One of the best ways to be inspired to make yourself and your business the best they can be is to learn from the success of others. That’s why we love to spotlight our members here at the blog. Today, you’ll meet Rhonda Hodge, founder of Rbella in Murphy, Texas. This collage features Rhonda's Whole Foods local vendor graphic and her feature in this month's issue of Fitness Magazine.
Rhonda has been a member of the Indie Business Network since March 2012, and before that, she was one of our Indie Protégés. I asked her to share a bit about her life and the Rbellah line of products. Here's a little of what she said:
Q1 TELL US ABOUT RBELLAH
My business was inspired by a small piece of handmade soap I purchased in 2001. Recalling that my mother and aunt made soap when I was a little girl, I couldn't believe that people were still making “lye” soap. I contacted the woman who made the soap, and began purchasing it from her to sell at craft shows. I was mentored by several online soapmakers and through the Texas Soapmakers Association for 18 months before starting my own line of products at – Rbellah. Included are handcrafted aromatherapy soaps, lotion bars and whipped body scrubs. Over the past ten years, I’ve sold my products to a loyal following at local craft fairs and online.
We create handmade soaps, scrubs and lotion bars with ingredients like olive, coconut, rice bran and sunflower oils, cocoa butter and essential oil. These high quality raw materials compliment my overall philosophy of healthy living, eating and beauty – plant based and as natural as possible. Each bar of soap is wrapped in hand-dyed, color coordinated protective paper. The remaining products are packaged in easily recyclable containers, which we encourage. Last year, I was selected as a local vendor for Whole Foods Market. Currently, Rbellah Soaps are in seven Dallas-Fort Worth stores. We plan to continue to grow this partnership to include other products and locations within the next two years.
Q2 WHAT ARE YOUR BEST SELLING PRODUCTS?
My best selling products are my signature line of Rbellah Handcrafted Aromatherapy Soaps.
Q3 WHAT SORTS OF THINGS DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
My business is an outgrowth of my love of gardening, cooking and all things in the natural and whole-living area. I find inspiration and satisfaction in these areas as well as in photography and writing. I am a former reporter for my local newspaper, maintaining my media credentials through various special correspondent assignments.
I enjoy walking for good health, as a way to get to know my neighbors, and to set a positive example for my family, friends and especially for women (and men) of a certain age. We may not desire to engage in a Gen X, high impact “exercise program” but we can achieve positive results by putting one foot in front of the other, enjoying the outdoors, meditating, etc. – and the best thing is that there is no special equipment required to do something that has come naturally to us since we were toddlers. I was recently featured in the October 2013 issue of Fitness Magazine for my neighborhood walking activities and commitment to better health for a woman in her 50's. I turned 56 in August and I feel and look Marvelous!
Q4 WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A MEMBER OF THE INDIE BUSINESS NETWORK?
I love the range of business experience represented in the Indie Business Network, from Protégés to multimillion dollar enterprises. We share and learn from our collective knowledge.
I followed Donna Maria for a few years online and in personal appearances, noting how she was developing the organization and her outreach to businesses and people like myself. Her experience as an attorney, handmade beauty products manufacturer, author and small business woman gave me a sense of confidence in the organization. I started off as a Protégé and am now a full member. With the support offered through the Indie Business Network, my business is growing to an income sustaining level.
You can learn more about Indie Business Network membership and the benefits we offer (including affordable product liability insurance, coaching, and mentoring) at this link. Learn more about our entry level Indie Protégé program here.
LEARN MORE ABOUT RBELLAH