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Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Marji Guyler-Alaniz and I started an organization that shines a light on women Farmers, called FarmHer.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
My grandparents were farmers and while I grew up in the country, my parents were not farmers. I went to school for graphic design, journalism and photography and then spent 11 years in the ag insurance industry. When it was time to make a change from that career, I left to figure out what was next. Then, a commercial on during the super bowl led me to realize that we as a society don’t see the active and real role women play in growing the food that we all eat, and fiber that we wear. So, I started a photography project to show that work. It was simple in the beginning, a website and social media pages as a project. Then, when the ball started rolling I turned it into an actual business and have been running at making it work since then!
Describe the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing the product.
Our product is the images, videos and stories of the women who we meet. So, the process started with still photos of these women, shared through social media. Today it has become visits to farms, ranches and businesses all around the country to document their stories and share them back through various media outlets.
Describe the process of launching the online store/business.
In the beginning it was just a project. I spent some time documenting women’s stories, took the photographs, designed a logo and website and we were off! It got such good attention and feedback right away that I realized there needed to be more. And I wanted there to be more, because it was the best work I had ever been a part of. So, I started with website and social media and we backed into a business plan. Investing a small amount of personal funds helped get it up and going as a corporation. From there we started expanding the brand outside of social media.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Celebrating the women we meet. Telling their stories in a real way and making sure we keep them in front of them in a variety of media outlets from tv to radio to print and social.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today we are still running! Six years in and we are starting to get our legs under us and make this repeatable. Our stories have gotten richer, our networks have expanded and we are proud of the work we are doing. The future is us continuing what we are doing, perfecting the stories and then expanding into wider audiences. We are also working on launching some of our other HER brands…so be on the lookout for brands not so different from FarmHer, that celebrate women in non-traditional roles.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
It’s not all glamorous and some days it can just take you under but the pride and sense of accomplishment that come with building something of your own that you are passionate about and take pride in is worth the roller coaster!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use Shopify for our online store. Media is shared through all of the standard social platforms. Our radio show airs on SiriusXM. The podcast is released via Libsyn to all of the major platforms including Itunes, Google Play, etc. The TV show airs on a national cable television network, RFD-TV.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
The hardest thing to do is just to get going. Dream big, make a plan and then just start putting your foot forward. It doesn’t have to be perfect right off the bat, it just has to BE! Once you are going, keep doing what works and get rid of what doesn’t!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Not right now, but that changes fast!
Where can we go to learn more about you?
www.FarmHer.com has it all!