Megan te Boekhorst

Megan, who is from the greater Vancouver area, is a social entrepreneur who is running two ventures that she is very passionate about. Growing up in a small farm-town called Shellac, about an hour outside of Vancouver, Megan was an “over achieving, active, in-the-community, leadership, student counsel, nerd”. Due to her desire to participate in the community, in high school Megan wrote for the town’s weekly newspaper. Like any author in a small town weekly newspaper; she was quite popular. You might wonder how she got this role; essentially she saw the opportunity and embraced it with open arms. She was practically a shoe-in, being that the previous year she had won the 11th grade English award. As a student writer she was responsible for reporting the experience from the youth’s perspective. Essentially: the spokesperson for the Shellac residents under 18.

When she was even younger, her and a friend decided to start a small business on the side of the road. While everyone was selling lemonade, she recognized that lemonade market was saturated and decided to sell flowers instead.  From the sounds of it, they were successful. The fact that she was able to recognize the market had far too many participants and decided to pursue something unconventional, that is an accomplishment within itself. Other entrepreneurial experiences that she had as a youth consisted of organizing events when she was a freshman in high school. Though she didn’t make money for herself in these roles, they definitely taught her how to execute a plan and achieve a goal with a finite amount of resources. Which are two essential fundamentals for being an entrepreneur.

After a short period of attending Thompson Rivers University with plans on being a teacher, she eventually transferred to Simon Fraser University to complete a joint major in Communications and Interactive Technology. During this time at SFU, Megan was able to learn a lot about business and interacting with developing ideas. In her last year she decided to start a company. The main factor that pushed her to get the company started was boredom. School helped in a major way, it trained her to problem solve and discover options to find a solution.

While interning at Lululemon Megan learned a lot about goal coaching, which is a huge component of the company’s culture. Learning the science behind goals, their importance and working closely with other goal coaches at Lululemon was a daily experience for her. Though it was very unfamiliar, goal coaching quickly became something that she was passionate about. Shortly afterwards, she started goal coaching outside of work. In exchange for her work she asked for a donation, which could be anything. Donations ranged from picture frames to pens, all were of use to her. What Megan truly was after, was the experience. After a year of this she obtained some paying clients. We discussed one of the most difficult things for a new entrepreneur is getting used to asking people for money for the services that they provide. Which as a goal coach is one of the biggest things she helps new entrepreneurs see: the value that they are creating for their customers.

As a life/goal coach, there’s this misconception that you have to live a perfect life. As a result many coaches project this perception. According to Megan this couldn’t be any more of a wrong approach to helping folks. “Ultimately what makes me a better coach is the fact that I do struggle with things, that I do have to overcome barriers myself. One of the barriers that my clients deal with is the imposter syndrome. I felt like an imposter for the longest time, and those feelings still kind of creep up for me. Because it’s like, ‘who are you to dish that advice? Who are you to think that your ideas, your philosophies, your practices are valid enough to be of use to the world?’”

I think it’s safe to say that we have all dealt with this experience at one time or another. The feeling that maybe we are not as legit as we think that we are. That maybe we are not ready for the role that we are creating for ourselves. Create it anyway. There’s only one way to learn how to swim and that’s in the water.

Her second business, which is a beauty product called Karuna that extends from another passion. The passion for mental health. We discussed her battles that she’s had in the past with depression, which usually results with not taking care of oneself. Though it may seem circular, it’s easier to battle depression if you take care of yourself. Karuna is a beauty care product that’s first product is an exfoliant that uses coffee grounds instead of your traditional salt and sugar. It’s fun; it smells good and therefore is something to look forward to more than a regular shower. In addition it leaves you feeling great from those endorphins flowing. If you were a professional barista, the type that describes a brew in phases of flavors, you’d shower 3 times a day if you had this next to your loofah.

Megan started this company while working at a beauty supply store. She was told that if she wanted to make a product they would allow her to sell it there. A rare opportunity. Megan uses the proceeds to fund a scholarship foundation that “rewards scholarships to youth leaders that are tackling the stigmas that surround mental illness.” Awesome. How did Megan decide on starting this product line versus anything else? She suffers from a rare skin condition that doesn’t have a cure. It leads to open sores on her skin, so it’s really important to keep things ultra clean. Megan knew that there were more health benefits by using coffee than any other additive to make an exfoliant. “Because of the caffeine in the coffee, the caffeine does get absorbed in to your system so you do get a little boost. What it does most is stimulate blood flow and the stimulation of blood flow is what creates healing affects. So when it comes to scars, eczema and acne, literally any skin condition that you have. That stimulated blood flow is going to be what is a major part in fixing that problem.” The scrub also includes coconut oil and tea tree oil, both great for healing. Megan taught herself how to make the products that she sells. Thank God for the Internet. She makes them in small batches, which ensures quality. Megan explained to me how educating her customer on the product is very important because coffee scrubs are such a new type of scrub for people to use. Anytime you are innovating, it’s very important to educate people on the benefits of your product. Assuming that someone will understand your product and it’s benefits can be detrimental. In Megan’s case, she’s had people think that she is selling coffee to drink, so you can imagine why product education for customers is important for Karuna’s success. To take quality control and her social impact one step further Megan was very careful about which coffee company she chose for her grounds. “We Heart Van Roaster” is carbon neutral, fair trade certified and they donate 10% of their earnings to an organization for homeless called “The Lookout society”.

Megan recently passed her one-year mark and launched two new products to her Karuna beauty product line, which you can view here. What are some other plans that Megan has for the future? She wants to create a soap line and also write a book regarding goal achieving.

What’s the greatest thing about being an entrepreneur?

“Seeing my ideas come to fruition. I’ve always been an idea person, I’ve always had these ideas for great businesses, but I didn’t have the time or resources. It’s been rewarding to see them actually happen and come to life.”

What was one of your toughest moments?

“I wanted to quit at my first craft fair, those are brutal if you don’t sell anything.  My product doesn’t sell well at craft fairs. My first craft fair that I did was a two-day craft fair and I just broke even on my booth costs. I didn’t even break even on the weekend on total, because of marketing costs. But it was that Sunday that I didn’t make a sale until 3 o’clock. I was ready to quit the fair; I was ready to throw the table in the air and just walk out. It was so painful. Makes you think ‘that nobody wants my product, I’m not valuable.’ You just feel like crap! It’s the worst feeling.”

What’s one piece of advice, if nothing else, that you would want to give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

“Recognize your value that you bring to the world and that that value is important. What ever that value is, you’re here because of it and it is needed. Know-your-value.”

The body scrub industry is a multi billion-dollar market. I look forward to watching Megan obtain a large portion of it. To learn more about Megan and her two companies click here. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter

Chadwick Daniel