Linda, it has been five years since you spoke at my book presentation. You were a great example of the teen inspired growth model, the EPIC Model. Now you’re 19. I’d like to revisit your story and your business L. ROOTS as you continue to explore, play, inspire, and connect. Can you please tell the readers who don’t know you who you are and what is going on in your life at this time?
Sure, my name is Linda Kratzer and I’m the proud owner of L. ROOTS. I live in South Styria and since the age of 12, I have been producing and selling my own natural products. I love to create new products and tweak existing ones. In addition to cosmetic products like soap, balms, or aroma roll-ons, I also have tasty and delicious creations to savor. I offer a wide variety of syrups, herbal salt, and jellies.
As long as I can remember I have always been interested in herbs and the way they heal, affect, and help the human body. I continuously attend seminars and trainings to increase my knowledge about the herbs I use. The most recent and recognizable one was my aromatherapy diploma. I’m currently studying Pharmaceutical Studies at Karl Franzens University in Graz. After finishing my studies I plan on further growing my business.
Now with the EPIC Model in mind, let’s start with Explore. What have you been learning? What new business ideas have you had?
I think the learning process was by far the most important over the last years. Due to the many seminars and courses I’ve attended, I’m better able to perfect my products. Step by step, I’m improving the formulas for my soaps, specific biological cosmetics, and other recipes and learning about the business. This is a demanding process and one not that easy to master. I’m still young and because I didn’t have anyone to tell me about these things I had to learn a lot on my own. But now I have a certificate to commercially manufacture cosmetics.
The certification in aromatherapy was a year of hard work, but I am happy that I did it. I kind of rose like a phoenix (as my training supervisor said) because I learned so many important things and skills for my future. The lessons were multifaceted. I learned about marketing, behavior at business meetings, the biochemical background of herbs, how to deal with clients, various contraindications, diseases and how they occur, human anatomy, and last but not least how to create aromatherapy with essential oils. But most importantly, I want to use my knowledge about essential oils to create unique high-quality cosmetics.
During this extensive education, I also found out where I wanted to go with L. ROOTS and what I want to do with this knowledge in the future. I have become interested in human anatomy and may want to learn more about it and become a massage therapist as well. I could use personalized massage oils for my clients. As part of my current studies, I am close to finishing a certification called “Aromastreichungen”. It isn’t massage therapy per se, but it does involve applying oils to the body.
Next is Play which is about actual experimentation. Learning by doing. What new discoveries have you made?
I can proudly say that I use essential oils for most aches and pains in everyday life, not just for physical but also for psychological matters. I’m a quite cerebral person so I use the oils to learn to listen to the heart as well. I learned that things take time and that I sometimes should just relax a little. All this became possible because of different essential oil mixtures. As a result of my experimentation or “playing,” I Iearned that you can trick your body in positive ways.
I recently had a medical issue that also has unexpectedly resulted in play. A few months ago I had a thyroid operation that left a scar. As a result of this personal experience, I’m developing a scar ointment. Since this medical event, I am also “playing” with essential oils that support the hormonal system. It has been working amazingly well!
As an aromatherapist, I make recommendations based on a person’s ailments. Since I don’t recommend anything I didn’t try out myself, I’m always busy experimenting on myself and on my whole family. They don’t mind. I want to know how easy the application is, how the people like it, how they feel, and of course, if it works in fulfilling the desired purpose.
In 2019 I was chosen by the Landeshypothekenbank Steiermark as one of the manufacturers for their presents for International Savings Day. I had to produce thousands of my rose jelly, a quantity I’ve never done to such an extent before. But I did it and I was proud! I creatively made a concept for storage without an actual working space. It was a valuable “learning by doing” on how to work timely and effectively to maintain high product quality in large quantities.
Now let’s move on to Inspire. Who has been inspirational in motivating you to start your business and further push boundaries as both you and L. ROOTS evolve?
In general, I’d say I always loved my work so much that it became clear over the years that I’d never want to do anything else. I just want to get up every day and keep developing my business, create new products, and learn about nature and essential oils. Some friends are supportive, but I’d say most important for me in starting my business were my parents. They always believe in me even when I have doubts. They encourage me to try things out. My work needs a lot of space and time and they continue to support the development of L. ROOTS. They even paid for some courses. I also always consider their opinion when there are big decisions to make because their point of view means a lot to me.
My boyfriend, Benedikt, is also one of my greatest sources of inspiration. We are very similar but in different ways. He too is a young entrepreneur and started his business Remagine, doing web development since the age of 20. We go to business meetings together and encourage each other to push boundaries. We both are still young and sometimes it’s hard to be taken seriously by older people who have had their business their whole life but together we are braver. He also made my website. Thanks to him I can now sell my products online as well.
