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Planting Seeds of Consistency and Quality with Eclectic Herb | EP. #133

May 15, 2024 | Author: Andrew Maff

















In today’s digital world consumers already know what they want, but how do they measure companies against each other? One word- quality. On this 133rd episode of the E-Comm Show, Andrew Maff interviews Christine Alstat, founder of Eclectic Herb. From innovative technologies such as freeze drying, Eclectic Herb separates itself in it’s quality and commitment to consistency.


From balancing live and digital channels to educating customers without stepping out of regulatory boundaries, Eclectic Herb practices attention to detail in everything it does.  This commitment to staying consistent and detail-oriented has allowed Eclectic Herb to stand out and create a lasting impression with its customers. For those looking to build a strong relationship with your customers through consistency and quality, this episode is for you

Watch the full episode below, or visit TheEcommShow.com for more.


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 Planting Seeds of Consistency and Quality with Eclectic Herb


Andrew Maff and Christine Alstat

CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com  |  Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff 



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Christine Alstat


Meet Christine Alstat, an internationally acclaimed naturopath and herbalist of Japanese heritage, whose profound expertise in plants and natural health has garnered recognition worldwide. As the dedicated CEO and owner of Eclectic Herb, Christine seamlessly intertwines her deep-rooted commitment to health with her business, cultivating a space where her passion for plants is ever in full bloom. Her influential voice on herbal wisdom resonates across the globe through publications and panels, reflecting a lifetime commitment to nurturing both the plant kingdom and the earth. Beyond her thriving professional life, Christine finds joy in the simple pleasures of hobbies. Whether she's spending time with her family, gathering herbs throughout the seasons, or concocting remedies in her home apothecary, Christine Alstat embodies a harmonious blend of nature, health, and the spiritual bonds that tie us all together.


People are more interested in helping themselves so interested in diet exercise and taking the supplements to stay healthy



Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff, as always, and today I'm joined by the amazing Christine Alstat, who is the CEO of Eclectic Herb Christing, how are you doing? Ready for good show? Right? Yes, super excited to be here. Super happy to have you on the show. I am really excited about this one. I know like a little bit about the space. My wife is like, really into this. So I'm getting there. I'm a novice, but I'm slowly kind of getting a little bit more into intermediate level. But I'd love to give you the opportunity, as always kind of let everyone give a little bit of insight into you know, your background where you're at where you've been, obviously more about eclectic, urban, we're going to take it from there. Okay. All right. So I'll start with the company. So we're collecting her based in Portland, Oregon. And we started in the country's oldest naturopathic school by two naturopathic physicians. And I'm also an expert myself. And what we do is we go out to the wild and we collect all these amazing herbs. We're so gross, I'm organically certified organic farm anyway, freeze dried them in house. And what I love about my business is doing something good, completely sustainable for Australians, like very earth friendly method to dry herbs. And we just basically go out there and get people well, how I came into this, I've always said, I've got an accent. So I'm from New Zealand. half Japanese never thought I would end up owning a home company like this, but I met my late husband in Tokyo, but it's been expensively connected right away, and came over here started getting involved in the business. And then six years ago, he died in a car accident. And overnight, I became the owner of eclectic. So it was a pretty quick learning curve. And I had to step up and take the company on. And I what I really love about it is on a grand scale tip. I think it's the best thing about it. Wow, that's a I'm obviously very sorry to hear that. But at the same time, you're here now. So and obviously eclectic group doing very well so you've taken it on just fine so it seems so love the idea. Obviously I was doing a lot of digging, kind of getting to know the brand and everything for the show because that's how these things work. You are selling in many different places I saw you obviously have your own website. You're also on Amazon is there anywhere else that you're currently selling the product?



