganism is on the rise and I signed a contract with them.
Funding has also been a challenge. I needed more funds to take my herbal blends to market. So, I signed up on Fiverr and noticed a huge gap in my industry in Australia, so I put a few gigs together and hoped for the best. I had my first Fiverr client within the first week, then I had buyers regularly hire me.
I had two Fiverr accounts – one for marketing-related gigs and one for health-related gigs – I thought it was best to use my strengths.
Little by little, I started buying the herbs, then the packaging, and everything that I needed to launch. We did a soft launch and were approached by several stores wanting to stock our products. And it kind of snowballed from there. Now, we have over 55,000 online subscribers, many of them are clients, plus my book is now a best-seller and is stocked worldwide. Plantfed Mama Herbs are selling really well too.
How has Plantfed Mama made a difference in the lives of others?
Now that more and more people are becoming aware of their health, animal welfare and the environment, a lot of them want to go plant-based but have no idea where to start, or how to eat a nutritionally-balanced plant-based diet. Especially pregnant women and parents raising plant-based children. It’s been amazing working with these women, in particular, and seeing them be confident in their decision to be vegan – and ultimately, being a healthier version of themselves.
I’ve also enjoyed helping parents better nourish their children, because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
Knowing that more and more people are increasing their physical health, mental health, and spiritual health is the driving force. The more happy and healthy people, the better! It’s my belief that ‘well people’ are more inclined to help take care of others, the environment, and our animal friends as well.
Is there anything that you wished you’d done differently?
Not at all. Everything happened the way it was supposed to, and because of that, I found my soul path.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
- Do what you love. I can’t say that enough. It might seem scary to make a drastic change in your career but if you follow your soul, you’re exactly where you need to be.
- If you’re working on a tight budget, utilize the internet and sign up to Fiverr, or Upwork, or Freelancer, to help increase your budget. Every dollar helps!
- You’ll probably want to save money by doing everything yourself, but don’t be afraid to hire another freelancer – it’s great to be able to do a lot yourself, but no one is an expert at everything.
- Sites like Canva, Wix, Wave Accounting and Zoho Mail come in really handy. They’re affordable on a tight budget and super simple to use. All of these sites are cloud-based systems which is fantastic if your laptop dies, and you can log in from anywhere.
- Make genuine connections, whether to your customers, suppliers, or social media followers. Don’t become ‘too cool’ to respond, interact, or compliment others. One trait that all successful people share is that they’re supportive of others and their success.
- Utilize cost-effective PR and marketing strategies by collaborating with other brands. If you’re an expert in your area, write guest posts for large websites. If published, you’ll attract a lot more followers, subscribers and customers.
- This may sound counter-intuitive, but don’t make money and profit your number one priority. Make the impact that your business has your priority, and money will be a welcomed by-product.
- Whether it’s donating a percentage of your sales or donating your time, it’s important to give back.
How can our readers find out more about you?