By Kari Warberg, Founder and CEO of EarthKind
As a farmer and nature lover, I can confidently tell you that it takes more than just soil, water and sunshine to make the world green.
Our entire ecosystem depends on pollinators like bees to cross-pollinate nearly one-third of the world’s crops and 90 percent of wild plants.
I can also confidently tell you as an award-winning entrepreneur that making a business grow is similar.
Growing a business — and especially a new, kind business built solely from plants — requires cross-pollination. Successful entrepreneurs will tell you they couldn’t have made it without help from ‘believers’ in their purpose. I call these believers pollinators. Much like bees, they are critical intermediaries between growth at the micro level and survival at the macro level. Like bees, they are essential to helping a business build resilience within its niche and gain a foothold in the market.
Burt’s Bees: a natural pollinator for business growth
Enter Burt’s Bees. It selects 10 women-owned, green businesses each year for some much-needed pollination as part of its Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad. It provides executive advice, networking and $10,000 in cash to small businesses like mine who face extreme conditions in the marketplace. A willingness to ‘pay it forward,’ sharing their own expertise and experiences with the group, and participation of Burt’s Bees employees keen to keep entrepreneurial thinking alive within their culture are key factors to the program’s success. I had the great honor to compete and be selected for the inaugural Natural Launchpad class of 2016, and the experience has been even better than I anticipated.
How Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad helped EarthKind
- We toured the Burt’s Bees factory in North Carolina to help us better plan for own expansion from 50,000 square feet to 100,000, which spared us from potentially big mistakes.
- We attended a Burt’s Bees Culture Day to give us a clearer understanding of how to build best-in-class ratings on employee culture. Two executives attended EarthKind’s first Culture Day, after which they invited our staff to participate in their Drink the Honey brand-immersion
- Burt’s Bees team members helped us prepare for two key line reviews with major retailers; they, in turn, gained new perspective on being a small business in a big-box world.
- We’ve engaged with other Natural Launchpad members at a regular cadence to deepen and broaden our collective DNA and share best practices at Expo West and on webinars. Each time yields new (and highly practical) insights we can put to work right away.
Here’s what Burt’s Bees has to say about EarthKind’s participation in the program:
“Kari is a true force of nature in her own right. We knew when Kari decided to join the program that she’d be an influencer. Her engagement throughout the program as a guest presenter and participant during our community calls as well as her involvement during our Expo West recruitment events made her an asset to the program. How she and EarthKind took full advantage of what Natural Launchpad had to offer made her a great guest presenter at our Natural Launchpad Cohort No. 3 CEO Exchange at our headquarters.” Paula Alexander
Please reach out to me if you are considering applying to Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad, or would like more information on the program. I went through many questions in my own mind before taking the plunge.
As Benjamin Disraeli said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”