Your Cart

Navigating The Red Tape that Strangles Herbal Small Business

Navigating the sometimes broken components of our system

Those of you who know me, and are well connected to my life are aware of the last 10 weeks. My sincere apologies to those of you who are loyal friends, readers, and clients who have wondered of my hiadas from writing, and offering herbal extracts at our local Cody Farmer’s Market. Navigating through our broken State and Federal System has taken up the entirety of my energies.

As I continue to move Enchantment Creek Apothecary forward. State officials are calling me a ‘ground breaker’ They congratulate me on ‘doing something new’. But is this actually true? How many Herbalists seek out being a working Herbalist? What about Farmers? Aren’t there loads of us who have interest in the plants we grow? Don’t we want to see our Farms Diverse and Sustainable? I just haven’t been able to grasp that what I am doing is something so unique that siphoning through the mud of legalities, and understanding of those legalities be such a slow and painful process.

The light of my Herbal Business has faded to a flicker in the distance. To only then re-emerge in a brilliance that is now so glorious I am drinking it in. It is filling me with an immense gratitude, not only for the past 10 weeks of sludge, but for the 13 years of practice in Herbal Medicine that is behind me. Once again life reaffirms that the darkness is the balance of light. This making one not appreciated without the experience of the other.

What IS the Story…?

I am choosing not to focus on who the person was that turned me in. Or what their reasoning may have been. Nor am I continuing to question why the state does not have certain practices in place? Ones to assist businesses like mine coming to full fruition. It was essential to know that spending precious resources on worrying, and fretting over these details and more would not serve me well. All of this made the next steps clear. That I had to do what I don’t always do best… So, I put on my Business Woman Hat, full of analytics, straight lines, debating skills, and speaking the language of bureaucracy.

It’s an uncomfortable hat to wear for most of us Herbalists. We are nature gods and goddesses. Because we are those fluid humans. The lines we walk are uniquely ours. These kinds of lines are zig-zagged and don’t fit into the straight box of society. But we walk them with our heads high. Knowing all the while that the path we are one is correct for our life.

‘Not all who wander are lost…”

J.R.R. Tolkien

So I continued to walk it. Though this straight line in my usual curve was cramping my style a bit… well… a lot. I did it. And now, on the other side, mostly any way, it was all worth it. That straight line led to many uncomfortable components. Each email I read that made my heart sink to the floor. (usually, I found my body on the floor, with big fat tears sobbing from my eyes…) All of this terribly gut wrenching experiences led me to today.

In The End…

That shadow that was looming over my hopes and dreams for the future. Is now in it’s own shadow. I have landed with my feet strongly on the ground. The who, what, and why questions are no longer an issue. Confidance is in the place of dispair. Along with faith leading the way. Since this experience, I know that having faith, and hope for your future are energies that hold extreme power.

I want to see the future of Herbalism be strong. Full of faith and hope. We are here to provide a re-connect to nature for all humankind. This is why our path is so strong, even in the face of adversity. As a whole, we will change the future of modern medicine. This truth, is one I have FULL faith in. The curvy lines of Herbalists will wind into a ball so large, dense and powerful. Together it will be an unstoppable force.

Weaving the web of curvy lines and free thinkers is the next phase of my plan…

I want to help as I am able to in bringing all of our dreams, visions, and paths to fruition. Maybe you want to make skin care, or tinctures, or farm. Are you are harvester of the wild medicines? Where are you facing adversity from these passions? Each of these components of herbalism seem to be ones that are hard to tackle. So I wanted to start here with a few keys to you starting there…


This may seem easily achieved. But truly it is a place where a lot of start ups struggle. Diversity is key, but precise co-mingling of your aspects of diversity will create a flow of your business that is unstoppable. Questions like the following are the most important to answer if you are starting up a business.

  • Who am I selling to?
  • Is the offering I am selling something I know in and out?
  • Is my business set up properly in my State
  • Do I have a Marketing Plan
  • Do I have a quarterly budget set, or do I have my funding budgeted correctly?
  • What are my top 5 goals for my business over the next year, 2 years, and 5 years.

It is always easier said than done. Going through these questions, writing them down and getting to the root of your goals will take you to a successful business model. It is not as easy to just look at something. Say you want to do it, and bam! Your’e successful!

Any business takes time, and immense dedication. Even when you are not turning a profit, which you most likely won’t in the beginning. You need to be able to keep moving forward. Knowing that you are moving along with your goals each month and year to keep your momentum going.

KNOW the Federal & State Regulations For Herbalists

The plain truth about our line of work is that we aren’t regulated by the Feds or the State. But at the same time we are HEAVILY regulated by them. True that we don’t have Federal or State Licensing for Herbalists. True that there are MANY laws and regulations at a Federal and State Level. False that your State enforcement agency always knows the correct path to your business being in compliance.

The moral of this story is to know the Federal Regulations, and Current Good Manufacturing Processes, AND how your individual state enforces these laws. Be prepared that your State Representative may not know that they don’t know the laws either. It is OUR job to know these laws backwards and forwards to protect ourselves. It is their job to make sure that you know and are in compliance.

If dedication to achieving the first few questions was a struggle… this will be a big one. There are over 500 pages of Federal Regulations, and many more for your State. Some states require a Liquor License to operate a tincture manufacturing business. Most require a Commercial Kitchen to stay in compliance.

I recommend reaching out to your Consumer Health Services department in your state. Dietary Supplements, and Cosmetics are generally under the cGMP regulations and MOST states operate as this as their guidelines. Be friendly, and obliging. Explain more than you think you need to so that they are sure to understand what information you are seeking. Question them and stand up for your-self. In other words… KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

Remember… Success is NEVER an accident

When it starts to trickle in… the joy is overwhelming

This is the ultimate truth of your process as a business owner, entrepreneur and navigator of the new ideas. You are forging a path, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are people who have come before you and who will follow your lead. No matter where you are in the process of launching your business. What matters is your perseverance, dedication and ultimate LOVE of what you do.

There will be scary times. Eng-raging conversations with people you have to keep your cool with. Sleepless nights due to worry, AND excitement! Business life is a roller-coaster ride that you know one day will become more level, and less weightless ups and downs. What it takes to get there, is to keep on going.

As you go through this journey, remember your meditation practice. Read and listen to people who inspire you. Stay balanced, and when you feel like you need a break, TAKE one. Nourish your body, and when all else fails, a little crying session never hurt any one. If you are COMPLETELY dedicated and saturated with the business path you are going towards now. I urge you to take the risk! Run with the fear that holds you back. The end result will be more than worth it. I promise.