“I wanted to do something that would make me feel like I was contributing to the earth, and I wanted to align more with one of my favorite quotes, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Sheri Noordam
In 2015, Shari took a leap of faith and sold everything she owned, and went to volunteer on an organic farm. She traveled the West and found herself nestled in the Bitterroot Mountains. She began duplicating her favorite paste recipes and realized she could earn a living selling her creations.
She returned home in 2016 to Council Bluffs, Iowa, and began selling her cruelty-free, 100% natural with zero synthetic ingredients, eco-friendly products at Farmer’s Markets in Omaha and surrounding areas. From there, her business grew, but she longed to expand.
She dreamt of a mobile retail unit that would allow her the space to leave things set up and move from market to market. She began speaking to others about her dream.
At the time, Shari was working with the Small Bussiness Development Corporation, often referred to as the SBDC. The SBDC offers free technicals service for small businesses and start-ups in Southwest Iowa. She was referred to the Nebraska Enterprise Fund to seek funding to rehab her mobile trailer unit as a retail space.
Working with NEF
“I met with a representative from NEF, showed them my plan, shared my dreams and even the things I was afraid of.” It was only 60 days from Sheri’s pre-application to closing her loan to rehab a mobile unit. “Working with NEF was amazing. I worked with a loan officer who went to bat for me. She took my story to the credit committee and sold my story, something that would have intimated me.”
As a result of multiple requests to attend various shows across the country, it made sense to pivot from her original plan of a retail unit to a travel unit to a unit that would allow her to travel to these out-of-state markets to sell her oils and jewelry.
This expansion has allowed Sheri to expand her brand and market across the United States; she continues to travel to various venues, artist markets, and shows selling her products. The opportunity to travel has created a new customer base and even wholesale accounts, allowing her to reach her dreams of expanding her product line into stores. Without this funding, Shari would not have been able to do this.
Funding gave her the monetary boost she needed and more confidence in her brand. “The entire team at NEF rooted me on. They believed in me and my dream.”
Future plans include expanding into more stores and, most importantly, increasing her impact on people; she lives to make a difference in people’s lives, to see them smile when they find the perfect item. She can connect with others on a deep level all over the country while building a brand and owning her own time.