Dr. Appleseed’s Elderberry Extract
“I didn’t know a thing about social media, so my SBDC advisor walked me through the platforms and apps and I was able to set it up quickly and easily. Having Stephanie to ask questions has removed all the obstacles.”
Dr. Catie Morse, the owner of Dr. Appleseed’s Elderberry Extracts, has over ten years of experience with wild plant ID and medicinal extraction. With her knowledge, she developed extracts as an alternative to overly sweetened and processed nutraceuticals. With the help of the SBDC’s operational and marketing expertise, was successfully able to take her primarily Farmer’s Market product to broad retail and online offering.
Dr. Appleseed’s Elderberry Extracts debuted at an Artisanal and somewhat famous local farmer’s market in Seattle, the Ballard Farmer’s Market, with over 120 vendors and 5,000 to 10,000 in foot traffic. From there, she was able to assess the field and do product research. Dr. Morse chose Elderberry for a long-term sustainable agricultural model – native plants use less water, require less input altogether, including herbicides and pesticides. Elderberry essentially works like a cough syrup alternative and has been gaining popularity. Dr. Morse wanted to take Elderberry to the next level with her production techniques.
The artisanal, small-batch extract is made with native and edible west coast wild Elderberries and has no added sugar, alcohol, or other additives. Dr. Catie Morse hand harvests, with a group of close friends, berries from pristine wild locations. To ensure sustainability and give back to the land, Catie and her team make sure to leave plenty of berries behind for the birds and the bears. In addition, they return to the wild and plant more elderberry bushes.
Dr. Catie, and her team, work in an organic, low chemical kitchen to produce and fill each jar by hand. Currently, they offer two products: Dr. Appleseed’s Elderberry Extract Unsweetened and Dr. Appleseed’s Elderberry Extract with Honey.
When Catie came to the SBDC, she had virtually no online marketing set up — besides her website. Before she got help from Marin SBDC Advisor, Stephanie, her branding and marketing were established by primarily going to local farmer’s markets to sell the product. This time-consuming approach was exhausting and became clear that growth was limited by the fact that she could only be in one place at a time.
Catie realized how crucial it was to develop a social media presence and marketing strategy in order to expose and grow her products. She began working with Stephanie on developing and executing a plan that involved creating a heavy online marketing effort as well as refining her marketing message.
Catie worked with SBDC Advisor, Stephanie Koehler on an integrated marketing plan – creating and expanding her online presence primarily through Facebook and Instagram. Online Marketing efforts were directed to make sales through her website. Each platform was populated to tell the story of her unique product and the sustainable process of harvesting and manufacturing.
In addition, the marketing efforts focused on Dr. Catie’s credentials as a Naturopathic physician. This digital approach enabled her to create online partnerships to cross-promote with other complimenting products and stores. This freed up Catie’s time to be able to go out and develop partnerships with more substantial retailers. Catie connected Facebook and Instagram to her website,
- Doubling sales
- Hiring one new employee to go along with her two part-time employees
- Secure a new commercial kitchen
- Build a strong online presence
- Offer classes on native plants and sustainable practices promoted via social media
- Attracting naturopathic doctors to set up wholesale accounts
- Written up in two Nautropathic Clinics newsletters regarding COVID-19 and immunity
- Ability to invest in Organic Elderberries conventionally grown and have four new products about to launch
- First YouTube video and channel created