We speak with Yemi Awopetu, co-founder of Herby Box, to learn about the herbolution, what drew him to the food and drink industry, the trials and triumphs of being an entrepreneur and his advice for the next generation.
Give us your elevator pitch.
We create herbal blends that are personalised to specific health and wellbeing goals. From boosting your immune system to improving brain health, we make it simple and easy for you to do so naturally.
We’re changing the way in which the world views natural wellness and how it can be incorporated into everyday life.
Has the healing power of herbs always been part of your life or something you discovered as an adult?
It’s a bit of both.
My dad is a self trained herbalist, and growing up he would always give me and my siblings all these different concoctions when we weren't feeling very well.
At the time, I didn't pay much attention to it and didn’t even know what a herbalist was. As I got older, I began looking for alternatives to coffee, natural solutions that can help improve my energy levels.
That’s when I rediscovered the world of herbs and started learning more for myself. I remember telling my dad about my discovery, and he just looked at me and said “Finally!”
Was starting a business on your radar growing up, or has it taken you by surprise?
Starting a business has always been something I’ve had the aspiration of doing from a very young age.
My first business was in secondary school where I’d sell cookies, doughnuts, simcards and even mixtape CDs. I loved the freedom it gave, as well as the opportunity to speak to people and be yourself without having to fit a particular mould.
Since then I’ve founded an events business, a personal finance consultancy and co-founded a SME lending business.
What draws you to working in the food and drink industry?
Wanting to make a difference and educate people about the health benefits of a vast array of plants with medicinal properties. I don’t really see us as
being in the “food and drink” industry per se, but more so following our passion in helping people live a healthier and more fulfilled life.
Herby Box is part of Selfridge’s Project Earth range. How did your partnership start and what does it mean to the business?
Being partnered with Selfridges as our first retail partner has been amazing. From day 1 they have been supportive and helped get us ready to launch and grow in store. Because of that we were able to sell out within 24 hours of our initial launch. It truly means a lot to us and has helped showcase our ambition and what we aspire to achieve as a business.
Can you tell us about any other highlights from Herby Box’s journey?
I guess launching our first ‘Herby Week’ which was a week of online events around health, herbs, fitness and food over the summer. It was our way to engage with our community of customers and demonstrate the health benefits of herbs, and Herby Box. Another that springs to mind is when we made our first sale or when we received our first Trust Pilot review.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
One of the main challenges we faced this year was the disruption of supply chains. As a result we had to find second and third choice suppliers just in case.
Where do you see Herby Box in five years’ time?
Our footprint has gone global as well as having our own store for in-person experiences. We will also have a full suite of different herbal products to solve personalised health goals, and be a leader in the conversation/research of herbal remedies.
Do you have any other advice for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea, get started and test it out to see if you can get customers and if it's something people want. There's no such thing as perfect timing and will always be an excuse not to start. Think about what you can do to test it on a low budget.
Free-from, with love x