#030 – How Ashley Strommen Used Lyme Disease as a Catalyst to Start Her E-Commerce Business

In this episode, I speak to Ashley Strommen, co-founder of Sutra, a company that creates superfood lattes. While fighting for her life, she received her Nutritionist certification and began experimenting with natural healing techniques including using superfoods. That’s when she decided to create SUTRA’s beautiful Turmeric Latte and Cacao latte, and created a business to help people nourish their body. What I find so interesting about Ashley is that she turned her life’s greatest struggle into her life’s work and she’s a beautiful example of never giving up.

She shares her battle with Lyme Disease, her biggest challenges with her e-commerce business, why influencer marketing didn’t work for her company, and the marketing strategies that are working for her today.

This is On Purpose.

5 Things You’ll Learn:

  • Why nurturing your personal brand is just as important as nurturing your business brand
  • Lessons about starting your own e-commerce businesses
  • Why nothing should ever stop you from going after your dreams
  • The importance of morning routines and how long they should take you
  • Why paying attention to your body and wellness helps your business
  • & so much more


Check out Ashley:
Website: https://www.sipsutra.com/
IG: @sipsutra
IG: @ashleystrommen 

Spark a conversation! Leave a comment below or say hello @alexbeadon on Instagram.

Transcript Available Below

Alex Beadon 0:00
In this episode, I speak to Ashley Stroman co founder of sutra a company that creates superfood lattes. She shares her battle with Lyme disease her biggest challenges when it comes to her ecommerce business, why influencer marketing didn’t work for her company and the marketing strategies that are working for her today. If you’re interested in E commerce, if you’re interested in living your most healthy life, then this episode is for you. Welcome to on purpose. Do you ever feel like you’re trying to balance it all? nourishing your health while growing your business and living a life well lived? And no matter how hard you try, sometimes you slip from purpose driven into autopilot. Take a deep breath. Relax, and let’s get you back to where you belong. On purpose

Hey, friends, so the other day I’m on Instagram as usual. What am I not on Instagram? Anyway, I’m on Instagram and I got tagged by someone in our amazing community called Hollins. Thanks, Holland. And she was telling me that I should interview this girl Ashley on my podcast. So I take it with a pinch of salt. I add her name to our list of suggestions for future guest episodes. And I just move on with my day. Next thing you know, Ashley emailed us and shared her story and that’s when I knew I had to have her on the podcast. Ashley is the CEO and co founder of sutra, a healing superfood latte blend. Prior to creating sutra, Ashley was bedridden with a chronic disease that left her with debilitating brain fog, constant fatigue and immense muscle and joint pain. While fighting for her life. She received her nutritionist certification and began experimenting with natural healing techniques including using superfoods. So that’s when she decided to create sutra. She has two different flavors, the Tumeric latte and the cacao latte. And she created this business to help people nourish their body. Now what I find so interesting about Ashley is that she turned her life’s greatest struggle into her life’s work. She’s a beautiful example of never giving up. And I really wanted to throw in an E commerce business owner into the mix here on the podcast because I know so many of you guys are in the E commerce space. So if you enjoy this episode, and you want more episodes like it that are in this ecommerce space, or maybe you just have a comment to say about the fact that this is a health episode as well. I would definitely love to hear from you over on Instagram. You can find me at Alex Beadon. Your feedback is priceless. Okay, guys, enjoy this episode. Ashley, thank you so much for being here with me on the show today.

Ashley Strommen 2:40
Thank you so much for having me.

Alex Beadon 2:41
I start every single interview with the same question. And that question is what do you find most nourishing about having your own business?

Ashley Strommen 2:50
Oh, my goodness, there’s so many things. But the first thing for me is that I’m able to focus on my health every single day. And I don’t have somebody telling me that I can’t do that. For all when I worked in corporate America, it was you had to be at this meeting at 7:30am. And Sundays, I didn’t feel well. And I was trying to listen to my body and sit in the bathtub for longer. Or maybe I needed an extra green juice. But I didn’t have time to make that being an entrepreneur means that if I don’t feel well, or if I feel great, I can adjust my schedule. And so I love that I can nourish my body from the inside out by myself. And I’m the boss.

Alex Beadon 3:26
Beautiful. And that actually brings us on very nicely to the first thing that I really want to dive into with you. I want you to tell us about your story with Lyme disease. It’s a crazy one. Yeah, I did a lot of research. Because to be honest with you, and you probably know this, most people are at least for me when I’ve heard of Lyme disease before but it’s like I’ve zero understanding of what it actually is.

Ashley Strommen 3:50
And most people don’t. So you don’t have to do that. It’s it’s very, it stinks that there’s a lot of misinformation in the media and honestly, for doctors as well. But um, a little bit about my story, and I’ll get into proper diagnosis and all that. Yeah, let’s do it. So I grew up in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and I have a tiny bit of an accent if I drink more wine, more wine like I’ve had it today. But if I drink more, thank you, I promise I was over. I grew up there. And I was always in the books. And so we had ticks all over all the time. Like it wasn’t a big deal. Like oh, you have a tick. Yeah, it was more of an annoyance and we didn’t know anything about it. And so I was healthy up until the age of 24, which when I had a breast augmentation enlarge. And at that time my symptoms started. And at that point, we didn’t know it was wrong. So for two straight years, I consistently got worse and worse and went to 30 plus specialist doctors, the best people and they could not tell me what was wrong. They gave me symptomatic diagnosis is like fibromyalgia, recurring mononucleosis, which doesn’t even exist. And at the end, they were saying that I may have early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 24. And that’s why parents were like, You guys are idiots. She’s 24 years old. So we went to a naturopath and they ran the correct tests that diagnosed me with chronic Lyme disease as well as heavy metal poisonings to the point that it was impacting my brain function. vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances, all these things that traditional doctors never tested for. And so at that point, I started doing natural treatments, I started to research the correlation between diet, lifestyle and healing. And so I became gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, meat free, caffeine free. It’s a long list and started doing different mindset tactics and detox, you know, implementing detox in my everyday life, and I started to heal and now I am healthy and thankful.

