Navigating Uncertain Times*
A recap of the last 3 1/2 years!
After working at Meadowsweet on and off since 2013, Kelly Needs bought Meadowsweet in December of 2018. As a passionate herbalist and nature lover, the opportunity to continue to bring herbal knowledge and alternative healing to this community seemed like a dream come true. While the whirlwind of figuring out finances to buy the business in 3 months time while going to college and being the mother of three beautiful boys seemed difficult, the prospect of this new venture made all the hustle worth it. Then came the hard work of rebranding and reimagining a Wholesale business that needed some major TLC. From re-writing recipes, product R & D, label design and re-establishing old wholesale relationships, thousands of hours have been spent making Meadowsweet-made products the very best they can be. The over-riding goal: offer the best products in the most environmentally sound way.
Then there was the retail store! Myriads of hopeful and upcoming herbalists have worked in Meadowsweet’s retail store. A community asset, this store functions much like a free clinic. Countless customers have come with their herbal questions and left over-served, filled with self empowerment to take charge of their own health. Meadowsweet’s staff, trained herbalists all, have honed their craft with love and compassion for the community of Missoula. Meadowsweet’s on-the-job training takes months, if not years as our staff learn clinical skills such as referrals, red flags, compassionate listening and yes: boundaries. There is simply no better way to become a better herbalist than to use your skills actively with supervision. Kelly Needs is particularly suited to guide this part of the training after years of private herbal consultations and many years of professional herbal class teaching.
All was going really well (with a few hiccups) but then the dreaded plaque hit: COVID. At first, Meadowsweet’s loyal customers stocked up in an uncertain world. Immune tonics, anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs were in high demand and we began to struggle with the first of many stock shortages. This called on our adaptability as we strove to make substitutions and timely suggestions for those who needed our herbal help. Suddenly, we became a hand sanitizer factory as we all strove to protect ourselves as best as we knew how. Then STAY-AT-HOME orders came, and as a food liscenced business we asserted our opinion that we were ESSENTIAL! We became a “TAKE-OUT” business! Serving Take-Out-Herbs to folks who needed us. All the while navigating a economic shut down that was unprecedented. When our customers feared, we assured: our body and immune systems can do this! Meanwhile, Meadowsweet used more bleach than ever before and we all got used to the Mask Era at work. Guidelines and policies from the local and national level were short or non-existent, so Meadowsweet erred on the side of caution and wrote volumes of employee policy for COVID safety. When many businesses laid their employees off we did not = believing in our Mission to provide health resources to our community.
Since the beginning of COVID we have been blessed with our loyal local community that continues to this day to support us: a small woman owned business. In the age when ordering everything on Amazon is easiest, our customers come in or call the store to get their herbs or advice. We are honored to be a resource of integrity when times have been so difficult and dark. Things have not been all rosy: the unpredictable nature of the economy and COVID, combined with supply chain issues have created inconsistent sales numbers. Meadowsweet is committed to providing our herbalist staff with employment opportunities and is looking forward to some sort of stability in all of our lives!
Our Wholesale team is expanding our Meadowsweet-made line into many new areas including Private Label/Custom Formulation, Made in Montana Trade Shows, and many new accounts including Community Health’s Gift Shop, Rocking Rudy’s, and Farmers Daughter Fibers! We are also looking forward to our first MADE FAIRE this June 21st.
In summary, as Meadowsweet is about to turn 26th years old, we celebrate our resilience in these difficult times. We thank our loyal customers for keeping us afloat these last couple years. We cheers all of our community for pulling together to navigate hard times and hard issues. We look forward to many, many more years of service.
Join us on July 16th for Meadowsweet’s 26th Birthday Party! Details TBD