5 Tips For Budding Entrepreneurs From Island Naturals Founder Lindsay Allen
Almost 10 years later, Island Naturals has grown to feature three retail stores and an award-winning cafe serving balanced vegetarian and vegan dishes.
With plans already in place for further expansion in the New Year, Lindsay sat down to share her journey and offer advice to budding entrepreneurs.
What was the original idea for Island Naturals, and where did it come from?
The idea for Island Naturals came from my own struggle to find products locally that would support a healthy, chemical-free lifestyle.
Back then, when I went off the island, I would fill my suitcase with my favourite natural and organic products.
So, Island Naturals really came from this need to make it easier for my community to take charge of their own health and wellness.
My focus wasn't on the money. I just wanted to offer the products I loved so much to people in the community.
How has Island Naturals expanded since that original idea? Was this the plan, or did the business naturally develop over time?
Looking back now, I didn't really have a plan.
During those first few years of Island Naturals, I worked as a bartender full-time. I would take my tips to make sure my staff were paid, buy new kitchen equipment, and whatever was needed to help grow the business.
I slowly expanded over the years, doing what I could with the resources I had and building the brand into what it is today.
It wasn't the easiest process. But I've gained a lot of life experience along the way.
The past 10 years have shown me that you can make things happen with passion, determination, and hard work.
What does the future of Islands Naturals hold?
I am so proud of the team for accomplishing what we have done over the last 10 years. And with this team behind me, I see much more potential for the brand.
At the heart of Island Naturals' future is our community.
We are constantly reevaluating and improving the products and services that we offer. This includes an upcoming move that will expand our square footage and make us more accessible to our community.
As a team, we are also considering how we can better engage with our community through charity partnerships and volunteering opportunities.
How has the community supported your vision for Island Naturals?
Our community has been incredibly supportive of Island Naturals throughout our journey.
They supported us from the beginning when we didn't know if we would succeed and through our growth, which wasn't always glamorous.
More recently, during Covid, our community continued to place their food and supplement delivery orders, which allowed us to make it to the other side of the pandemic.
Seeing how much the community loves our brand and the products we offer keeps me going in challenging and stressful times.
I will always be grateful that people are as passionate about natural wellness and Island Naturals as I am.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
- Don't quit your day job right away. A steady income is essential to help build the company and relieve a lot of initial financial stress from launching a startup.
- Evaluate the level of risk you can take. This will vary based on age, financial position, support system, etc. but be honest with what you can take.
- Be prepared to get your hands dirty. It takes hard work and commitment, and making sacrifices early on is part of the journey.
- Know when to hire people to support you and lean on your team. As an Entrepreneur, it can be hard to let go when you've had to do everything yourself, but you can't grow without the support and expertise of others.
- Don't sacrifice your well-being along the way. I had to learn this the hard way. As they say, you can't run on an empty tank. Say no, set boundaries, and ensure your wellness and mental health are a priority.
Stay updated with Island Naturals by following them on Facebook (Cafe & Retail), Instagram (Cafe & Retail) and TikTok(Cafe & Retail).