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Female Founders: Sarah Lore of Apothecary Co. On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Creativity keeps me going and as an added benefit, it also happens to help my business stand out from the crowd. Being able to be creative, playing with essential oils, dreaming up new product ideas, it’s my true love. I think staying creative is what gives me the energy to work on all other aspects of the business as well. I learned several years ago that staying creative is the best antidote for preventing burnout, so I try to have a creative outlet at all times. I am very lucky that my job doubles as a creative outlet for me because it doesn’t feel like work at all.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Lore.

Sarah Lore has always believed in magic. At just 4-years-old, she had a near death experience that exposed her to the metaphysical world, igniting her beliefs and clairsentient abilities. In the early stages of her career, Sarah managed Neiman Marcus stores, where she found herself drawn to the cosmetic counters, sparking her love of beauty and selfcare. During this time, she realized she needed to integrate her experiences with her love of beauty, and gained her aesthetician’s license, Herbalism, Reiki, and Ayurvedic skincare training. With this knowledge, coupled with her own healing of an auto-immune disease, Sarah was determined to change the beauty industry, and founded Apothecary Co. in 2015. Since launching, Sarah has mastered the healing power of crystals, botanicals and essential oils, and has found true happiness in inspiring people to live their most magical lives, sharing the power of natural ingredients and crystals with others.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

In my late 20’s I actually developed debilitating autoimmune issues, to the point where I could barely walk or use my hands at all.

I quickly discovered that my lifestyle played a huge role in my health and I worked super hard to make the changes necessary to overcome not only my symptoms of RA, but also years of PCOS and fertility struggles.

As an aesthetician of 14 years, I KNEW there had to be a way to make effective products that didn’t contain hormone disruptors, artificial fragrances, or toxic ingredients. That’s really where Apothecary Co. was born.

My hope in creating Apothecary Co. is that our products will allow people to avoid the compromise between health and beauty. We all truly can have both and feel good about what we are using!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Well, as we all know, COVID-19 was quite a curveball, to put it mildly. I kept thinking about coming out with hand sanitizer in 2020, but it was so hard to find supplies. Finally, three months into the madness, I was able to find everything in stock but I was super hesitant to come out with a hand sanitizer. It seemed like there were so many on the market that it was way too late already. I figured, if nothing else, since it was an alcohol base, it would last for so long that we could make a small batch and use it in our home if nobody was interested in purchasing it. It turns out, it wasn’t too late at all. We spent the next several months bottling and labeling hand sanitizer almost every day to keep up with demand. That was certainly a new direction in our business that I hadn’t seen coming.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is so embarrassing, but I’m going to share it anyway! I got an email from someone claiming to be from French Vogue that wanted to feature our products in an upcoming issue. I laughed and deleted the email, thinking it was surely spam. To put it in context, we were getting a lot of bogus requests at the time for free products.

Anyway, she sent me two more emails and somehow, I finally realized it was legitimate after all! It seems so ridiculous now, but it was just such a dream magazine for me that I couldn’t fathom it could be real. Luckily, the editor was persistent and I ended up sending them products for testing which were featured in an issue of the magazine. It’s still one of my all-time favorite features to date.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by entrepreneurs. My Mom opened a quilt shop when I was a toddler, and I grew up playing under the quilt racks, hiding under the quilts as she was helping customers. After working in the corporate world for most of his life, my father started his own business as well when I was just starting high school. So, I think watching them navigate business ownership at those impressionable times in my life really let me know that it was possible for me too.

Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

There are so many variables from societal expectations of women to lack of available funding. In my own experience of speaking with women, I think the most common obstacle is a person’s own belief system. As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to see business ownership modeled for me growing up, so (very naively) I just always assumed that it was possible.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, or as a society, to help overcome those obstacles?

I think it’s really important for women who own businesses to show that they are real people, with real struggles to be that expander for others who might dream of starting their own business but are hesitant.

I’ve never met a business owner that was totally confident in what they were doing at all times. I think we all just kind of figure out a solution to each new problem every day, learning as we go and knowing that things will never be perfect.

Letting go of that expectation that you have to know exactly what you’re doing and things have to be perfect before you can start something is the only way to make any progress. If we know that it’s ok to be a beginner because we all start somewhere, then it becomes less scary to start a business. If you fail, so what, most businesses do!

