Why I had to let go of one of my dreams

November 6, 2013

As an entrepreneur, you have big dreams for your business – whether it’s seeing your products on the pages of O, The Oprah Magazine, being best friends with the buyer at Nordstrom, or having 6 or 7 figure sales within a few years of your business.

As you may know, one of my huge dreams with my organic soap line is to get my soaps into ALL 367 Whole Foods stores. I figured that if each store buys 50 soaps per quarter, that’s 73,400 soaps pear year! That’s a lot of trees that I can plant (if you remember, my mission is to plant a tree for every soap bar that I sell). Now, that’s having an impact!

Well, I recently got an opportunity to present my soaps to Whole Foods, but it wasn’t all that I thought it would be. Watch the video below to find out what happened.

Do you have a similar story? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

25 Comments. Leave new

Great post, Andreea!

November 6, 2013 7:18 pm

Thanks, Meredith! Nice to see you here!

Thank you for sharing your story! It’s a good reminder that we might have to let go sometimes and be flexible as business owners.

November 6, 2013 7:18 pm

Yes, definitely!

I completely resonate with your story! I had a similar experience a few years ago when I had my children’s jewelry business. A friend of mine knew a children’s gift rep at Dallas World Market who needed a classic children’s necklace company to replace a company who had gone out of business. I did speak with the gift rep and she wanted to see my line. Unfortunately, I had a baby, a 4 year old at the time and a husband who travelled weekly for his business and I couldn’t make it happend. I was so bummed because this gift rep had products in Nordstrom and Neiman’s and was in a bunch of markets in the mid-west. I’m glad I turned it down, because I had to put my family first. However, I did decide to focus on adult jewelry but on a smaller and more mangeable scale.

Thanks so much for your honesty – so inspiring. I had something similar happen to me with a big retailer in the US – I was not able to get all of the testing they wanted me to do for the product fast enough, and they ended up canceling their order. Strangely, I felt like they were right to cancel – I do not have the infrastructure in my business to work with such a big retailer. I think once you know you’re in it for the long haul, it makes it easier to let go of certain dreams on the way – b/c you know it’s temporary.

November 7, 2013 3:33 pm

I totally agree, Elisheva!

Great story Andreea, thanks for sharing! I have a similar story recently in which I decided not to sell wholesale for some of the same reasons. It’s just not worth it for me right now.


Thais Zoe | Lucky Duck Living™
November 6, 2013 11:02 pm

Andreea, thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us!

It’s interesting… I, too, have been veryinterested in Whole Foods for my tees. In the process of conversations with the rep, there was a lot of discussion about pricing and color availability. In fact, based on her(and some of the team leader’s) input, I repriced my tees from $48 retail to $38 retail across the board. Their interest gave me the push to do what I needed to do… be willing to make a smaller margin for a larger distribution.

However, even if Whole Foods doesn’t happen, my new price sits very well for me. I just feels “right.” Especially when I can then sell direct to customer 2 tees for $70 and 3 tees for $100… so I sense I’m going in the right direction.

Regarding color – which you’ve been telling me from the beginning, Andreea – I will add colors sooner now. Due to both Whole Foods input, and your suggestions. First I need to sell more of what I already have… but, I’ll get there.

It’s so much more fun to trust the twists and turns, isn’t it?! I have a long list of disappointments that have helped shape me and my company for the better. BUT, it’s critical to my peace of mind to know I’m not alone. Thank you for that and all you do to continue to inspire and support me (and all of us)!


November 7, 2013 3:33 pm

Thais, glad to hear that your pricing feels right. That’s so important! Can’t wait to see your color tees :)

Thanks for sharing your story Andreea. Even though it ended up costing you, it’s great to see you pursuing your ideas all the way through. I think it’s a lesson to all entrepreneurs that even if some of our ideas fall through, the feedback always helps us come back stronger and more informed in the next round.

Thank you Andreea for sharing your story. Nice video!

Thank you so much for sharing this story! We, too, have had some opportunities come up that we’ve been very excited about…thinking “this is finally the big breakthrough we’ve been working for” and then it doesn’t work out for whatever reason.
As an entrepreneur, it is so difficult NOT to get discouraged when things fall through, but both my sister and I have faith that God has a plan for us and it may not always fit our plans or our timing.
We’ve learned so much from these disappointments and setbacks and grown from them and made some necessary changes to our business. We know that when the time is right, IT WILL HAPPEN!!

Chris Kihlstrom
November 8, 2013 3:53 am

Thank you for sharing this video. It is interesting to hear how this happened. I’m sure you will overcome this temporary obstacle.

Hi Andreea, thank you for sharing your story. I do not have any similar story to share but your story has given me hope that it is ok to pursue a big dream even though there may be a possibility of failure. You may never know when the time is right, you could be supplying your soaps to Whole Foods at the right price and on the right terms :)

Hi Andreea,

Thanks for sharing your great story. In the past I have made lots of mistakes and almost thinking about giving it up. Than the lil devil in me comes back and says ‘no, you went this far don’t give up.’
I am sure when the time is right you will be able to sell to Whole Foods. Sometimes things take a lil bit longer than anticipated and have a mysterious way working out.

Great story Andreea! I used to run an all natural bath and body biz. I know how long it takes to make really awesome soap. It will come when the time is right:)

December 2, 2013 8:23 pm

yes, and if that time comes, I’ll make sure to post about it :)

Thank for the real life lesson Andreea and for being so honest. Those of us with retail products all have similar stories. We just have to trust we are being guided to an even better outcome!

Tami / essensu holistic skincare
December 2, 2013 8:09 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and I’m sorry it was an expensive misstep. My husband is in the grocery business, and is well aware of Whole Foods and the types of demands they make on their suppliers.

For my business, I couldn’t approach Whole Foods even I desired to do so, due to a conflict of interest through my husband, but I have heard many stories from other business owners of their experience with them. Most have not been favorable.

I think they overstep their reach into people’s businesses, and you give up a certain control when selling to them. I never want to give away control of my pricing, my decisions for my business, how my products are made, etc. I’m an indie business for a reason, and I never want to lose site of that, for myself. I don’t think it’s worth it.

In the end, there are always other options, and ones that won’t demand becoming an almost silent partner, who’s not that silent.

December 2, 2013 8:23 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience, Tami! And you are so right!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Great post Andreea. I had a very similar thing – my dream had always been to get my products into Liberty’s Department store in London. I tried for 3 years without success and then got an opportunity to have things stocked in the home department. I was so excited but when I read their terms – much bigger discount than other retailers, reserved stock to call on but no commitment, long payment terms – it was obvious that I would not be making a profit. In fact I suspect that I would have made a loss as there was no room for a “mess up margin” – the more I sold, the larger the loss could have been. I said no, waved goodbye to the dream, it was tough but it was the right thing o do.
J x

January 3, 2014 8:25 pm

Thanks for sharing, Jane! It sounds like you make the right decision for your business!

This a wonderful story for all of us to read. One of the lessons I take away form this is that you don’t have to have your products in one of the BIG stores to be successful.