Entrepreneur Spotlight: Pat Ward and Anne Billing
Our entrepreneurs in this month’s spotlight are the self-dubbed purists Pat Ward and Anne Billing of Happy Horizons, the all-natural health and body products business.
Happy Horizon’s story begins over 10 years ago, when Pat found herself in the personal care products space after her health took a dive. Part of her journey back to wellness was investigating the products she was using.
With her science background, Pat was able to read the studies and evaluate the data, helping her gain an awareness of the inadequate regulations around toxicity and toxic products.
“I had thought that there were safety regulations in place and that someone was concerned about the consumer. I discovered that this wasn’t the case, especially with products that you put on your skin. The more I learnt, the harder it was to find products I felt I could use, so I decided to make my own.”
Pat wanted to share her products with others so started attending the local markets. Evolving from the first market, where she had a few bottles with no labels, Happy Horizons now has a loyal and growing following of like-minded people.
Although not part of the initial stages of Happy Horizons, Anne has been making her own health and body products for most of her adult life, using the herbs she grows herself.
18 months ago, Pat and Anne decided to join forces, adding Anne’s strength in growing nutrition-dense food and herbs in her permaculture garden to the team.
“We thought it would be really good to team up. Pat’s science knowledge and patience combined with my plants has created something far far superior to anything I have ever made,” shared Anne.
In order to serve their out of town customers, Happy Horizons set up a basic website for online orders.
“I’ve always known that our website was one of our weaknesses. It looked clunky, the pictures weren’t professional and you really had to want to use it. When Covid hit last year, it really brought home that upgrading our online presence needed to be a priority,” said Pat.
However, Pat and Anne’s shoestring budget meant they didn’t have the time or money needed to make the necessary upgrades. Luckily, they qualified for 10 hours of digital expertise to help develop their online strategy thanks to government funding.
Choosing to work with Zeald, Happy Horizon got a website upgrade for free, improving their ability to serve their customers (whether in lockdown or not).
“Our website makes it easier for people to find us, read our story and purchase our products. It’s also somewhere we can educate people about the bigger issues on a larger scale,” said Pat.
For Pat and Anne, education and giving back to the community are core values of their business. Recently, this looked like adopting an orangutan, Happi, to help efforts against the palm oil industry.
Heavily involved in their community in Katikati, Anne’s path crossed with Venture Centre when she participated in our Digital Navigation session.
“We were in the early stages of digital marketing, so I found my session very helpful. Craig helped me verify our business on Google which we’d had been having difficulty with,” said Anne.
Having made great progress in establishing and nurturing their online presence, Happy Horizons' next aspiration is creating a range of health related products made from the herbs they grow, harvest and process themselves.
“We are excited to develop products that give people the opportunity to be proactive in their health instead of reactive to their sickness.”
The Venture Centre team love that being digitally established enables Pat and Anne to focus on doing good and giving back.
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