Do I think I inspire others? I’m not really a self-confident person so I haven’t thought about that before. I’m sure some people might feel inspired by my work. I have raised awareness about nature among children already and I think one could call this inspirational. But what I can claim is, that some teenagers my age might be inspired to start their own business. All it needs is discipline and passion. Sometimes you have to work weekends but if you love what you do you will not have any problems working hard for your success.
Last but not least in the EPIC Model is Connect. What have you learned about yourself in the last five years? What new connections with others have contributed to your development? Finally, I believe younger generations are developing a closer connection with nature. This is particularly true given your business. What new connections with nature you have made since your journey started with L. ROOTS?
I have been learning a lot about myself. Sometimes it even seems as if I just got to know me in the last 5 years! I noticed that I have a knack for understanding human nature. I like working with people. Surprisingly, I also like office work which I’d have never expected about myself. I learned about my strengths and some of my weaknesses. Delegating work is an issue because I have problems with accepting some help. I also didn’t feel comfortable about being the youngest person attending courses. It did take some time for me to open up and to make friends but now I know being the youngest isn’t something I have to overthink. Age doesn’t matter, because people who want to learn something specific are always connected by their interest and not by their age.
In the last 5 years, I got to know so many important and inspiring people who helped me grow. That’s a fact I appreciate a lot. I think each person who comes into your life is there for a reason. All in all, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t met all those people. They helped me, for example, with my first photoshoot. I now have a room to practice aromatherapy in a practice at Haus voller Leben in Leibnitz. There have also been opportunities to sell my products in shops and local businesses.
My new connection with nature is now I know the biochemical makeup of medicinal plants. It’s always been interesting to know that hundreds of years ago our ancestors had tremendous knowledge about plants. They were “learning by doing” and passed their knowledge down over generations. Nowadays those discoveries are well-founded and we can learn about it.
Some people reading this may have teens with whom they can share your story. Since beginning L. ROOTS as a pre-teen, what tips would you give a young person passionate about starting her or his own business?
I think they should know on the one hand, that starting a business is hard work. It’s a long process with lots of trials and errors. They should write their plans down and see what they are talented at but also where their weaknesses are. But let’s not call it “weaknesses”. I prefer to call it “things you can work on”. For example, I have to work on being confident in front of many people so I plan to attend some courses to improve my self-confidence.
But on the other hand, I would like to highlight how truly beautiful it is to wake up in the morning and know you can live your dream. All your hard work is really worth it and it pays off. On days when all seems to stagnate, just try to write down what you have already achieved in life. Write down your accomplishments and what you are proud of. It also helps to visualize your success. And most important for starting a business at a young age is to stop overthinking what others might think about you.
Also worth mentioning is that you should be aware that you are the architect of your own fortune. So, to achieve something you have to go out, talk to people, and do something for it even if it’s hard sometimes or if you have to push your boundaries for it. You are what you do, not what you say you will do or what you wish for.
You can do this! 😉
Linda, is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?
First I’d like to share that we need to work WITH nature and not AGAINST nature. We benefit from plants when they are used as essential oils and when making tea from the leaves of medicinal herbs).
Second, for whoever needs to hear this: You can start your own business if you want to. I’m only 19 and on my way to living my dream. Anyone can do this.
Third, good things take time. You can do your best but you also have to let it grow by itself a little. So you do have time to think and in the meantime, some opportunities can unfold by themselves. Be patient. Sometimes that’s the hardest part for me.
Thanks Linda. As a final question, are there particular people or businesses you seek or feel could be a good cooperation partner as you grow L.Roots? And what is the best way to get in touch with you?
Well, I’d say I’m looking for cooperation in the following five areas.
- I’m looking for partner shops to sell my products. Listed on my website are already some companies doing so. This really helps me get established.
- I’m interested in market places where I can exhibit products.
- For next year I’d be interested in organizations offering workshops for children and young adults.
- I’m open to cooperating with psychologists who would like to integrate mixtures of essential oils in their work or seek doctors who are interested in alternative medicine.
- What I’m looking for most lately is a place to work. My business is growing and our kitchen as a workspace and my own room as an office is no longer the right place. Maybe there are people who had the same problem and who have ideas or know of places in the area from Graz to Leibnitz that would be suitable for the growing needs of my business.
I’m always pleased to get tips. I’m easy to reach, although, as a student, I may not always answer right away. I always return calls. You can also write on my website contact form on www.lroots.at, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to know more about my products you can find me on Instagram (l.roots.info), Facebook (L.Roots by Linda Kratzer), Pinterest (l.roots), and LinkedIn (Linda Kratzer).
