Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Shoestring Startup Making TCM Trendy

TCM stands for Traditional Chinese Medicine. I launched my TCM company, Pac Herbs, in March of 2009 with an idea, but no product. In October 2009, I received my first product delivery and Pac Herbs has been growing ever since. We are an herbal supplement company unlike most on the market today. Our products are different from others because they are herbal supplements in packets, (think Emergen-C) to be mixed in water and drink as a tea. No pill, no capsules, no tablets, just packets of herbs. We prefer the packet technology because it avoids the use of fillers, de-clumping agents, colorings, stabilizers, binders, lubricants and other additives that have no health benefits. In fact, those chemicals sound like something you would buy for your car, not your body.

We think it’s a good idea to put herbs in air tight, water tight packets without oxygen and moisture. Packets keep our herbs fresh as the day they were cooked and dried. Just dissolve in a cup of water and you’ve got a freshly cooked pot of herbs. An additional bonus is the fact that pure, dried, concentrated herbal extracts are ready to be absorbed when you drink it as a tea. This makes the active chemical constituents more bio-available to the body, no waiting for capsules or tablets to dissolve. Refreshing!

The popularity of packets is growing because they are infinitely better than the current packaging and delivery system of capsules and tablets. This technology has been used in Asia for nearly 10 years but had not made it international until large scale, high tech pharmaceutical factories could be built. We have an exclusive contract with one of the largest producers of Chinese herbs and now the world is our oyster.

I know your next question is, “What’s in our PACkets that can help you?” Our first two products are iSleep Herb Pac and PMS Relief Herb Pac. iSleep is a formula of Chinese herbs used for centuries to help relax the body and calm the mind and help those who suffer from ‘occasional’ insomnia. These herbal formulas were all the rage in AD 200 when the first Emperor of China began using them. Documented use has been continued ever since. Chinese herbs are very different than Western herbs because they are always used in specific combinations. They just work better together… like peanut butter and jelly. Asian cultures mastered the botanical world over the past 2000 years. Hundreds of books and manuscripts tell us which plants can help us and what combinations or formulas of plants are best used together. Our products, PMS Relief and iSleep, are not new formulations. They are based on the ancient TCM knowledge past down, studied and relied upon for generations.

Our PMS Relief works fast to relieve menstrual cramp pain and all the symptoms women dread monthly. Women love the convenience factor and can easily carry a packet in their purse, to drink whenever they feel moody or crampy.

We started with these two products because they both work fast and taste good. I think this is one thing we did right. I’m pleased with the market we are capturing with these products. If you’ve ever had Chinese herbs cooked from raw, you probably experienced some taste or smell sensation that was not necessarily pleasing. Many of the cold and flu Chinese herb formulations work great, but just don’t taste that great, especially to Americans who prefer sweet and salty to sour and bitter. So our strategy was correct. Our iSleep taste great and PMS Relief has no objectionable taste. Both have been great products to start the Pac Herbs line.

We have about 10 products that would be easy sellers in the American market. Our third product is coming out Fall 2010 and it’s called Menopause Relief. The other possible products will be introduced when we have enough capital to bring them to market because we are still currently in the red. But money is tied up in product and sales are looking brighter but not yet covering all the capital expenditures.

In the 18 months since I launched this idea, I have re-built the Pac Herbs website three times. The first version nearly killed me. After a whole lot of money and a whole lot of time I learned from a computer SEO expert that I could never climb the google ladder with that first website. The company hosting it, who also built it did not use html language correctly or something in computer gibberish talk and it was simply a waste of time to keep it active because search engines would never find it. This was probably some of the hardest advice to hear, but definitely the advice I needed to hear at the time. So, I went back to the drawing board. I learned about SEO, HTML and web designing that I had absolutely no interest in learning and started over. The second website was a better attempt but needed a fresher look after a few months and a little different design direction, so I rebuilt again. The current website will always need work, but I’m fairly satisfied with its design, direction, ease of use and more importantly it’s ranking on google continues to grow.

I work with several independent contractors and have one part-time staffer for the office. My independent staff includes my computer programmers, and SEO company, a couple sales representatives and two different PR people. I truly would be lost without each of these experts. They all contribute vitally essential pieces to my operation that I depend on daily. At one point I hired a writer to help me with articles for magazines and the website blog. This worked out for a month or two until my part-time writer got a full time gig. At first I was really disappointed but I’ve learned to streamline my blog posts so writing is not as time consuming. I also use guest bloggers from time to time and this fills the gaps when I’m simply too busy to post a new article.

At this point, I think what would make my business more successful is having a celeb endorsement, or a great write-up in a huge magazine, or 10 celeb endorsements and 10 different write-ups. Our iSleep is a favorite for the over 40 work-a-holic types, or anyone who’s just a bit stressed from the economy or just life in general. It really appeals to a wide audience because even the 20-30 age group also seem to need help sleeping from time to time. Finding a Celeb shouldn’t be that difficult. Getting the right publicity seems to be the magic wand that moves sales from dismal to phenomenal.

If I was to give any advice to budding entrepreneurs it is to be totally 100% committed to your end goal. That means having a realistic game plan for the first year or two to get if off the ground. You can’t build a business in a day or a few weeks, and if you are not committed you won’t have the patience to see it develop and grow to a viable business.

My end goal is pretty basic, to help people live healthier lives. Helping people avoid unnecessary prescription drugs is one part of the goal. Helping people get a good night’s sleep so they can restore their natural energy is another. Helping women deal with menstrual pain naturally another part of the same overall goal. Helping women cope with hot flashes and menopause without dangerous hormone therapies is yet another branch and our future products for anxiety, stress and energy all have the same theme.

Asian cultures have been using this medicine for generations, it’s time Americans and the rest of the world begin to experience the same benefits. When I hear the testimonials and feedback from people who have used the Pac Herbs products, I am inspired to continue pursuing this goal. Botanical medicine is nature’s gift to us. We should use it wisely and be well.

Cathy Margolin L.Ac, Dipl. OM
Pac Herbs
1171 S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Phone: 877-818-9990


Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Shoestring Book Reviews

Shoestring Venture Reviews
Richard Hooker on Jim Blasingame

Shoestring Fans and Followers



Business Book: How to Start a Business

Shoestring Book

Shoestring Venture in iTunes Store

Shoestring Venture - Steve Monas & Richard Hooker

Shoestring Kindle Version # 1 for e-Commerce, # 1 for Small Business, # 1 for Startup 99 cents

Business Book – Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible

Shoestring Book Reviews

Shoestring Venture Reviews

Invesp landing page optimization
Powered By Invesp
Wikio - Top Blogs - Business