Ei Ei Khin is bringing back the bees.
With career stints in the environment, education and non-profit sectors behind her, it's no wonder that this Burmese-born professional's latest venture is another exercise in altruism. Seedles, co-founded in 2014 with her husband Chris, manufactures thousands of seed bombs a year in hopes of giving the disappearing bee population something to pollinate.
Initially the two hoped that the bombs would lead to 1 million wildflowers, but in 2014 they surpassed that number. Now, the goal is 1 billion.
We spoke to the California pollinator about the challenges of being self employed, the importance of seeking help when you need it and her passion for the environment as part of our #SheMadeIt project.
Ei Ei Khin | Spectrumologist, Founder & CFO, Seedles | 34 | Daly City, California
Across Women's Lives: What do you make?
Ei Ei Khin: We make Seedles. Seedles are a good news gardening product. They are rainbow bright seed bombs made from compost, clay and seeds that make growing wildflowers fun and easy.
AWL: Why do you make them?
EEK: We aim to inspire kids and adults to grow one billion wildflowers to bring back the bees and ensure a sustainable food system for their future.
AWL: What is the toughest challenge you've faced as an entrepreneur?
EEK: We manufacture everything here at our house. Everything is 100% made in America. We also use solar power as much as possible in our processes so we can be a green organization.
The biggest challenge is keeping up with the huge demand for our seed balls while still manufacturing them in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
AWL: What's the product you're currently selling that you're most proud of and why?
EEK: We are most proud of our Seedles Wildflower Seed Balls. We are really proud of them because they allow our fans to grow wildflowers in a fun and easy way. This makes helping the declining bee population everyone can do.
AWL: Can you share a piece of advice for fellow women who would like to start their own business?
EEK: Start small, understand the problems/solutions and constantly utilize user feedback.
I advocate talking to as many people as you can before building a solution, just find them and ask them a set of questions that will help you to better understand them, the challenges they face, and how your solution might help.
Also, do what you're best at, and hire other people to do other aspects of the business you're less proficient at. Sometimes you will have to do it all, but often it is better to get help.
If you know a female maker selling her work online, let us know! Just message us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #SheMadeIt — or leave a comment below—and we'll amplify your pick. By the end of the week, we hope to create a crowdsourced database of women worth giving your business to.