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How to turn your own healthy lifestyle into a business?

You can try to get an answer to this question from the charming girl Nadezhda Semenova-Bryullova, who managed to create a whole chain of I-ME health food stores in five years.

What kind of business is this, and what pitfalls its organizers can expect, Nadezhda will tell with pleasure.

How to turn your own healthy lifestyle into a business?

By education, Nadezhda is a psychologist with a crust on education received at Moscow State University. During her studies, she not only carefully studied books on practical psychology, but also was constantly interested in proper nutrition, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle.

Nadezhda Semenova-Bryullova admits that literally seven years ago she could not even imagine that her brilliant career in the role of a Russian Railways consultant in resolving internal conflicts could end in an instant. Like most business stories about women, her story begins with the words “in 2007 I went on maternity leave …”

From that moment, questions that were given less time while working at Russian Railways came to the fore.

The quality of products bought and eaten by the family, their origin, purity and usefulness … How to spend money and get a really good, worthy product? Nadezhda finds the answers to these questions in independent purchase of products for herself and her friends in small wholesale warehouses. So far, all records are maintained in a Google spreadsheet, and access to high-quality products is received only by a select few.

Six months later, Nadezhda decides to improve her hobby and organizes an online store that works on a club basis. That is, along with quality products, buyers receive information about proper nutrition and healthy food. At this stage, Nadia devotes a lot of time to studying the food market – she learns how to process, produce and store cereals, nuts and dried fruits, travels both in the country and in foreign countries in search of high-quality and inexpensive products.

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The first I-ME stores (the “Real Food Online Store”) began to operate simultaneously in both Moscow and Kiev. In Ukraine, the store was organized under the guidance of familiar raw foodists Maria Rasvetsaeva and Pavel Sebastyanovich. Initially, the guys did not plan to sell goods to “outsiders,” but they did not restrict access to the site, and so the first customers appeared.

Moreover, there were not twenty or thirty customers – the number of customers quickly exceeded one thousand. Hope had to think through and organize the procurement of food supplies of long-term storage – dried fruits, nuts, cereals, which helped minimize logistics costs. The first warehouses and points of delivery of goods were rented on the territory of friends’ companies.

At the beginning of 2010, the I-ME company opened its first store, and Nadezhda understood that it would not work to combine the work of a psychologist in Russian Railways and a business woman, therefore, she made a strong-willed decision and quit her job.

Where to get money to start your own business? It is this problem that 95% of beginning entrepreneurs face! In the article “Where to get money for a business,” we revealed the most relevant ways to get start-up capital for an entrepreneur. We also recommend that you carefully study the results of our experiment in exchange earnings: “see the results of the experiment”
Initially, none of the founders of the business — neither Ukrainian partners, nor Nadezhda herself — thought about selling franchises to the regions, but those who wanted to open similar business projects in their regions both in Russia and Ukraine began to appear among buyers.

Pavel took up the development of a network of branches across countries, Maria was engaged in the preparation of materials necessary for training employees in branches, and Nadezhda was engaged in the Moscow market segment and was the “face of the company”.

It took only a few months to open the first ten branches in Russia and Ukraine: all partners started working in the format of online stores, and then some moved to offline space. Branches were not obliged to buy all products from the “parent” store, the rules prescribed only a ban on the sale of the mass market in the I-ME network.

Soon, the range of goods was expanded with environmentally friendly cosmetics and household goods: because if a person begins to think about what he eats, then soon he will begin to want to use healthy and environmentally friendly products.

The number of branches grew rapidly and by the spring of 2011 the number of franchises sold exceeded fifty. At this moment, the relationship of hope with Ukrainian friends and colleagues deteriorated. It turned out that the former partners look differently at the further expansion of the network, at the possibility of creating competition within the company.

All this led to the expected protracted conflict, which lasted about a year. The result was a large number of closed points of sale – approximately half of the branches closed in 2011-2012, Nadezhda several times tried to close all debts and leave this business, but the team kept it in the project.

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