And we're on Iron Vitacost rose International, obviously pretty big in Japan, some other countries as well. So I've been in business for a long time 44 years. So we started Yeah, so how we started with because we're in the next pethick college I mean the two physicians that started the company we started as the brand for the nature pets that have graduated from the school. So we had the school endorsement and in about five years after we started we got out into the health food stores and back then the industry was really different than also little mom and pop health food stores. It was the E commerce obviously and a lot of it was word of mouth so we had sales reps that were gone to the stores these other products and found great it was and and then ecommerce kind of long and then we we transition according to Amazon if possible. They're the ones that switch so now we're bigger as a helpful brain. marrows. adopter brand.



Yeah. So you've you've kind of positioned into more of like a health food as opposed to a doctor. So you're saying,



Yeah, we're more consumer so we can sell direct to consumers, so they can buy products rather than having to go through a doctor. Anyone?



Nice. Is that what's that level of education? Like? It's kind of like I mentioned, like, my wife's really into stuff and I'm trying to get there. So she's educating me. But like, how are you? What's the marketing approach? Because I know there's some people who know very well how all the different products that you've got here, all the different herbs, how they're beneficial in many different ways. But there's so So many things, right? Because it's basically a natural way to, you know, help remedy issues that you may be having health wise or mental health wise, like a bunch of different ways, like how do you kind of educate on that?



A lot of people these days are pretty educated, because the big movement and taking, like sovereignty over your own health. And I think previously, people would go to the doctor, and they'd give the power away as if I'm sick. What would you give me to help me right now, people are more interested in helping themselves so interested in diet, exercise and taking their own supplements to stay healthy. So I think consumers have to be educated. I mean, they're also pretty educated about the quality of the product. So what makes us different, is I think some other companies, they go to China, they get the cheapest tube, it's been air dried, I mean, they put it in a capsule, do some good marketing on it and sell it, whereas ours are really from the earth. So we get it a lot ourselves right here and faster bar again. And then we roll up as on the farm, and we suddenly come up with it, and then freeze drying and keeps them as fresh as possible to the day that they were coming out of the earth. And I think consumers are pretty educated on the differences between quality of thought out, so we have been loyal following I've seen that like, you know,



yeah, wow. So are they are they are they delivered frozen Are they just like proud of traditional freeze dried, where it's still dry and send it as is.



So what we do is we gather them from the earth, we look at peak potency, and then we print them and so they come into the company fresh anyway, what the minute freeze dryers in the freeze dryer, it just it uses a vacuum and low temperatures, and it just removes the water in it for the potency of the herbs, all the nutrition, phytochemicals, everything stays with the who and the thing that's pulled off as the water. So they look quite different. Have you ever seen the freeze dried strawberries in stores, free trade cranberries, and they look the shape of them that's still like the actual fruit. Whereas if you give dried strawberries, cranberries, a lot more like raisins. Yeah, three strains are really good technology. How we got into it is some you can actually take blood from the body and freeze dried the plasma and then put the mortar back in and put it back in the body was not out in the air at one degree. So it's really innovative. So yeah, that's how we so by our founder was looking at that, and it is pretty cool.



That's awesome. Back



in the body, and it's not degraded. So he applied that technology to his. Yeah. So we're really quite different. And I think, yeah, I loved it, the consumers know that they know what to look for



a high quality product. That's pretty cool. So I imagine that that probably also has to assist with the seasonality of things like because I would imagine and correct me if I'm wrong. But you're gonna get people that are seasonally having you know, health issues, you know, some people get allergies or cold during certain times here and that kind of stuff, however, that the what they may need to take may not align with when certain herbs are actually in season and available. So like is the freeze drying process basically like how you're able to keep inventory in stock all year.



Absolutely. So things come off the top these things that are harvesting right now and sprains and we've got a nation also available at the moment. And we go out and get them and there's some things that like some are like some jobs for inflammation and say that, but to keep them fresh, they're not going to last. So if you put them on the free strike, it makes them available year round. Of course, the best thing to do is if you could gather all your own herbs and make your own remedies, that would be the best billions not possible. But you can even go out and you could eat nice notes and you can get the same get the fresh noodles, and you'd get the same benefits for allergy. So evil is getting the fruit striper. But the mess was not possible. Our lives are busy to identify the correct part and everything like that. So as far as inventory goes, summer and spring are very busy. Everything comes in fresh in the we have to put for freeze drying. Wow. very random. And then of course winter is a busy season because everyone gets second winters that are not the news. Yeah, so that's how we manage our inventory is to freeze dried and on the way.



So I know that like there's, there's people out there where like you get sick, you go to a doctor, you talk to your doctor, they give you some kind of medication, you take it that's what they're there for. It is what it is. And they think that you know, clean approaches sometimes I know like there's tinctures and stuff out there and herbs and all these different things where people are like gods like witchcraft, like that's not real thing. Or what's your stance on it? Like how do you believe it helps from a mental health perspective or just a physical health perspective? Like, how did you kind of get behind this and what are your thoughts on it?



I was fairly sick how I wanted to make medic medicine myself was in New Zealand. I was really sick and just like digestive issues and things like that and then had some female issues. And I reached the door And the doctor basically said, there's nothing wrong with me. And yeah, it's been quite severe pain in candies and painkillers. And I said, Well, I finished the painkillers, can I get some more, that's why you're taking too many painkillers. And then I ended up having to go into hospital. But within 24 hours, I was so sick. And then I came out, I hit Donald Scarlett, I wasn't happy about it as anything else I could have done differently. It was a very unpleasant experience. So I started searching and back then I didn't even know about nature pets, this was back in the 90s, which is why but so I started studied herbs, and he did massage therapies and other things. And then I found the next perfect sport, and was just thrilled about uncompensated rebate. So I went in there. And I remember when I was studying, I just got like a UTI, and was trying to HIV and it wasn't working. I've tried the homeopathy, it didn't work. And that's when I really understood about the quality of it. So you can take some things with the qualities of intention. And now I have gone to the herbs floor, and I can look at the herbs in the shelf. And I can see by the color, how fresh they are, if they're going to work and things like that. But that started the journey. And then I went to Japan after I graduated, I never expected to be practicing on video, but it's it's sometimes call her life has a plan for you. And it just puts you on that path. So it's actually walking down the street. And I saw a former student advisor to a Japanese and having taught English in Japan for a while. And he said, Hi, how do you say great. I just felt like healing my child. I said, Oh, I just became a nature path. And he said, Do you want to clinic? This is my training. Establish the clinic as the first naturopathic over there. And then I thought I have more knowledge to share. So I started teaching, I was bought and used to write articles and teach. And I met my husband over the over the journey over here to the States. And then I learned a lot from him. He was pretty well known at the Hoover industry knew so much about herbs, I'd walk behind them. And say, tell me about what they do. And then I ended up absorbing that knowledge. And then that thought, oh, I guess I'm the keeper of his knowledge now.



Pass down any Yeah, I



really wanted to share that, too. So what we'll do is we're to do these hoop camps, the kids have kids out. And that was a bit like you mentioned Harry Potter, make your own breed buddies. And I said, remember, when I was a kid, I always want to pick my own flowers. But you can't, you can't do the neighbors and you can get in trouble. So just pick whatever you want. We have safe stuff on the force, and even make herb teas and we'll learn about what to do in the wilderness if you get wounded or something to cure poultices and make up of different remedies, different food. So that was super fun. And then we also had an internship and we'd get people, it's kind of in the interest of like providing education to people that might not otherwise be able to access that they could work on a boot farm, which was serious, and then teachers would come and teach different things. So that was pretty fun to do that.



That's awesome. That's, that's also genius, because you're teaching them young. So you've been around for 44 years. So by 54 years, they're now customers. Wow. Good move. Fred. So with that. So from the business side, right. So what's the what's been the marketing approach? Because like you mentioned, you're on your own site, or an Amazon or a bunch of other sites like so you've obviously got a lot of different places that your practice available. What's the marketing approach? What's been working, what hasn't been working? What have you been testing, tell me a little about that.