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women are infinitely intuitive which is such a secret weapon in business. That aspect alone makes women so amazingly equipped to become founders. Whether it’s being able to effectively communicate with team members, having a high level of emotional intelligence, or anticipating the future needs of the business, there are just so many aspects of intuition that really provide women with such a superpower.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

I think many people (myself included) want to own our own companies so that we can have more flexibility with our time. In reality, you end up running a company 24/7 and even if you have a team, there will always be certain things that only you can do.

If someone isn’t getting paid that month, the founder’s check is always the first to go. So, there’s always risk involved, especially financially. It takes a lot of emotional stamina, there are new problems each day and many sleepless nights. There is a constant need to stay ahead, to stay educated, to plan months in advance. I am always listening to podcasts, taking online classes, and reading books.

Owning a company gets a very glamorous reputation, but there’s always the other side of that coin that isn’t addressed as often. It can be a total emotional and financial rollercoaster. I don’t say that to discourage anyone, but I think the most common misconception is just that it’s so amazing to own a company 100% of the time. It is great! Don’t get me wrong. But it’s also a lot of blood, sweat, and tears with a lot of sacrifices that may never be visible to the outside world.

All of that being said, the rewards do make it completely worth it, and being a founder of my company is one of the things that I am the most thankful for in my life. I truly look forward to waking up and working every single day because it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

I think it’s a misconception that everyone should own a business. I truly believe that if it’s in someone’s heart to do it, that they should. They should never let fear stop them from pursuing a dream.

But at the same time, I don’t think everyone should feel the pressure to start their own venture. There are a lot of people that love the security of having a guaranteed paycheck every month, reliable healthcare, vacation days, and knowing what to expect every day when they walk into work.

When you own a business, you can’t normally just clock out for the day and not have to think about it until the following day. You may not be able to pay yourself for years. When I started my first business in 2009 I had to work as a Brazilian waxer to pay the bills while I worked on the business every other waking second. I didn’t have healthcare or vacation or regular paychecks for a few years. It’s definitely a completely different lifestyle.

So, to answer the question, I think the main trait that increases the likelihood of success is that you have to have unflinching determination. You have to want it in your soul. You have to be willing to keep putting in the work even when it seems like there is zero reward because you have to believe in yourself enough to know that the rewards will come eventually. You have to be willing to go all-in and bet on yourself knowing that the payout will be much higher when you succeed.

Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need to Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?”

I don’t know if these will apply to everyone, but I can share what have been the most important things for me in my journey.

Determination. I mentioned this before, but this has been the most important piece for me. There have been so many times that I wanted to give up and if I had thrown in the towel on those days, I wouldn’t still be here. I had to rely on sheer determination to get me through.

Staying educated is another piece of the puzzle. There are new companies being started every day and remaining competitive is important. So, getting in education wherever I can has been key for me, whether that be from podcasts, books, or online classes.

Flexibility is so important. Things rarely seem to go as planned and there are new challenges every day. Staying flexible and being able to problem solve on the fly is something that I am definitely working on, but that is very important in my daily life.

Creativity keeps me going and as an added benefit, it also happens to help my business stand out from the crowd. Being able to be creative, playing with essential oils, dreaming up new product ideas, it’s my true love. I think staying creative is what gives me the energy to work on all other aspects of the business as well. I learned several years ago that staying creative is the best antidote for preventing burnout, so I try to have a creative outlet at all times. I am very lucky that my job doubles as a creative outlet for me because it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Mindset Work. It sounds so boring, but I really believe that mindset is so important and it’s an ongoing process. Just when I think I have overcome certain beliefs, I realize that I have different limiting beliefs that are creeping back in and I have to do the work and stay on top of those shifts every day.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I’m sure that we are all confronted every day with the reality of a changing world and the desire to make it a better place for future generations.

That’s really what inspired me to partner with an amazing organization, Operation Underground Railroad, whose mission is to pave the way for the permanent eradication of child sex trafficking.

While this cause has always been important to me, being a new mom, it seems more important than ever. We’ve recently launched a new lip shine that will directly benefit this cause on an ongoing basis in addition to a portion of our proceeds each quarter being donated to various charities.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’m really passionate about ending human trafficking and although making donations may seem like a small contribution, I do believe that every little bit counts. People can read more about it and donate directly to ourrescue.org if they feel called to help with that cause.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them!

There are so many women founders that I admire that I would LOVE to be able to chat with someday. Joanna Gaines, Gwenyth Paltrow, Erin Benzakein, and Jamie Kern Lima are a few that I really admire for their innovation. And of course, meeting Oprah someday would be the ultimate dream. That reminds me, I need to add this to my vision board this year!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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