Colleen Haussecker has always been an entrepreneur at heart. When a health scare made her change her eating habits, she knew that using a lot of spices for adding flavour, instead of things like sugar, salt, and butter, could raise the nutritional value of her food. But Haussecker soon discovered that organic, nutritious spices and herbs were not readily available, even by big food companies. After a year of planning, Canadian Organic Spice & Herb Co. Inc. was born in the fall of 2013 in Watson.
“We're building a brand that the consumer can trust, is a high-quality, organic, clean, pure brand, and people can go to our brand and buy good quality food at reasonable prices. We thank our customers in the end for our success.”
What started as “a full line of retail spices, herbs, and seasonings,” says Haussecker, has grown into bulk offerings and new lines of organic gluten-free oats and fish batters with Saskatchewan commodities.
“Our idea was to launch a full spice line into the market, and then after that, launch products using Saskatchewan grown pulses and legumes etc. and to use our spices to create new and different products.”
While their reach has also expanded to multiple countries, with products currently available across Canada, Australia, Japan, and China, Haussecker is excited to send Canadian Organic to even more locations and countries in the future.
While the operation is small with 14 staff, hiring the right people for the job has been key in building the business, says Haussecker. Hiring is always done strategically to help their employees grow and excel with the business.
“We try and hire people that are working in the field of their natural talent, meaning that we try to find what people love to do and we try to grow their position on what they enjoy doing and what comes naturally to them.”
Every day, Haussecker is amazed by the talent of the people on her team.
“I'm just amazed at people's talents, and when given the opportunity what people can do and how far they can stretch themselves. And I see that with my staff every day.”
Haussecker herself has benefitted from her faith and people who want to see Saskatchewan businesses and businesswomen succeed. Organizations, including Sagehill Community Futures, have been behind Haussecker as she’s grown Canadian Organic.
“[Sagehill] really helped us at the beginning when we needed some guidance and direction. It was awesome to have them there and to be able to reach out to them.”
Along with the staff at Sagehill, many government programs, and business support groups, Haussecker says she has benefitted from a wealth of business knowledge and experience from Saskatchewan entrepreneurs.
When starting their own businesses, new entrepreneurs do have to realize that they are creating a business and they get to decide how many hours they get to put into it. While making their own hours can be appealing to new entrepreneurs, if they are going to be successful, they are going to have to work twice the hours that they did before, she says. Haussecker admits that she is a workaholic and can do 100-hour weeks without tiring, but it is all worth it because she is passionate about what she does. She advises new entrepreneurs to do the same.
“Be passionate about what you're doing if you're starting a business and be prepared to really have to work at it. It's a competitive world out there.”