Alex Beadon 5:48
Wow. So okay, so when you were 24, that’s when you started getting the symptoms. And then

Ashley Strommen 5:55
around 24

Alex Beadon 5:57
Yeah, right. And then it was two years until you actually figured out what it was.

Ashley Strommen 6:02
Yeah, two years of doctors telling me I was crazy. Two years of doctors getting the antidepressants when I wasn’t depressed. Every single test under the ocean that doctors could think of, and it was Cyprus, I just kept getting worse. I stopped having I, I wasn’t able to speak or understand what people were saying to me, I was in so much pain, my boyfriend had to dress and undress me. I mean, I was bedridden. In that. Yeah,

Alex Beadon 6:29
I did a lot of research on Lyme disease, to prepare for this interview. And it’s crazy and correct me if I’m wrong. This is like my impression, after all the reading and watching videos that I did. So you can let me know how accurate this is. But just so that all of the listeners are up to speed. Lyme disease basically happens when you get bit by a tick. And the tick basically, like, injects its whatever it is in its stomach into your body. Right?

Ashley Strommen 6:57
Yes and no. Okay, so that is correct, but there’s a little bit more to it. So it’s not just ticks, a lot of different species can carry Lyme disease as well. And not allow have Lyme. And so you can have a tick on you. And that’s why I don’t want to I don’t want to scare people. Yeah, that’s not the case, you can have two under ticks on you. And none of them have line, you can have one tick on you. And it has Lyme, as well as the fact that if your immune system is boosted, if you have a tick on you with Lyme, your immune system can fight it off. And you’ll never have symptoms, you can actually live in your body for your entire life never symptoms. And but yes, so that is correct. But there’s other things too.

Alex Beadon 7:35
And then from what I understand, the normal symptoms are that like the next day you have a flu, the flu goes away, you don’t really think anything of it. And then it comes back, it goes away, it comes back because way the symptoms vary from person to person. So it’s really hard to be able to say, this is what you have, because the symptoms also mimic other diseases.

Ashley Strommen 7:55
So So once again, that is mostly correct, but adding to it a little bit. So there’s two types of Lyme disease. There’s acute Lyme, and there’s chronic Lyme, and this is this is greatly debated, although acute Lyme is when you get bit by tick, you get the rash, and you get the flu, and then you’re able to go to a doctor and get antibiotics for two weeks, and then you’re perfectly fine. You’ll never have any issues it’s done. The second type of Lyme is chronic Lyme, and that is sometimes people do not get the rash, or if they do get the rash. They don’t know that it’s mine. And so when that happens, I have to turn off my phone. When that happens. Yes, sometimes people can have lingering symptoms, everybody has different symptoms. Some people have physical pain. Some people have brain fog so severe that like me, it lowers their ability to speak or understand what people are saying to them. Some people have vision problems, they go blind, some people they aren’t able to walk anymore. I’ve seen a lot of people in wheelchairs, I mean it ranges from stomach issues head issues body I mean it’s it’s crazy

Alex Beadon 8:58
and so is the difference between chronic Lyme disease and acute Lyme disease just the fact that someone got it and didn’t take care of it didn’t treat it didn’t know what it was. So it was in the body for too long and then it became chronic.

Ashley Strommen 9:10
So acute means that it can be healed with antibiotics very quickly, I’m quoting is a long term thing and in order to treat yourself it’s far more complex and difficult to figure out the right thing that works for you. So so you

Alex Beadon 9:27
could get Lyme disease and then have it for a really really long time not know that it’s what you have but it’s still acute so you’re still able to get rid of it. No. Okay.

Ashley Strommen 9:37
Okay acute is right when you get better you get okay okay, know that you got bit you you receive antibiotics, and now you’re better and that’s the stage anytime it’s longer than that. I think some stats do anywhere between 30 to 60 days, that’s well and turn turn chronic so does lead to chronic sometimes people get bit and they don’t get antibiotics and their immune system fights it off. Fine, and sometimes it becomes chronic, like myself. And that’s when things get

Alex Beadon 10:05
tricky. It must have been such a relief for you to figure out what it was.

Ashley Strommen 10:10
It was, but at the same time, it wasn’t. And that time and this was a few years ago, there wasn’t a lot of information online out there.

Alex Beadon 10:18
There’s still not a lot of information, like I was Googling and researching, and I was like, geez, like, no one’s talking about this.

