In Conversation with Suzy Batiz of Poo~Pourri, Supernatural, and ALIVE OS
Describe your businesses in a few words?
Poo~Pourri dumps the shame around the things we naturally do and ends stigmas by starting conversations. Supernatural is taking the household cleaning industry from toxicity to aromatherapeutic magic… And it really works! ALIVE OS™ transforms people’s lives by encouraging them to explore their infinite potential.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I’ve always been a maker. When I was a child growing up in Arkansas, we didn’t have much money. So, if I wanted something, I had to figure out how to make it. That’s really stuck with me on this journey.
As I got older, I thought that money would be my way out of a very difficult and traumatic life. I thought it would make me somebody. I was constantly hustling and looking for opportunities to earn money. I sold exercise equipment; started a clothing line; opened a clothing store, a beauty salon, and a tanning salon. One time, I sold a tractor-trailer load of gearboxes. Another time, a couple tractor-trailer loads of fabric. I needed money, so I would call manufacturers and see what excess inventory they had that I could turn. I’ve always been a hustler! You name it, I tried to make money doing it, but I eventually realized that the money never brought me happiness. I was creating all these businesses for the wrong reasons.
In 2001, I was in the final rounds of fund-raising for a startup, a recruiting firm that matched job seekers and companies by culture, but the problem was that it was twenty years ahead of its time. Rationally, it was a great idea but it wasn’t my passion. I was still creating this business to get something from it. When the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, my investors backed out and within a year I lost everything and declared bankruptcy for the second time.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I didn’t grow up with very much so when I was very little my dream was to break the cycle of generational poverty within my family, even though I didn’t know how to say that at the time. I wanted to work in the Post Office or a factory because I knew those jobs offered stable income. As I got older, I chased money thinking that it was the answer. It wasn’t about passion or fulfillment, which is why none of my previous ventures worked. The ideas and businesses were not resonant with my being.
After my second bankruptcy, I went on a spiritual sabbatical where I truly found internal happiness and swore off business altogether. What I really meant is that I was never going back to hustling to survive and doing “what I thought I was supposed to do” ever again. Wouldn’t you know that’s when the Alive Idea for Poo~Pourri came along!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
During my first year of business, I hit $1 million in revenue solely by word of mouth. Once I had the formula nailed, I gave ten bottles to ten friends who had professed their love for the product. I asked them to share those bottles with ten more friends. My husband at the time also built a very simple website.
A few days later, I started getting calls from local gift shops asking if they could buy the product at wholesale to sell in their stores. I had to google what wholesaling meant which tells you that ANYBODY can do this, whether you’re experienced or not. Stores continued to call, I signed up for my first trade show where I learned about the next trade show. I continued to follow the breadcrumbs from there!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
By the time I was 22, I was married, divorced and bankrupt. I had purchased a bridal shop that I later realized had all old and unsellable inventory which led to my first bankruptcy. When I went through bankruptcy at 19 years old, I was given a lot of great advice from the banker that I used. I made a comment to him along the lines of, “Well, at least I got experience and experience is the best teacher.” He looked at me and said, “No, it’s not, but fools will learn no other way.” My mentor Gay Hendricks has also often told me that it’s better to learn from wisdom than experience, so one of my mantras has become “I commit to learning through wisdom rather than experience.”
Overall, this advice combined with my lifelong journey has taught me the important lesson that you do not need to rely on experience for success. There is plenty of wisdom in the world and innately within you that is a much better and reliable teacher to lean into throughout your career and life in general.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I’m most proud to have broken the pattern of generational poverty within my family. But I don’t mean money (of course that’s nice too!). Through my extension work in personal transformation, exploration of therapeutic modalities and the development of my ALIVE courses, I know that I’ve helped to heal generational poverty in the emotional, physical and spiritual spaces. My kids are all doing the same. The healing I’ve been able to share has been the greatest gift. I’m so honored to be able to share my journey and some tips I’ve learned along the way with my ALIVE OS™ explorers so that everyone knows they can create the life they imagine. And just think about how wonderful the world would be if everyone did just that?!
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Ensure you’re doing your due diligence with background and reference checks, but beyond that, I always go with my gut. Your intuition will tell you more than any paper resume will. You will know who the right fit for your needs and culture is.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our first quarter at Poo~Pourri was rough with so many retail locations closed and other businesses cancelling orders as they were only accepting shipments of essential items (I would argue Poo~Pourri is essential for quarantining with others though!).
Our superpower is our ability to pivot and we, within 6 weeks, were able to ideate and get hand sanitizer on shelves. This helped us rebound at rocket speed but also showed us that consumers want more from Poo~Pourri. Since then, we’ve created a line of antibacterial products, launched a bidet attachment and have so many more exciting things in the pipeline.
ALIVE OS™ launched globally because of the pandemic. I had written the course and was deciding how it should live in the world when I realized that people really needed this type of guidance. The course has supported COVID-19 relief funds, offered BIPOC scholarships and has seen tremendous growth already, even amidst a pandemic!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Expansion, expansion, expansion in every sense (physical, mental, spiritual) of the word, in each business!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
First off, if the idea isn’t GREAT then leave it alone. We have too many products and services in the world that are just good — so if it’s not great then don’t bother.
But most importantly, the idea for your business needs to be ALIVE inside of you. You need to resonate with it and exude passion for it. If you need help decoding this, I have some resources here that can help!
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I realize that there is a lot of struggle happening in the world this year, but I’ve personally tried to take this as an opportunity to pause, evaluate and expand creatively and spiritually. I’ve explored new methods of healing, new business ideas and made some long overdue changes that I probably wouldn’t have without the opportunity to take this pause.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
To me, there’s no difference in personal and work life. It’s all life! So, yes, you need to pause from the hustle and bustle of your business, but it should also make you feel alive. If you are one of those people who says, “work is killing me,” you’re right! If your energy is constantly drained and you’re feeling burnt out and off balance, you need to reevaluate and create a new plan that’s more resonant with your being.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
Most people think of me as an entrepreneur, but my actual passion is personal development and healing. I share this work through my courses ALIVE OS™ and ALIVE Abundance™.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
I need to move my body, get my creative juices flowing and tune out the outside world each day to stay productive. So, though it doesn’t come naturally to me, I make myself move my body with morning workouts 5-6 days a week. I also write daily. I have no formula or premeditated plan, I just write freely and let the ideas and creative energy flow. Finally, I’ve been a practitioner of TM (Transcendental Meditation) for more than 20 years. I can probably count on one hand the days I’ve missed a meditation over those decades because it’s such an important part of setting up my day. It’s a moment for me to center myself and be with my own thoughts by tuning out everything else. You’d be shocked to know how many ideas and solutions have come to me during these 20 minute sessions!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista has given me the vehicle and catalyst to heal and explore. I utilize all of my businesses as a petri dish for my personal transformation. I can confidently say that I would not have the life beyond my dreams without the “failures” and learnings (I like to refer to those as “the harvest”) that being an entrepreneur has brought me.