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Last Update: Sunday July 25, 2021

Key Idea: Pre-Sell A New Product

When your idea is simple, people can buy it.

Key Question:


Debra had confidence as she ramped up her company to manufacture a new strong breath mint because she sold her product before she spent a penny to make the first mint.

Aldo, she had investors and a banker who believed in her.  Some might say that taking OPM (other people's money) is pressure that is almost impossible to bear.  However, in Debra's case, the investments were inspiring.

People did not have to see or even taste her product because it was so simple they could imagine it.  Debra was coming into the marketplace as the health food store alternative to Altoids.  Everyone knows Altoids.  She announced that she would have no beef gelatin and that she would use molasses rather than corn syrup.  Simple.

Think about it

How would you go about making sales before you launch your next new product or service?  Who would buy from you sight unseen?

Clip from: St. Claire's Mints & Organic Sweets (EcoNatural Solutions)

Boulder, Colorado: Debra St.Claire started her business, EcoNatural Solutions in 1993 to begin manufacturing  a totally organic breath mint and a healthy candy for children and adults.  She is an herbalist, naturalist, and vegetarian. When she learned that there was beef gelatin in her favorite peppermints, she was so disappointed, she said, "I'll make my own!"

Today St.Claire's Organic Sweets are on thousands of store shelves around the world.

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St. Claire's Organics started as EcoNatural Solutions, Inc.

St. Claire's Organic Sweets, a global business

6235 Lookout Road
Boulder, CO 80301

Visit our web site:

Office: 303-527-1554

Business Classification:
food processing

Year Founded: 1993

Pre-Sell A New Product

DEBRA: Remember, I had $180,000 of my investment money in before my product was released into the marketplace. So this was a huge leap of faith. This is a sacrificial art. And I haven't even thought about it that way so much. But I ran into an old friend of mine recently who had just sold his company, and he and I were talking about the immense sacrifice that is required to get a business up and going in this day and age, even in the past five years. It's a lot. It's long hours. It's complete responsibility. The responsibility of this company is sitting on these two shoulders. This is a responsibility that is not light.

And so that follows you home at night. It lives in your gut. It lives in your mind. It lives in your consciousness, and so sometimes, you know, the birthday party is missed or the school play, or the this or the that. And my children, you know, they've used strong words sometimes, `Mom...'

HATTIE: `Get home.'

DEBRA: ` weren't there the other night.'

Well, we did three big pilot batches and I did a very big pilot batch and said, `OK, we're ready to go, put your big machinery on it and let's go.' So my packaging was done, my market rollout was planned, everything was absolutely set and ready and the market was open, and I had sold $60,000 worth of this product before I ever had the product finished. So I knew that it was going to sell. I knew the concept was right, the timing was right. I got a call from the plant. They said, `Debra, you'd better come down and taste this.' I went in and the whole batch tasted like quinine. And I said, `Oh my God, now what?'

HATTIE: Did you sit down and cry?

DEBRA: Almost. Almost. Because I'm looking at--this is the investment money of my dear, beloved investors who've trusted in me to make this right. Now what do I do? But I always know--I always know that whatever problem is there, you can get past it. You just have to go around the wall, over the wall or dig under the wall. I didn't realize until that point that the contract packager that I had hired also had contract manufacturing capability for a product similar to this. I didn't know that they had the equipment for that because I had hired them just to package it. But they said, `Let us try it here.' They tried it there. They gave me a tablet that I could live with and we went on from there, and they became our first contract manufacturer.

And so I had to save my launch because, again, I was ready for market launch. I called my distributors and said, `We've had a little hiccup. We're gonna be about three weeks late.' But we were--we got it into the marketplace.

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