Our latest Wow Woman is Sarah Orecchia founder of Unbeelievable Health. Unbeelievable Health produces natural plant based supplements which are sold in over 1000 health stores in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere. A life long health nut, Sarah created her natural supplement business with the help of nutritionists and industry experts, and launched the brand in the UK in 2010. The products have since won 10 awards and we think they are AMAZING! We sat down with Sarah as she talks all things health, wellness and why protecting the bees is so important.
What is your earliest ‘wellness’ memory?
I was a very picky eater as a child and teenager. I grew up in the deep south of America and so fried items, biscuits and corn syrup laden pecan pie were second nature to me. I discovered salad at university and at last awoke from my junk food haze and became obsessed with healthy eating and how great it can make you feel.
What was your dream job when you were younger? Did you ever think you would start your own business?
I’ve had a number of businesses and careers over the years and have done much of what I always wanted to do workwise. Starting a brand of natural, targeted supplements was something I dreamed about from my teens oddly. My father was also obsessed with natural health, supplements and herbal remedies and kept stacks of books and studies around like other fathers had golf or sports mags! The more I read about healthy living the more I became intrigued. My first business plan was healthy waters flavoured with juices with added nutrients to target specific issues. Alas, as a 21 year old, with no business experience, I could not raise the capital. People thought it would be impossible for anyone to pay much for ‘vitamin water’. Well, they were wrong!
Why did you start ‘Unbeelievable health’?
I used to fall ill a great deal traveling back and forth between London and the US and after seeking advice from nutritionists about what to take to boost immunity, I sort of happened upon a few ingredients that combined, resulted in my health improving substantially. One of the ingredients was bee propolis (nature’s antibiotic & antiviral), and as I discovered the amazing properties of the various substances bees produce, I decided to build a brand based on health from the hive, combining nutrients with bee products to target specific health issues.
What was the moment you decided to take the leap into starting your own business?
I started by doing research on what was in the marketplace that was similar and I discovered there wasn’t much. We did mock up boxes and formulas and then did some market research and got great feedback. I was still quite nervous, but started going to seminars and classes at the British Library’s Business & IP Centre (it’s an amazing source for entrepreneurs) and they also set me up with some mentors. It was hugely helpful in gaining clarity and direction then I was on my way!
Why do you think you are different to the other brands out there?
I feel our supplements are different as we create targeted combinations of non synthetic, free-from, natural nutrients, all of which have a proven history of benefits, YET, are not usually found in a regular diet or multivitamin. Not something you often see. Many ingredients lists have the usual lineup of vitamins and minerals that one can get through healthy eating anyway and some, which have more specialized ingredients, often do not use therapeutic amounts. We had a lot of help when creating the formulas and decided to go for fewer ingredients (all with great pedigrees and studies behind them), in higher concentrations.
How do you ensure you always stay true to your core?
We are a values led business dedicated to quality – in our products, in the way we treat the people we work with, and in our respect for the environment, which is why donating to bee causes is important to us. We also manufacture in the UK and source most of our ingredients in the UK or EU.
Tell us more about the bees? Why are they so important and how do you support them?
Along with pollinating 1/3 of all we eat, it’s thanks to bees that we can enjoy coffee, chocolate and coffee! Bees are crucial to humans but they have been on the decline for a number of reasons including pesticide use, lack of food to forage upon due to intensive farming and loss of habitat as well as the fact that the number of beekeepers over the last 50 years has been on the decline. Honeybee colonies depend on beekeepers to survive and thrive. Beekeepers are crucial to the growth of honeybee colonies. Bees produce an abundance of honey, propolis and bee pollen and buying these items from sustainable sources and responsible, ethical brands creates demand, encouraging more people to keep bees, which ultimately, helps honeybee colonies survive, expand and prosper.
Which is your favorite Unbeelievable Health product and why?
I like them all, but I must admit I often forget to take supplements on a daily basis, so I’d say I’m a bit partial to the Bee Prepared immune formula max, especially when I feel an illness coming on, if you catch it early enough and pop a few capsules for a couple of days, I find I often avoid getting ill.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
That I am constantly learning. My job is always changing as I’m doing so many things. It gets tiring, but never boring!
How do you stay motivated to keep going?
I have bags of energy and think about how far I’ve come, not how far I have to go.
How do you avoid quitting when things get tough?
I remember the quote: When everything seems like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top!
What are the secrets to running a successful business?
Staying organized, building good relationships and having someone great to help with the operational and financial side of things.
What would you say to young women who want to start their own business?
Do your research, ensure you have some savings, and always remember it takes far longer to get things going than you ever think!
What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
One was soon after launch when we received a batch of 5000 boxes of supplements and after running an analysis, we discovered that one of the key ingredients had been mysteriously left out which meant recalling them and having them redone meaning we had no stock to supply stores for a while. We changed manufacturers after that! As far as overcoming challenges in general, being one to not take no for an answer has been my savior. Grit and tenacity are crucial to being an entrepreneur.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
My father was also an entrepreneur and always told me to ask for help from people who know the ropes or have been successful in one’s own field. Often people find it flattering to be asked for advice and will happily help. My advice for anyone wanting to start a business would be to read books and articles by others who have done similar things to what you may be interested in doing. I used to go to lots of events and lectures by well known entrepreneurs and business people – but reading can be just as effective.
Everyone practices yoga/Pilates for different reasons. When did you start and why?
I became interested in yoga and pilates a few years ago. I don’t have a lot of time and find that both give great results and are also fantastic at helping you unwind, relax and switch off.
Favourite yoga/pilates pose and why?
The Tree pose. It’s grounding and great for balance and also brings a sense of gratitude.
Mindfulness or Meditation?
What do you do in your downtime?
Spend time with my family, read and cook.
Where do you go to ground yourself?
I get out in nature.
What are your favourite London hotspots?
I love just walking around anywhere in central London, especially the parks and gardens. Columbia Road flower market is one of my fave spots, and as far as food goes, I’m currently loving Taqueria in Notting Hill. Sally Clarke’s shop in Kensington is also a staple.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Wherever my family is!
City life or country living?
City life but I adore forays to the country.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Good books, good food, good company.
What is your quote of the day every day?
Take control your own destiny or someone else will.
What is your single piece of advice to the next generation of women?
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right!
Who is your ‘Wow Woman’?
I’d have to say Amelia Earhart. She was the first cousin of my husband’s grandfather and was such a determined and fearless woman, so ahead of her time, a huge inspiration.
If you could only live in one item of Asquith clothing what would it be?
The jumpsuit! It’s a wonderful piece that can take you through the whole day and into the night and is so comfortable, you might want to sleep in it too.