Thank you Linda for this exciting and inspiring update. It is truly EPIC! For my German readers, Linda Kratzer will be an upcoming guest on Julia Oswald’s Lunch Break Stories. Stay tuned!
About the author
Jean-Pierre Kallanian is a Human Systems Expert, Conflict Resolution Specialist, Process Facilitator, Youth Advocate, Author, and Speaker. He accompanies individuals, teams, and organizations wanting to fully integrate their human potential. As the creator of the EPIC Model, Jean-Pierre brings out the expertise in groups by encouraging authenticity, intention, and collective wisdom.
Leaders Need More Than Observers
In a world of information overload, a leader’s ability to be the sole key observer in keeping an organization abreast of trends, innovations, and market changes is diminishing. There is an ever-increasing multiplicity of social, economic, technological, environmental, and political factors impacting the business cycle. Leaders depend on the keen observation of others, but observation alone without action falls short. Observation without the ability to act is not only a missed opportunity, it is a step backward. Because standing still is as good as going in reverse. In today’s world, there are strong currents adrift. Knowing a current is taking you out to sea and doing nothing about it will still result in you being swept out to sea. How can leaders create an observer-actor culture to maximize the benefits of what is being observed?
The Observer Obsession
According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, the verb observe is to notice or perceive (something) and register it as being significant. Do what employees deem significant match what management deems to be? Collective opinions matter. To add some perspective, on just one day there are on average 500 million tweets and 95 million pictures and videos shared on Instagram. Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny). What do these mindblowing numbers mean for leaders? Alone, not much. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an observer as a person who watches what happens but has no active part in it. This is why the observer-actor is crucial to corporate vitality.
From Water Cooler Chat to Accountability
According to a two-year-old Pew Research poll, 86% of US adults aged 18-29 are social media users. What does that mean for companies? Every new young hire brings to the company someone who is used to regularly sharing observations on various social platforms. But it doesn’t just stop there. Employees want to do more than simply share their observations. They not only want their voices to be heard, but they also want to have the ability to act. They want their behaviors to have a noticeable impact. And organizations can profit from this desire. This too, however, requires a shift in leadership to have the courage to channel this untapped potential. How can leaders improve the quality of employee observation and ability to respond by fostering an observer-actor culture?
The Idle Mind is the Devil’s Playground
As we go about the world with a high-powered computer strapped to our body and vibrating with every notification we have a lot to see and with that a lot to say. What is the point of observing if not to share with your followers? The problem is this. Unfocused observers can go rogue, using information sharing for selfish gain and harming others, undermining team cohesiveness, and creating a toxic gossip-filled work environment. Cliques form. Sides are taken. People start feeling excluded. In worse-case scenarios harassment and bullying result. The company’s mission takes a back seat while personal emotions and ego-driven attitudes overshadow purpose. Organizations need to understand this basic human need to be heard and to belong. Once this is understood, then action can be taken. The key is to focus the errant mind. How can a company reel in the idle mind with a pro-social focus instead of reprimanding anti-social behaviors all-the-while losing your competitive edge?
Focus the Observer-Actor
Give your employees something you want them to observe and tell them how it is important it is for the company! This also tests their mindset to see if they are in line with the organization’s mission and purpose. When employee attention is focused observations become more targeted. Their ability to respond also improves as they are encouraged to take more responsibility. Organizations creating a human-edge inspired observer-actor culture reap the rewards from an ever-growing observer workforce. Focus the observer’s attention on a specific goal, service, or product. Always have employee attention clearly directed toward developing the organization and enhancing its performance and purpose.
Focused Observer-Actors Create an Open Feedback Culture
When management seeks clear observations from its employees, deleterious chitchat wanes. Innate pro-social behaviors kick in. Believe it or not, people want to work together. Everyone benefits from a culture that promotes pro-social interactions. A group of focused observers creates a peer culture that derives constructive feedback and not harbor toxic rumors. Safety to verbally contribute increases. Speaking up is now associated with sharing an innovative idea or an improvement of some kind. Making your voice heard now brings the organization forward and not for the purpose of degrading a colleague or undermining a project. Feedback becomes solution-oriented. Possibilities become the focus and not what is not possible. An observer-actor culture entrusted to respond creates an atmosphere of collaboration and collective wisdom sharing. Which organization doesn’t want that?
About the Author
Jean-Pierre Kallanian is a Human Systems Expert specializing in conflict resolution, intergenerational dialogue, and psychological safety. He is also a Youth Coach, Author, and Speaker. As the creator of the EPIC Model, Jean-Pierre brings out the expertise in groups by revealing patterns and refining human systems in real-time!