In our Meet the Maker series we get to know entrepreneurs who have pursued their dreams and launched a small business. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re shining a light on women Makers to hear what lessons they have learned along the way.
Today we’re catching up with Julia Bitton of Dr. Fedorenko True Organic to learn a bit more about her organic skin care company. There are actually two doctors at work in this family company. Dr. Julia Fedorenko Bitton and her mom, Dr. Larissa Fedorenko, first created the Bug Stick to fight mosquitos and ticks at home in New York. They’ve since paired their backgrounds in dermatology and holistic medicine to helps bodies in other ways—and always naturally.
What would be the name of your biography?
Hustle + Heart will set you apart!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to become veterinarian when I grew up, but soon after, I have discovered that I was allergic to pretty much every animal on earth; so when I actually grew up, I became a naturopath, and later I was able to reverse almost all of my allergies.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Success is in the tiny steps. The steady progress. The calm focus. The disciplined persistence. We’re brought up to admire the guy who cuts the red ribbon, but not the one who lays the bricks. Our society is overly eager to celebrate overnight success, but not to encourage daily commitment. Resist instant gratification and build your brand for a long haul–even if it means recognizing and celebrating progress on your own.
How do you get around creative blocks?
My passion is surfing, and any sport activity that has to do with water. When I get a creative block, I take my surfboard, put my toes in the sand and hit the water, or if there are no waves, I’d go for rowing. That always puts my mind into a meditative state, which helps me to let go of a fixation and that creative block…miraculously, things start to flow again. 😉 So basically, what you can take from this is when you are feeling blocked, switch your routine up a bit. Don’t expect to find new creative ideas if your brain is starving. Drink water, explore new workplaces, do what makes your soul happy, distance yourself from the toxic, depart from routine, and find inspiration in the ordinary.
What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
Patience, persistence and ability to bounce back. Life has taught me to build with bricks I’m thrown. To turn losses into stepping stones. Bouncing doesn’t mean I’m somehow immune to pain of defeat. It means that I allow myself to experience loss and defeat with the deep understanding that it’s momentary. Impermanent, fugacious. Like those nanoseconds of compression that a spring allows itself after it’s been pushed down. Without those glorious fractions of a second it would never gather the force to stretch back again–this time with more strength. And neither would I.
What has surprised you most about starting a business?
I can’t say that I was surprised, because I did prepare myself for a long haul when I decided to start my business. But the journey really proved me that you cannot start your business solely for sake of making money. It has to be your passion too in order to go through many lows along the way. I had to remove a lot of what I have learned before and really learned loving the grind.
What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Here’s a branding lesson that I love to share every time I can: Apple. You’ll often hear that brands are designed and created by agencies or professional creatives. The truth of the matter is that visionaries like Steve Jobs shape brands long before a vector shape has been traced! They come up with a story, a set of values, and guiding beliefs that set the brand apart in the marketplace. That solid foundation, combined with design thinking, is what truly creates outstanding brands. Another lesson from a Maker-to-a-starting-Maker is that it’s been you all along, and it’ll be you all the way. Learn to play your strengths, embrace your flaws, and pursue your passion. Be gentle when your mind, body or soul are tired. Value your time and surround yourself with those who do too. Above all, give your dreams the same respect you grant to other.
What has been the most rewarding part of business for you?
Being able to improve people’s health and life with a gift of natural and effective personal and pet products.
How has The Grommet community made an impact on your business since your launch with us?
Becoming a part of The Grommet community was one of the most amazing experiences I have had since I’ve become woman entrepreneur. I am forever grateful for their support, which was much needed air under my wings and having that amazing opportunity to become a Maker and part of The Grommet community allowed me to grow tremendously, expand my product line, and continue stronger than ever on my mission for sustainability and quality without compromise. As a Maker I am honored to be a part of The Grommet community.