So making the transition as we were in the health food store model, that was pretty easy, because we've have reps that have gone to the store and it was a lot of word of mouth, training the staff taking fliers in the air. And then to make the switch to digital was a bit more challenging. And I think we learned a bit from that just going from it face to face customer interface model to a more digital model is a little bit more challenging. So we actually rely on our distributors to do a lot of our marketing for us. So I have has a great marketing department very skilled and what they do that can go into other countries and they know what works for all the brands so they do a lot of good marketing for us. Some of the Amazon distributor does that marketing, what we do in houses we have a very loyal customer base. So that we see that emails, they have a very high open rate and engagement rate. And then we have our social media. My dad I think that the main thing that we have is the loyalty from the customers and I think that comes from having a very superior plot



point Yeah, that's what I'm so obviously very loyal customer base. So your retention marketing is going to be like the way to do that. Obviously, you know, email, SMS, all that fun stuff for finding net new customers. I know Amazon's obviously a great cost acquisition channel. But are you doing anything from like a paid advertising perspective? Or have you dabbled in like influencer marketing or anything like that to kind of reach a new audience.



We tried this, we tried some things for Netflix's we haven't quite found the right model that works for us for that. But we, what we found is that we're getting a lot of views, and it wasn't really translating into sales. And we want to explore that a bit more. And we've tried, we've tried marketing companies, and we will try to do things ourselves. So we did some, like pay per click and things like that. Monitoring the marketing and house currently, we found sometimes the marketing company at the right fit. So you need someone who gets your brand in sometimes if you give your power away. So when I first initially ended up with the company, I had a car and we used a marketing company. And I didn't feel like they really got the brand in that it's an Harley, they did a rebranding used about who so there was a big learning experience. I think if you've worked with someone, you need that report. And again, you've got you know, from the beginning, it's going to be a professional life. And I think you also have to keep keep your power because you know, your brand, the beast, I think was a little bit of time of uncertainty, I was completely aligned with the brand. I didn't expect to be in a position to understand any art or to do any analysis looking outwards for for advice about a solution. And people will say, Well, this is what we do. But really, I had the answers to themself. And now that I've stepped back into my power of it and taking the brain back. So we rebranded again, and now looks like us in a



nice, wait. Yeah, but yeah, I mean, I would completely agree with that. Even for as an agency owner, I'm still I'm always an advocate, like, Look, if you have the ability to bring it in house, bring it in house, it's always gonna be better that they're just in like completely engulfed in the brand. They always understand it more, especially things like where you're creating content, like social media, or blog writing or content, writing of any kind, like that kind of stuff. If they really know the brand. It's so much better to just bring it in house. You're across a bunch of different channels. You mentioned your your distributors are doing advertising for a bunch of those areas. Where what's, what's the goal? Where are you trying to kind of take things next? Are there additional like marketplaces, you're exploring? Are you thinking of going into other retail outlets? Like what's that approach?



What are retail channels at the moment that were affected by COVID? As I think a lot of businesses, people stop paying into the stores, a lot of people went from retail and into the E commerce. So ecommerce channels are going gangbusters and really successful. Yeah. But we've lost a lot of ground on retail. So we're looking at going back into the old model that we used to build some other new companies do this and got back into the face to face and train the schools and evangelize to the customer. Yeah, that's what we're trying to build anything. Also trying to build some international?



Yeah. Oh, nice. Is the what's the No, go ahead?



Oh, yeah, economy seems to be managing itself. So that's really flowing, it's nice. We're happy about that.



