Starting a Health Food Business

Interview with Donna Ratner, Founder of Cell-Nique

After experiencing medical problems, Donna Ratner found organic foods and holistic healing. Today, she and her husband have a business selling Cell-Nique, a superfood drink.

Donna Ratner founded Cell-Nique in 2006 in Connecticut.

Tell me about your business?

My husband and I manufacture a USDA Organic SuperGreen Drink called Cell-Nique.

How did you come up with the idea for Cell-Nique?

My husband, Dan was a California surfer who has spent the last 20 years in Health Care Finance. I am a New Yorker and a Founding Pioneer of the MTV Marketing Department. The stress and lifestyle left me with 30 lbs. of tumors and the possibility of never bearing children. I left NYC, moved to CA and Dan was the person who introduced me to organic food and holistic healing. This way of living allowed me to heal my body, mind & spirit.

Now 22 years later, we have 3 teenagers; I am a certified Integrative Health Counselor; and Dan was able to formulize our lifestyle into a bottle that contains 31 superfoods. We are commited to educating and offering the world an authentic, convenient way to support the strengthening of one's health on a daily basis.

What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?

We have both been involved in start-up businesses since the 80's. Some have been successful and some not. This is the first business that we have done financially on our own.

Many people think about starting a business with their spouse. How has it been for your and Dan?

We work hard at separating business from personal. We need to commit to giving ourselves down time. I need to work very hard to be ultra-organized and time sensitive with home and family and to not giving in to Dan working 7 days/week.

For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?

I think that starting a business is a wonderful way to carve out a woman's own identity and give her an opportunity at an independent future without having to rely on someone else supporting her during or even after a failed marriage.

I am also an avid believer in being a role model for our children. If mommy is happy, the whole family is happy. But with this said, I also feel very strongly about raising your own children and not handing them over. Children model what they grow up experiencing and if a woman could "bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan" and still be a good wife and mother - then having it all is a beautiful thing.

How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?

We are in an industry that we had no prior experience in, so we literally started from the bottom. When we recognized that we needed to bring in investors - the economy dropped right at our feet with no potential outside money in sight. We have always been entrepreneurs but the stakes are much higher now. We have become much more creative in our efforts to continue to grow in this economy and think outside of the box. The word "resiliency" comes to mind as we continue hand-in-hand down the unknown length of this tunnel towards our big bright light.

What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?

Walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Recognize your true passion and create a mission for giving something back to the world.

Thank you Donna for sharing your story. Best wishes for a successful year!

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