Ashley Strommen 10:24
Yeah, there’s not a lot of correct information out there. And that’s the tricky thing. And so at that time, just like anybody gets a diagnosis, and then here’s your diagnosis, but I don’t know how to help you. Okay. And not only that, but I would go to doctors that say that they can help me. And then I would say, can I speak to a couple patients that have been healed through you, and they would give me those patients, and those people were maybe at 70%, but they weren’t 100% better. And I could not find anybody aspirational, where I could say, This person had Lyme healed, killed themselves. And now they’re healthy. I there was nobody at that time, that find a single person who was able to tell me, I was sick. Now I’m healthy. You can be healthy, too. There was no. And so I, you know, it was like a death sentence, technically, because I couldn’t find anybody that healed. So it was very scary.

Alex Beadon 11:10
Wow. Wow. So what is the first step for you then? Like, once, once you find out, you found out what it was that you had? I know that you went down? Like you tried a lot of different things. So can you tell me about your journey from going from a place where Okay, have this thing it feels like a life sentence to actually feeling like, oh, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m actually getting better.

Ashley Strommen 11:31
It’s been a long journey, and it’s still a journey. So in the beginning, I have a lot of doctors say that long term antibiotics is the answer to to heal. I personally don’t believe in that, because I tried that. And it didn’t work for me. But once again, everybody is different. So sometimes people work with antibiotics and natural treatments. And it works. For me, it did not. And so for two years before I actually had a correct diagnosis, I tried every antibiotic and traditional medication under the sun, it did not work. When I got the correct diagnosis, they then moved me into dental treatments. And so for me, I did a lot of IV antibiotics, and so not, not in a bad season IV natural treatments. And so high doses of vitamin C, hydrogen peroxide, and ozone therapy, a lot of things from IVs that went into me and nourishing. And then I also had to work on my vitamin deficiencies. So I got shots over the buck, and took a lot of supplements. And I also started to detox my body a ton. So I bought an infrared sauna, which I recommend to many people out there who believe that either have chronic disease who want to lose weight, or with chronic pain, specifically, a ton. I started detoxing just my entire house. And so all of my cleaning supplies, I threw up all of the toxic crap, my makeup, my hair, I mean, my, my drinkware I mean, everything’s glass. And so I went through and I got rid of everything that could be toxic and harming my body. I started to nourish my mind and my soul. And so I saw therapist, which I think is very, very important to get rid of the toxic emotions that you’re holding inside of you. I sought therapy to get rid of issues, sadness, being scared. And I started writing gratitude list. I did a lot of different things. And even today, I am now very, very healthy. I would say I’m 90%. But there’s still things that hit and I get sick again. And so it’s not entirely gone. But compared to where I was, it’s night and day.

Alex Beadon 13:36
Yeah. So I mean, at that point, it’s literally taken over your entire life.

Ashley Strommen 13:41
Yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes, with my life, but everybody around me has a chronic disease in general, not just it doesn’t just affect the person that is affected affects everybody. So my boyfriend at the time. He. I mean, it was terrible. He had to physically care for an invalid. 24 Who wants to do that? That’s insane. You didn’t need my parents were petrified. My entire family was scared. But at the same time, they didn’t know what it was. So they were confused by it is actually sick. How are we getting our help? She’s not pushing going to a weird doctor. So it’s a lot. It’s a lot.

Alex Beadon 14:16
So this is kind of pathetic compared to what you went through. But it’s like the only thing that I can compare it to. I walked into a glass door and had to get stitches. And so then they basically put my leg in a cast for months. And I just I was little girl and I just remember thinking, oh my gosh, this has completely changed everything about my life. And that’s something so small, like literally the only change is really where it’s difficult getting into a car, it’s getting out of a car, and I can’t bend my knee. And then I think about you and it’s like whoa,

Ashley Strommen 14:47
but everybody’s health issue is their battle so I can’t hear my battle to anybody else because my battle was the worst thing for me and somebody else’s battles the worst thing for them. Number one winner on that battle, battle, man, I don’t care what it is, if it’s affecting your life, it’s difficult, and it’s terrible. And you need to figure out a way to make it better. Doesn’t matter what it is, you know, whether it’s Lyme or something else.

Alex Beadon 15:12
So I put you on this major health journey, because from what I understand the way that you take care of your health directly affects whether the disease is having much of an impact on you or not, right?

Ashley Strommen 15:25
Yes, yes. Healing from chronic disease in general isn’t just about taking medication, it is very much connected to my body and soul. So what I eat, what I drink, what I do, how I manage stress, stress, and that’s, that’s everything. That’s everybody. That’s not just people with chronic disease, you know, chronic stress can make you have a lot of really negative symptoms, not knowing how to not knowing what to put in your body, you know, not knowing just soy affect me. Can I eat soya? And am I okay? Or am I not?

Alex Beadon 15:53
It must be interesting for you. Because I feel like we’re still in such early days of this kind of health being trendy, it must be interesting for you to like, look and see so many people who are probably suffering from things that they don’t even know that they’re suffering from. Because when you’re in your body, you kind of get used to whatever you’re used to, you don’t know anything different. It’s hard to compare it to anything. Like a lot of people are stressed and like, oh, no, I’m not stressed. And it’s like, they’re not really feeling. It’s because they’re so numb to it. Do you see that a lot?

Ashley Strommen 16:23
Oh, I see it constantly. I see a lot of people who call me crazy for abiding by my diet. When I see them eat a pizza, and they feel fatigued. They’re grumpy. They’re they have all these external symptoms that I’m seeing with my eyes. And I’m like, Ah, you know, there’s Yeah, everybody can benefit from looking at their life and their diet, Mind Body Soul and figuring out which you know, which items need to be worked on and how they can improve so that they can feel better every single day.

Alex Beadon 16:56
Yeah, beautifully said. Okay. So I’m curious about your journey. We’ve gone through the health side of it. I’m curious now how that has led you into the entrepreneurial side of it. So would you share that with us?

Ashley Strommen 17:08
Yes, of course. Because that’s the exciting part. So it just so happens that I met my boyfriend, Max ALTSCHULER, at the perfect time as the universe always grants. And I met him when I was feeling really good. And we started dating, and it was this whirlwind romance. And we started talking about our health journeys. And his mom was very big into the naturopath community. And so she was always giving him different things to heal. And we both kind of under we both started talking about superfoods. And he’s like, Oh, I used to use this for this. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I use that too. I used to use this. I did do. And so we started geeking out over superfoods. And we decided we wanted to incorporate them into our life. And we looked at the market and what was out there. And every single product out there, that is a blend of superfoods that we found was super unhealthy, had sweeteners that kind of defeated the purpose of the drink itself. Everything we tried, I would test it, and I would get sick. And so we’re like, Okay, so let’s make it ourselves. And Max is an incredible entrepreneur. He’s started multiple businesses, he’s invested in 50 plus companies. And so I was very blessed to have somebody that was very knowledgeable about starting the company. And so he helped me every step of the way. Thank goodness for him. So I also during the time when I was sick, I studied and became a nutritionist, which was very nice. And so I understood what the body needs the science behind feeling better the science behind healing. And so I looked at all different kinds of superfoods in which ones could I pick and choose which ones does the body need? How do they incorporate together to lead to a very healthy nourishing and healing drink, and that’s when I created sutra. And so Max and I worked together to come up with the formulation and then Max’s friend who’s a master sales guy joined the pack, Mac Tomasi. And the three of us just kind of started this incredible drink that I’m drinking right now. This is extra black. That’s amazing.

Alex Beadon 19:10
So explain to everyone cuz I know obviously, but So explain to everyone what SIP sutra is and like, how it comes, what they do with it, etc?

Ashley Strommen 19:21
Yes, of course. So what suture is it’s a blend of superfoods, and so it’s a powder and the powder comes in a very, very easy and convenient pouch pouch that you’re going to pour into a cup and it’s very simple to make. And so it’s basically a superfood latte. And so you can either make an iced you can make it hot, or you can throw it into a smoothie. People also use it to bake with, but it’s basically a dose of health and energy in this little packet. And so we have two flavors, and the first one is our Super Bowl and it tastes like a Tumeric milk or chai latte, and it’s meant to lower your inflammation and boost your immunity. It’s absolutely fun. toxic, especially when everybody’s getting sick around you and you don’t want to get sick, which nobody wants to get sick so time are black. And it’s, it is pitch black. It’s super spooky and awesome because it’s made with activated charcoal. And it’s meant to detox the body and boost your boost your energy, and it tastes like a hot chocolate or cookies and cream depending on how you make it. But they are super convenient, very easy to use, you can bring them with you anywhere. And you can either make them hot, and therefore you just add it to hot water or hot enough milk to get ice, which I did here. And you’re basically just going to pour one of these super packets with a little bit of hot water and ice, add nut milk at a really cool groovy straw like this mermaid straw that I absolutely love. And they taste amazing, amazing. And they’re incredibly, incredibly healthy for you.

Alex Beadon 20:48
That’s so cool. And I love how you guys have marketed it, in a way like to replace coffee. Yes, because coffee doesn’t affect everyone the same way I have friends who love coffee. And then like me, I have to be very careful when I choose to drink coffee, because if I’m like in a stressful period of my life, I just have to completely cut it out. It just brings you too much anxiety.

Ashley Strommen 21:11
It’s crazy how people are now beginning to realize the negative health effects of coffee and it will continue to come out new new studies are coming out every single day that are showing how terrible it is for you. So it’s not just about the way that it makes you makes you feel. Making coffee, which obviously don’t drink coffee anymore. It gave me really bad anxiety. Really bad jitters. So drink it. I’m like doing this like Do you really think you’re productive when you’re shaking as you’re like? Not at all. Your sleep is greatly affected. Even if you think on an unknown sleeping, the quality of your sleep is drastically drastically lowered. A lot of people this is what hurts my heart. A lot of people don’t understand that what you ingest, if you have a baby and you’re either pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding goes directly into that child. And so they’re wondering why their baby is colicky and whites crying, you just drink water. It just had your breast milk. And your baby is freaking out on caffeine just like you are. Yeah. And so I mean, there’s so many different reasons. Anybody that is pregnant or breastfeeding should never be drinking caffeine, just like they shouldn’t be drinking or smoking cigarettes. People that have chronic disease should not caffeine is very taxing on the body. And if their body is already fighting a chronic disease, there’s no way in hell, they should. They should be exerting themselves even more with caffeine. People that have anyway just I could talk about all day, and I won’t but um, yes, caffeine free is an incredible existence. But it caffeine is a drug. And so in order to get off caffeine, you will have withdrawal symptoms. That’s the reality. When they get off of it, they say I feel so much worse when I get off caffeine. That’s because it’s a drug. So you’d be like, Of course you don’t feel good. You’re coming up with a drug.

Alex Beadon 22:53
That’s amazing. Okay, so I’m curious. When did you start the business?

Ashley Strommen 22:58
We started it. It’s it’s Sonia. We started it last summer.

Alex Beadon 23:01
I know. I love that. It’s so new. Yeah, last summer, we

Ashley Strommen 23:04
came up the concept, we went from idea to product in three months, which is how we have heard of from day one, we started working with a three PL, which is basically we don’t ship any product out myself, I don’t box anything. We have a warehouse that shifts everything out for us directly to the consumer, which usually people don’t do that until you’re one, two, maybe even your three. But we decided to start with that immediately. Because we want this to be big business. And we’re taking it very seriously. And we know that we would be a bottleneck if I’m shipping all this out some bottleneck. I can’t I can’t work as quickly as machines can.

Alex Beadon 23:37
So how has it been? Because I’m myself not in the E commerce space. So I’m really curious to pick your brain on what have what has been like the biggest lessons that you’ve learned over the past year that you’ve been alive as a business when it comes to having an E commerce business.

Ashley Strommen 23:54
There’s so many lessons

Alex Beadon 23:57
for your secrets with us.

Ashley Strommen 24:00
The funniest part is that I I was a consultant prior to starting this business. So I worked with companies I worked with E commerce companies, and I helped to market them. But running an E commerce company and doing the you know, running the operations is entirely different than ever known. And so I like to say this is my MBA, I didn’t get my MBA, this is my MBA. It’s not and so the first thing I mean, I’ve so many things to go into, but you know, finding the the right ingredients is really important understanding if your ingredients are going to be available. There’s a worldwide shortage of vanilla specifically vanilla powder is even more difficult to get and that’s our sutras. And so after our first run, we found out you know, we were on a one month waiting list, well, we need product, well we can’t get vanilla for a month. What are we going to do? Things like that, that they didn’t understand your relationship with your three peels or everything. If you don’t have somebody you can trust, then your product is not going to be set it’s going to be sent out on time recording Have a lot of issues with your customers, it’s nuts. Your Branding is super, super important. From day one, it’s really critical that you think about what you want your brand to stand for, you know, when we first started started out, you know, we, we, we, we knew what it meant to us, and we shared our story. But it took a long time to understand what our voice was. And I wish at the beginning, we would have really thought about it then in there and did some market research. So it took us about six months for us to understand that people were using the product to come off coffee. And that’s just because we listened to our customers 100 people purchase sutra, at least 60% of them were doing it. So they when they were coming off coffee or to replace coffee, or because they don’t drink caffeine in general. They’re like, holy cow. That’s a market right there. Yeah. Everybody drink coffee, you know. And so listening to your consumers is really important. Your partners are really important. I mean, I am very blessed that I get to work with my boyfriend, which sometimes can be difficult. Anybody that works with their boyfriend slash girlfriends. It can be tough. You’re always together, always working together. But to have great communication. If you don’t, you’re doomed. Yeah, your company can fail just because you don’t have good communication with the partners. Yeah, it’s really important to understand just when it comes to e commerce, everything from conversion rates to click through rates, when it comes to your email marketing campaigns. Social media is huge. Having a very specified strategy that you’re going to do if you just we learned early on that. We saw a lot of larger companies shipping out free products to influencers, right. So we started out, we tried it. And we realized that that wasn’t leading to any sales. And as much as I wanted to do that, I realized we don’t have the strategy number one to execute on this. And we also don’t have the manpower behind it to hire a full full time person that would handle all of our influencers. And because we didn’t have those two ingredients, it wasn’t a success. And so there’s so many things that you know, just saying, oh, let’s try this. Yeah. First, you have to make a lot of mistakes. We’ve made a lot of mistakes.

Alex Beadon 27:13
Yeah. Yeah, that’s really interesting. So what do you what would you say has been the thing that has worked the best when it comes to marketing, sip sutra, and actually, I’m just curious, what’s the difference between SIP sutra and sutra? Is it the same thing?

Ashley Strommen 27:27
It’s the same thing. Those are websites of sutra is our Instagram, our product packaging says sutra. Okay, so you.

Alex Beadon 27:38
Okay, perfect. So what what is the number one marketing strategy that you’ve used that you have found has worked far better than anything else?

Ashley Strommen 27:46
Yeah, there’s multiple, it’s not just one. But I would say Facebook and Instagram ads, okay, are the thing that works the best for us and ecommerce in general. Even if you’re a consultant looking for online digital worker clients, Facebook and Instagram ads are money, man, but they are a money either if you don’t know what you’re doing. And so people start running ads themselves, and they don’t have the background and knowledge about what they’re doing. And they waste so much money. And it’s really sad, because I’ve seen people just lose the shorts on it. And aren’t we all, you know, you can hire somebody as well. But if they don’t know what they’re doing, or if they don’t understand your product, they’re gonna lose you money to which we did be partnered with people who understood ecommerce, but they didn’t understand the health market. And so we paid them a lot of money, and we didn’t see any return. And so it’s tricky. But, but if you find either the right partner to run your ads for you, and take the, the, you know, the right creative, or if you know how to run it yourself, it can

Alex Beadon 28:50
be a goldmine. What kind of ads are you guys running.

Ashley Strommen 28:53
So we have a sales funnel that we go through. So we’re running quite a few ads. The first step is a video ad that we have a couple of video ads that we’re testing right now that a couple of them share our story. So it’s kind of an interview session between me or any of the other co founders, talking about why we started the business. So that’s one of them. The other one is just us making our sutras. So just pouring it in and seeing the colors and all that and that actually works really, really great. And so that we have those awareness campaigns, and we have retargeting campaigns for people who have purchased our products as well as people who are just in that awareness bucket. Depending upon how much of the video they’ve watched 25% 50% 95% Then they get hit with retargeting on that. And then for people who have purchased our product, we have campaigns loyalty campaigns, and so those then run the people who have purchased our product to try to get them to repurchase a product or they’ve bought x naught Y to get them to if they purchase groceries, you’re black. Okay, let’s try out the surgical. We have quite a few ads B Man and that’s, that’s how you do it.

Alex Beadon 30:02
That’s so cool. I love that you guys have so many like you’re catering to every single individual person based on where they’re at, in the customer journey, which is amazing. So you guys aren’t necessarily asking for people’s emails upfront, you’re really doing the awareness first showing them the interview video. But at no point, are you really taking their email in the Facebook ad process? Are you just trying to get them to sign up? And that’s how you get their email?

Ashley Strommen 30:29
Yeah, for us that email isn’t what we need. consistently see our products and want to try it. For especially for us, and with a product in general, people can be coerced to trying it. But for something like this, it’s either for you or it’s not. For superfood latte, there’s a very specific person who’s going to buy a superfood latte, somebody that that eats at McDonald’s probably is not going to buy a superfood lot, too. And that’s fine. So having email addresses for us, isn’t what leads to sales, finding the right niche of people to market to and then showing them visuals of our product because it’s beautiful. And once they see the beauty, then they’ll understand that it tastes good. And they’ll try it and then they’ll love it. And then they’ll keep purchasing. But yeah, for just for us for our customer journey. Yeah, yeah.

Alex Beadon 31:21
And you’re right, it is so beautiful. And this is just for anyone who has a product that’s visual, the importance of showing it and letting people see it almost in a way where it feels like they’re actually right there with you. Because when you actually see because I’ve seen the videos that you guys have, I’ve seen some of the ones that you have on your YouTube channel. And then I also saw some of the ones on your Facebook page and like it when you pour the water in and you see that transformation. It really looks like creamy and delicious. And so yeah, that’s awesome. That’s really cool. So you guys use Facebook ads, that’s the main thing that’s coming that’s bringing people in as Facebook ads, Instagram ads, what would you say has been the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered so far in this entrepreneurial ride?

Ashley Strommen 32:05
Oh, there’s so many real that there’s just there’s so many,

Alex Beadon 32:10
what’s one that you’re struggling with? Now, if you’d be comfortable sharing,

Ashley Strommen 32:14
oh Lord, I’m comfortable. Everything is the biggest difficulty for me. And for our company that we’re actually doing fairly well. Now we’re starting to see it is that we wanted to sell wholesale to other companies. And when we first started the company, we thought that that would be a big revenue generator for sell our products to places like coffee shops, who would then make our products and sell them to consumers. We thought that that would be a big moneymaker for us. And it has just taken a very long time. So the sales cycle for wholesale for our goods, it takes about 60 days to get people on the line and talking to them and to close that account. That’s a long time to be able to work with. And so So yeah, so our wholesale strategy has taken the longest to kind of get in the groove of but now that we have a couple partnerships, and we’re we have some more in the works that I’m super excited about like crazy. Now, now it’s becoming real. And now I’m very glad that we’ve been pushing so hard on that front, because I can see that, you know, when we get these partnerships done, we’re reaching so many people, you know, coffee shop, and you see this, you know, pitch black, drink this bright gold drink and you want to try it, and then you go, Oh my god, I can make that at home. I don’t have to go to the shop, I can actually sit in my PJs with my puppy and watch Real Housewives. I’m just living the dream for Ashley Stroman. But in general, in their house, you know, like how amazing yeah, so yeah, so that’s, that has been very difficult. But, but it’s starting to pay off. And I’m really glad that we have dedicated so much time and energy to it.

Alex Beadon 33:48
That’s awesome. It’s awesome when you work for something, and it’s like it’s hard at the beginning because you’re not seeing any results because it takes time. And then when you start to like see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just like, Oh, we’re almost there. That’s so cool. So one thing that has been really interesting to me about about SIP sutra is that you guys, everyone who’s involved the three of you, you are all seemingly building your personal brands at the same time. So talk to me a little bit about

Ashley Strommen 34:12
that. Yeah, so I see a lot of companies I think it’s actually hysterical when companies say you know just keep your personal cell personal and you shouldn’t be working on yourself as well as you know the company and I think that’s the most hysterical thing in the entire world but that’s very corporate. For me if you’re building your personal brand and you’re representing my company that’s incredible because you’re giving your personal account as to you know, what you like about the product and if you’re growing you’re reaching more people and I think plastic you know if my if my head of sales who by the way is a stone cold Fox, follow him on Instagram Live will live well with Tomasi regretted especially if you’re a girl a real start up and take pictures. You’re welcome. But you know when he’s growing he’s He’s learning. He’s doing all of that. It’s fantastic if he goes, and he gets to speak at a conference that only benefits our brand, you know, so we all work very hard to keep our Instagrams up, you know, and that’s where we truly believe that we have we serve the most value, as well as we that’s where we place all of our time. His Instagram.

Alex Beadon 35:19
Yeah, it’s really interesting, because I, I mean, I heard about you on Instagram, because Holland introduced us. Thank you all. And thank you, Holland. And then so the, my first impression of you was on Instagram, like, wow, like this girl? Really? I mean, you just have such a robust presence there on Instagram, which is really impressive. So I’m curious, like, what has what has it been like creating that for you? Because a lot of people just getting started. They’re like, gosh, it’s such a task to like, take these pretty pictures, and then figure out what to say, and what has that journey been like for you?

Ashley Strommen 35:57
For me, like, what

Alex Beadon 35:59
are your goals within Instagram? Like, what what do you have? Like, I want to post once a day, and these are the types of things I want to pose like, how has that been for you?

Ashley Strommen 36:08
Yes, so for me, I love taking photos. So it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t like taking photos of myself, that’s been difficult for me that that has began to been a progressive thing that I’m trying to get comfortable with. But it’s still a little. And I think that a lot of people have that. Especially women in general, they’re self conscious about their bodies, they’re self conscious about their poses, they’re comparing themselves to these people who use Photoshop, like nobody’s business. Like, that’s not the real life, okay. As well as people that have, you know, quite a bit of money in their traveling and you’re supposed to compete with them on the beach, and that’s not your life. So there’s a lot of pressure. But I think the first thing with Instagram is just what’s, what’s your story? You know, what, what were you put on this earth for? And how can you provide value for people and the moment that you figure that out, then you figure out a strategy of how to show it. So okay, I was put on this earth to speak to people about healing. That’s my journey. So how can I properly show that, you know, how can I visually describe this journey? You know, it’s not just pictures of me pushing my boobs together. That’s not my brand, can be other people’s and God bless him. But that’s not my brand, you know. So I need to make sure that I’m sticking with why I’m put here, what is my messaging, I think another thing that’s really important is understanding color palette, and creating a mood board. And I know that these words may sound very corporate if you’re doing a personal brand, but it’s very important. So whether you’re using the same filter for everything, or for me, I love what and so I don’t need to take every photo on a white backdrop. But I’ll wear white, you know, wear white top, or if I’m showing off a drink, the drink will be a white glass, you know, so I make sure that I’m always keeping in mind my brand, colors, my brand story and everything that I post.

Alex Beadon 37:53
And what about Instagram Stories? How have you been experimenting with Instagram stories?

Ashley Strommen 37:58
I am, I’m a big story, girl, and I show most of my life. Interestingly enough, what I don’t show and I need to and I’m telling this right now, so I can take accountability is I don’t show enough of my work life. Like right now I’m going to go on and I’m going to make an Instagram story right this moment as we’re talking, yay. Tell everybody that you can do everything all at once. So say hello. Hi. Now I am being interviewed for a podcast. Hello, hi. I’m so excited. Anyway, so corporated into your daily life, even if it seems like it interfering?

Alex Beadon 38:37
Yeah. So I’m curious why you haven’t included more of your work into your stories. Because I’m working. I guess you’re like, so busy doing things that you’re not taking out your phone and deciding to document at the same time.

Ashley Strommen 38:53
Yes, and I think a lot of people do that. Some other doing but people want to see the behind the scenes. That’s the whole point of stories are carefully curated, beautiful imagery that show off the beauty that is your brand. And I think of stories as the behind the scenes like, you know, kind of like, oh my god, I get to poke around to see how this is all made this is and so it doesn’t need to be perfect. And in essence, it shouldn’t be perfect. I think it should be showing your your flaws. For example, last week, I like to test out different healthy products. And so I had this really cool blender, and it was a small blender that you could plug into your computer and it would charge you can travel with it. So I was showing the smoothie I was making I’m so excited and it took this video and I’m drinking it and the whole purpose is be like this works great smile, but it was terrible. And so I ended up like spitting out these chunks. That’s what it’s supposed to be like it’s supposed to be real miracle you know, and that’s part of my life. Not every recipe comes out great. Now you No tactic that I do comes out awesome. And I need to share those and people need to know.

Alex Beadon 40:04
Yeah, I thought it was so interesting that all three of you are like very active on Instagram and very well put together and branded. And I thought that was really, really great. I’m curious about your work life balance, because it’s super important to you, especially as someone who has struggled with Lyme disease. Like, it’s so important for you to stay healthy and to stay in a good frame of mind. But then at the same time you have this growing business, how do you balance that?

Ashley Strommen 40:32
It is tough, but I always put health number one, for me, help is number one, my boyfriend is number two, my business is number three, my dogs are number four, and everything else comes after that. But help always be number one. Nothing else comes behind if I don’t feel good, or if I have something, an issue with my health, and I have a meeting, that means it’s getting cancelled, I don’t care. Like it doesn’t matter if that’s bringing in money, it doesn’t matter. My health is number one, always right. Another thing that I do that I think is super important that I think every entrepreneur and person in general needs to do is to have a morning routine that sets them up to be super energized and focused throughout the day. And so for me, my morning routine may be a little bit expensive than other people. But what I do, I’ll list it up. So the first thing I wake up and I take the dogs out and I let my boyfriend sleep I will make him a smoothie. And then I will make both of us a green juice. So I do a fresh pressed green juice every single morning. I then have my detox drink. So it’s a powdered greens plus apple cider vinegar, and a little bit of lemon juice as well as liquid probiotic. So I do that. And then I have my super black usually first thing in the morning to their eyes for hotter and a smoothie. And then I cook for the day. And so I will make a big ol salad as big as my head. And I have that prep. So I can’t say when it’s you know, 1pm they have an A, I’m so hungry. I’m gonna eat a Snickers bar, nope. Girl, because you have a ginormous waiting for you. So you’re good, you know. And then after cleaning everything, I then do yoga. And so I don’t care if it’s two minutes, or if it’s 20 minutes, or if it’s two hours, I do yoga. After that I meditate. And so once, same thing, it could be 30 seconds, or it could be 30 minutes, I need to meditate. And then finally, for me, the most important thing is my gratitude list. So I’ve been doing this now for two or three years. But every single day I write a 10 things that I’m grateful for. And I try not to ever repeat. And if I do repeat, I’ll try to change it a little bit. You know, I love my dogs or I love that my dogs did this this one time. But gratitude for me has been a complete game changer. Because business is tough. It can be lonely. But if the first thing you’re thinking before you look at your email is how thankful you are, then your workday isn’t a chore. It’s a joy.

Alex Beadon 42:48
Hmm, that’s lovely. I love that you share that with us. Thank you so much. How long does that normally take you?

Ashley Strommen 42:54
I am exceptionally quick and a nutcase through and through. And so that can take either 30 minutes if I want to, or it can take me two hours, I usually wake up around 5am So I got the time.

Alex Beadon 43:07
And is your day, like your average day quite flexible, or are you very like methodical with like, Okay, this is my schedule, and this is what I’m sticking to.

Ashley Strommen 43:16
I am very free flowing depending upon how I feel and what I do. I think that it’s different for everybody. Some people need the exact same thing every single day in order to keep them on track. And sometimes people need to listen to their body and their brain and what’s important to that day, and only you can figure that out. I can’t tell you what’s best for you.

Alex Beadon 43:38
Amen. Okay, I have some wrap up questions that I asked everyone at the end of these interviews. And the first one is what is the one thing you do that has been a non negotiable in the success of your business?

Ashley Strommen 43:50
For me, it’s been taking care of me, I’ve said that but if I’m not healthy, I cannot be productive for my company. If my if I’m scatterbrained, I can’t you know, I can’t help my employees be the best that they can be. If I’m not energized, if I’m not, you know, so I’m not taking care of me. I’m not taking care of the business. And so many people don’t understand that. I think it’s the most important thing that everybody should keep in mind.

Alex Beadon 44:17
Oh, I love that if I’m not taking care of me, I’m not taking care of the business. That’s so good. Okay, sure. One mindset shift that has made the biggest difference in your life as an entrepreneur.

Ashley Strommen 44:28
You aren’t good enough. I struggled for a long time with not thinking that I was a smart enough, pretty enough. You know, all these enough things. Yeah, I think that’s baloney. You are enough no matter what, you know, you you wherever you’re at, you know, you’ve worked your tail off and you’re an incredible human being and you just need to remember that every single day. Something that I did is I wrote myself. I basically wrote myself a list It says all the reasons why I kick major ass. And any day that I’m feeling not kick ass worthy. I read that list and I’m like, Damn, I’m awesome. Do you know what I mean? Like that it’s not something that I need to reproduce. I just stare at that list again, and I read it and I go, okay, alright, girl, you got this?

Alex Beadon 45:17
Yeah, I love that. Fill in the blank. The world would be a better place if more people knew

Ashley Strommen 45:23
that puppy hugs save the world.

Alex Beadon 45:27
By the way, you have the cutest dog on planet Earth. Are they King Charles Cavaliers?

Ashley Strommen 45:33
Er, yes. Yes. She banana bananas.

Alex Beadon 45:39
I love that they’re such a part of your brand as well.

Ashley Strommen 45:42
Oh, my goodness. Of course. There are interns. We put them to work.

Alex Beadon 45:45
They’re the best. Okay, the book that changed my life was

Ashley Strommen 45:49
thinking Grow Rich. Okay, good one. That was a huge one. And lastly,

Alex Beadon 45:53
I like to ask our guests to challenge our listeners to do something this week to take some sort of action step this week. So what would you like to challenge our audience to do

Ashley Strommen 46:03
easy peasy gratitude list? That night has changed the game for me. And I think if everybody makes the conscious effort to write down, either type it out or write it down on a sheet of paper, whichever feels more real to you. More concrete 10 reasons why you are grateful first thing in the morning before you check your email. And I know that’s a big ask. But I think it will completely change somebody’s game even in one week’s time.

Alex Beadon 46:28
Amazing. Thank you so much. I think this was such a good episode. For people. I think it’s a great reminder to put your health first, I feel like entrepreneurs are so bad at prioritizing how their body is feeling and really checking in with themselves before they sit down to work, work, work, work work. So thank you for being a reminder of that. And for anyone listening, please let us know where can we find some of your SIP sutras to try

Ashley Strommen 46:55
you can find them online at www dot sip sutra.com. You can also find them on Amazon. You can also find them in coffee shops. All over.

Alex Beadon 47:06
Amazing. Thank you so much, Ashley, I really appreciate your time today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoyed it, I would love for you to give me a shout out on your Instagram story or anywhere. Just letting me know what your biggest takeaway was. You guys have no idea how helpful and useful it is for me. When you message me telling me what your aha moments were telling me what it is that you took away from the podcast. It helps me understand what is most valuable to you. And it helps me understand how I can be of the highest service to you. So if you could take two minutes to do that, I would really appreciate it. Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope to hear from you over on Instagram. You can find me at Alex Beadon, and I will talk to you again very soon. Bye.