It's always great when you get that kind of snowball effect, and you just sit back and watch it happen. You're like, this is awesome. I love it. Um, the one of the things I was thinking, so obviously, like, you know, we talked about your busy seasons in the winter, which makes sense, you know, people are getting sick, that kind of stuff. But I also know that there's a lot of herbs that you're supposed to take like just on a regular basis to kind of just maintain your health and things like that. Is that something that you've kind of set up as like a subscription model? Or is there like an upsell kind of thing? Like how what's that approach like to kind of keep that retention in place



for some model on our website, and that's super successful, we get a lot of repeat business. And once we get new customers as well, I think there's a social media driving there. And then they can get things by subscriptions. There's some things we have some free straight powders, that green powders, features, powders, celery juice is pretty hot at the moment, and things like that, but you just take on a daily basis and what what they do is I'm super into juicing, to try to stay healthy. I think mental health is really important too, when you're a business owner and but juice every morning, it's just not convenient, or it's very strange juice offers a good alternative for that. So things like that was probably one subscription model and then sometimes you know, like liver health is important. Digestive Health I think just the way we look at the bed diet, the stress levels and too much screen time affecting our sleep cycles and things like that people need some help. Okay, so yeah, very,



very interesting. What is your thought meant you're gonna you want to go back into retail, right? So you want to kind of go a little bit back to that. But are you thinking about like pouring into gas on the E commerce side or are you mainly focused on just getting back into the retail side?



We also want to pour some gas on ecommerce this for this year. For 2024, we actually build the biggest brand. I mean, our biggest customer desires, and we came up with a marketing campaign to get our stand in front of me there by doing additional just to help me nothing more than that. It's almost definitely moved on sometimes the Yeah,



that's awesome. Have you done anything from like, SEO perspective, because I know like, that's, that's what I was kind of thinking about too, right? Like my wife, as I mentioned, like, she's been teaching me as much as I can, but I gotta Google stuff. And so I started Googling things. And there's a ton of content out there about people that claim things and things like that. And I know that you're not necessarily in the medical space. So like, you're not too worried about making claims. But you also still don't want to so what's what's the approach on like, an SEO side, and being wary of some of the things that you're stating,



we have to actually be very careful. So we're regulated by the FDA. And there's some times that the supplement companies is space as regulate, it's very regulated, so the FDA will show up on the doorstep, maybe every two years in there unannounced, and you may do an inspection, we do really well. So I'm a stickler on the quality and making sure it will do really well. So we need to have a problem with the FDA, when they come in. It's it's kind of like I told my staffers, this is an educational opportunity, they might find some things, but it's just your opportunity. When they show up, they come in saying, but we can't make claims on these these studies to Becker. So I can't go out with some words, which you will absolutely not say that anything that will your nose will treat you have to stay away from. So our products support, structure and function, the body is about what we can say. And if you had that backed up by studies on file, the studies aren't necessarily related to our products, we have some specific to our products, we freeze dried needles, because our product is studying and some other ones as well. But it kind of is the same part of the plant, and the symptoms are part of the study on it. And we can we can make better. Yeah, so we have to be very careful. That's the other thing with getting a marketing company need to be well aware of what we can say, because you could say things if you sell a lot of product, pick a disease or something that people are worried about. Sure, we were getting so much trouble, that it's not worth it. So we're on the conservative side, it just been a nature path as well. I've been pretty familiar with the regulations. And what would you say as far as marketing goes?



Oh, it's, it's amazing. We work with several suddenlink companies and other like kind of wellness brands that do certain things. And like we're doing copy it is like we had to write a novel of what you can and can't say, because no one wants to get sued. That's always a problem. Then you got ADA stuff that gets involved. It's, oh, it is. I don't envy you. But, Christina, I don't want to take up too much of your time. I really appreciate you having on the show. I would love to give you an opportunity to let everyone know where they can find out more about you and more and of course more about eclectic herb.



Oh, great, thank you. The best place would be looking at our website, which is eclecticherb.com It also actually covers social media. And if you want to sign up for our emails to



perfect thank you so much appreciate you having on the show. Obviously everyone that tuned in thank you as well please make sure you do the usual rate review, subscribe all that fun stuff on whichever podcast platform you prefer or head over to theecommshow.com to check out all of our previous episodes. But as usual, thank you all for joining us and we will see you all next time.



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