Nadine Artemis is author of Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance and
Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, a frequent
commentator on health and beauty for media outlets, and her products have received rave
reviews in the New York Times, the National Post, and the Hollywood Reporter.
Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine has formulated a stunning collection of rare and special botanical compounds.
Her healing creations, along with her concept of Renegade Beauty, encourages effortlessness and inspires people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.
Nadine Artemis’ of Living Libations Entrepreneurial Journey Through Setbacks and Challenges
From the time she was a teen Nadine Artemis of Living Libations has known the typical 9-5 was not for her.
She had a love of handmade beauty products, being given her mother and sister’s left over bath products to experiment with, and began mixing up her own concoctions to give to friends in high school and college. It was only a matter of time before it became a fully fledged business.
Living Libations has now been in operation for many years, and Nadine the author of several books including Renegade Beauty and Holistic Dental Care.
Here she shares her inspiring entrepreneurial journey through triumphs, setbacks and devastating losses, as well as tips and strategies for the budding entrepreneur.
The road to entrepreneurship
When did you know you wanted to turn this into a business?
When I was 18 years old, through understanding what I was eating and what I didn't want to eat and reading labels at the supermarket, quickly led to me going ‘Oh my god, and all my body care is just total BS.’
And I did a science fair project with essential oils. Then I get to university and I discovered this whole thing kind of about food and body care. So from that moment forward, I never ate processed food again. I always eat organic and I was always making my own skincare.
Then I started making it for friends and family and also at the same time I was sourcing the world for the purest ingredients. From reading books from the 1800s and modern books, and reading about materials like ancient Egyptian recipes, I was like, ‘I need these things.’
Just really recently in the last hundred years or since the 19th century, synthetics didn't even exist, and before that what we applied to our body was pressed from petals and sluice from SAP and had such a life quality to it. And so that's what I was really interested in.
When I understood the BS in beauty care, that's when my relationship to beauty and health got really renegade, and I've started to care for myself in a whole other way.
So I'd make all these formulas and then friends and family loved it all. I knew when I was going to graduate that I was going to do something else, I was going to start a store because I felt like there was no place that had that purity.
I was making blends and concoctions and people were buying it. It was really fun and it grew and grew, so I had that going for me while I was in university. I made my own little pamphlets and I called it Artemis Essentials.
I had my lip balms I would put in little recycled film canisters of all kinds. People really wanted my stuff . . . so yeah, there was that moment I knew.
Then I took an aromatherapy course just to kind of ground it all in. I can't remember the exact moment a store thought came in, but I was like, I'm going to do a store.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
In my last year [of university] I was getting a lot of the stuff ready for when I was free from school to then open the store. I got a student loan, I had to go the bank, I made a business plan. I wore like a little suit and then they would match if I had $7,000 they would match $7,000.
Then I started the store and I'm painting and renovating, doing everything by hand. But we didn't have an e-commerce site because I remember back then you'd have to spend about $10,000 to get the Shopping Cart active and stuff. So we just did one where you can email your order.
Then in 2006, luckily, some friend was just like, you know, it's time to e-commerce because the email orders were beyond our capacity. It was so great because it was doing a lot of the work for me. I'm waking up and there's an order.
But then, the internet, your website, that's ongoing. It's such a fast moving situation these days. It seems that way every time we migrate because we have so much data and so many skews.
So that's a fun thing of a modern business. Just keeping up with it is very important these days, including having an in house IT person. Early on, it was like, ‘Oh, you should have your own server so you're not sharing it with four other businesses, and if it crashes, you crash.’ So there's that game of security patches; doing it regularly, really just making sure you're communicating.
Have you faced any recent setbacks or challenges in your business?
This year was a big year for us because we had a fire about five years ago and so we had to rebuild. Obviously that was a big moment. Luckily, within 24 hours of fire, we were offered this place that we could use and that's been great.
We had to just slowly regroup and save. Because we were about to build our new headquarters the week after the fire, we had lined up architectural drawings, done permits, got the backhoes lined up, and then the fire happened. But we lost everything. Every drop of oil, every computer file, just all of it, everything. And it was attached to her house so all personal items gone.
At that moment I was also like, Oh my god, do I have to do redo the last 20 years over again? But you also realize that your business is beyond the material goods that you had, because that's all that we lost. We still had the love of what we do and all of our clients and all that stuff — the website didn't burn!
It was a setback with hindsight. But I can also see how it also propelled things into the future faster.
Entrepreneur tips and strategies from Nadine
Practice good customer care
I think it's important to up your customer care [when you have an online business] because you are missing that in person interaction. You want people to feel really taken care of, even if it's through an email.
And then also have another part of customer care that's really deeply educated on the products. We get crazy, wild card questions and serious questions, and we're really dedicated to answering those questions or helping them find a path to get the answers that they need.
I love all the emails we get from all over the world. It just makes it feel like a cozier world where we can all connect. Again, I think with Customer Care understanding time zones, when you can be available for clients, and making sure you have a good speed on your internet so things load well in other countries is really important.
Check your website regularly
Do a complete browser check and PC check and mobile check and iPad check. You’ve got to check it all. It's really important.
Find reputable web developers
One thing I've learned is [the website] has been slow sometimes in between migrating sites, but also because finding the right web developers is definitely an area that most entrepreneurs are not going to be able to do themselves.
You're in a situation where it's kind of like going to the mechanic’s shop. You’re at their mercy. So it's really important to vet web teams. This is your main digital asset.
We’ve had some very interesting experiences with this, when you've got people going in the back end of your site. We had a situation five years ago where the web developer people redirected the FTP to their server, so it kind of hijacked the site.
We’ve had all kinds of major contractual issues, major things [contracted work] that was not done. We had to just lock them out of our sites. It's fine from the outside, but in the back end there's so many issues. We were fully paid but we had to walk away from that situation.
Use local help when you can and get the pros
A lot of web companies will have a team in another country like India and that's fine. It's great that we can all work together on one level, but I could see that it’s definitely caused issues, there’s communication breakdown.
I would suggest seriously just have people in your own country build the website because I think that's where a lot of issues come in. They don’t always have excellence within their company with communication and management and customer happiness.
Check the whole parameter of their team and map out accountability and consequences with anyone you hire.
Trust your entrepreneurial intuition
If you are an entrepreneur, you are intuitive. So get down with that, get in touch with that. Let that guide you because the influx of what can come in from the external world is huge and you can get whiplash from people suggestions. Stay the course and find that inside guide that will be making all of your decisions.
- Expect to experience setbacks and challenges as an entrepreneur. Remember that it’s ok to share these experiences and get the support you need.
- Practice good customer care. Create a superior customer experience from you website to your online interaction.
- Get help from the pros to build your website and be sure to fully vet anyone you hire.
Learn more about Nadine and her line of natural bath and body products and essential oils at LivingLibation.com, and come take a peek at her new home and headquarters in Ontario, Canada on her Instagram page.