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Lawyer Finds Second Career As Herb Farmer
Former East Coast real estate lawyer Anna Hackman left the corporate world to start an herbal business, The Naked Botanical.
“My husband and I  built an eco-friendly home in 2005,” she shares. “I had about two acres of cleared land to work with, so I started with five tomato plants in 2006 and quickly caught the gardening bug.”
Her garden has grown with the addition of new fruit trees, bushes, and raised beds. By 2016, her husband asked what she planned to do with all the herbs she was growing. “Sell them!” she responded, assuming the process would be easy.
Hackman began by selling dried herbs on Etsy but found it challenging to compete with sellers who purchased theirs wholesale overseas. So, she took a different approach and began selling herbal teas. She’s since expanded to salts, hydrosols, salves, flower essences, and tonics & elixirs. The farm has been certified organic since 2019, and everything is made in small batches to maintain quality and freshness.
Today, Hackman has one employee but continues to be hands-on with every part of the production. “I cut the herbs, strip their leaves and dry them,” she says. “They’re then cut and sifted into an appropriate size for tea bags and stored in plastic vacuum-sealed bags until I use them. All processed products are made in a commercial kitchen, and an outside company bags the tea.”
Beyond her herbs, Hackman sells many other products. “I make elderberry tonic with my farm-grown ginger and turmeric. Some of the elderberries come from my 35 bushes, but I also source frozen elderberries when I have depleted my inventory. Other projects include making simple syrups from my apple trees and lilacs and selling flower essences from my flowers.”
All Naked Botanical products are available online, as well as through local craft shows and farmer’s markets. While Hackman wants to sell in more retail locations, competing with larger brands is challenging. “Many retailers won’t give you a chance to sell your products because their buyers are accustomed to paying much lower prices from established big companies,” she says.
“In my opinion, many consumers aren’t aware of the difference in the quality of products made and grown in the U.S. versus products made from herbs grown overseas. I’m always educating prospective buyers on the benefits of buying locally grown products through sampling during in-person events.”
For those interested in starting a similar farming venture, Hackman recommends looking closely at the bottom line before setting prices. “Make sure you take into account the costs to make your products. This includes how much time it takes to produce your product and all your expenses to run your farm. So many people just price their products to be competitive without knowing if they are making any profit. You want to make sure your pricing reflects healthy margins to support selling your product wholesale or through a distributor.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Anna Hackman, The Naked Botanical (anna@thenakedbotanical.com; www.thenakedbotanical.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #1