Two small business owners holding jarred smoothie drinks.
Running a business

How This Entrepreneur Couple Is Bringing A New Boost to Wellness

In honour of Black History Month, QuickBooks is celebrating remarkable Canadian BIPOC small business owners who are pillars in their communities. Here’s how Dezie St. Hilaire and Clinton Redhead, a couple living in the Greater Toronto Area, started their business to provide the community with accessible and affordable options for a healthy lifestyle.

Name: Dezie St. Hilaire and Clinton Redhead 

Location: E-commerce business based out of Toronto 

Business: The Sea Moss Guy Inc.

Can you tell us a bit about your business and what motivated you to start?

We co-founded our business, The Sea Moss Guy Inc., to help educate others on the health benefits of sea moss and to provide the community with accessible and affordable options to live a healthy lifestyle.

Sea Moss is a nutrient-dense algae that holds 90% of the minerals and vitamins our bodies need for proper function. It has been used in the Caribbean as a natural remedy for years and is considered by many to be a superfood. Our sea moss is 100% wildcrafted, naturally harvested & sun-dried in the Caribbean. We are proud to be able to support our Caribbean community back home while providing high-quality sea moss to our community here in Canada. 

What is the biggest lesson you learned in your first year of business? 

Network, network, network. Put yourself and your company out there. If your company has a robust digital presence on social media and you make a commitment to attend as many networking events as you can, your business can flourish. Meeting as many people as you can – either in person or online – could also put you in contact with potential investors, employees, and others who can connect you with more resources.

What surprised you most when you became a business owner? 

Although raising money is essential, so is investing in yourself and those around you. Many skills can be self-taught that will help you avoid a lot of the typical startup expenses, such as web design, the basics of marketing, and other tech skills.

What inspires you most about running your own business? 

We love to hear stories from our customers about how our business and this product has helped them and their families. It lets us know that we are making a positive impact on our community.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome?

The primary challenge many Black entrepreneurs face beyond raising capital is learning how their industry operates. When we started The Sea Moss Guy, there weren't many Black couples in the wellness industry. Like many, we are the first in our families to take this path. This can be challenging, especially when there’s no proven path to follow.

What challenges do you feel are unique to Black small business owners?

Many small business owners, especially Black entrepreneurs, don’t have access to generational wealth or types of investors that can provide the money that is needed to get their business off the ground.

How did you overcome those hurdles to build your business?

Adapting the mindset and work ethic of Black Excellence is an attitude you have to embrace to not fall into the trap of negative stereotypes, the hurt and disappointment of being judged and to be an example to your community that you can in fact overcome these hurdles and win. 

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Many small business owners, especially Black entrepreneurs, don’t have access to family money or types of investors that can provide the money that is needed to get their business off the ground.

What advice would you give to other Black business owners just starting out?

Tap into the expertise of those around you for help, and don’t be afraid to negotiate or barter when it comes to an expense you can’t avoid.

Do you work with an accounting professional? If yes, how have they helped you?

Yes, we do. Working with an accountant helped us to have a detailed financial plan in place and ensure we are always in control of our expenses. 

Where do you get financial and business advice? Do you have a mentor? If yes, how did you meet them?

We found excellent mentorship opportunities by aligning ourselves with a nonprofit organization created for us and by us called Foodpreneur Lab. 

What is a moment in your small business career where you had to be courageous? What happened?

When we started our business, there weren't many Black couples in the wellness industry. This lack of representation can be intimidating when it comes to putting yourself out there. We bet on ourselves, and we were able to create our own path.

What are your proudest moments in business?

The positive feedback we have received from our local community, friends & family.

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going?

Our faith in our product and the difference we make in our community keeps us going every day. 

 How do you maintain a work/life balance as a small business owner?

 Organization is key. Schedule everything, time for meetings, time for work, time to be creative and time for family and friends.

What’s your “power song” and why? (A song that pumps you up and makes you feel ready to take on anything)

Dezie: For me, it’s anything Beyoncé. As of late, I’ve had the entire Renaissance album on repeat!

Clinton: Bob Marley – One Love. It helps to put my mind in a calm state and take on the day-to-day challenges of being an entrepreneur.

How can people support you?  

As sea moss grows in popularity, please remember to support Black-owned businesses like The Sea Moss Guy with founders from the actual communities where sea moss is grown. 

To learn more about The Sea Moss Guy Inc. and support their business, visit their website or check them out on Instagram.

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