Hartford native Natasha Harris is studying for her doctorate in business psychology, running her startup NaBii Organics, and in the process of becoming a business consultant. Although she spent some time working in Korea, she returned to Hartford, where her roots are, to start a family and launch her business. Natasha spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about her Connecticut journey.
NAN PRICE: Have you always been entrepreneurial?
NATASHA HARRIS: Yes. I’ve always wanted to own my own business and have the flexibility that comes along with business ownership.
I think the way I lead, people tend to think I should have my own business. It’s not that I’m harsh as a leader, but I’m consistently learning and teaching along the way. When I worked in the nonprofit industry, I was always asked when I was going to open my own nonprofit. I knew if I opened something it would be for-profit with a philanthropic piece to it.
NAN: You launched NaBii Organics in 2018. Tell us about the startup process. Did you utilize any Connecticut business resources?
NATASHA: I had the idea back in 2015, when I was creating gifts for my baby shower. I started making products for coworkers and they got really excited about them. Everyone was encouraging me to start a business and sell the products. It was my husband who went ahead and registered the LLC and bought the domain name, which pushed me to get serious about starting the company.
As far as resources, I’m working with Entrepreneurial Center and Women’s Business Center at the University of Hartford to plan how I want to transition into having two separate businesses. NaBii is focused on health and wellness, but the other piece I’m really interested in is business psychology. I want to become a business consultant to help other people navigate the process of assessing where they are now, where they want to be, and how they’re going to get there.
NAN: That’s cool because you can use NaBii as a case study.
NATASHA: Exactly! And it’s been interesting because the focus of my dissertation is: How people use digital marketing to enhance their company or to attract consumers and if whether it’s working.
NAN: How have you been marketing and building clientele?
NATASHA: Well, I knew I needed help with social media, so I brought in my sister, who is getting her degree in digital marketing. She’s doing all the marketing, from email to social media.
As far as other marketing efforts, I’m also attending vending events throughout Connecticut. On a larger scale, I started looking into blip boards, which are rotating billboards where you can set your own budget and determine the time of your “blip.”
And, in addition to the NaBii website, I also have an Etsy website that reaches different consumers. For some reason, most of my Esty customers are from California. Possibly because they’re really focused on health and wellness out there.
NAN: You have a breadth of experience. You have a Master’s in International Relations, you’ve been an ESL instructor in Korea, and you’ve worked with several nonprofits here in Hartford. How does your experience factor into what you’re doing now?
NATASHA: Everything I’ve done has been related to business in some way, whether it’s communication, problem-solving, building an actual business, or studying about how businesses work.
I’m currently working toward my doctorate in business psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The idea to have a business consultancy grew from my interest in quality assurance, which is what I did prior to starting my own business. With quality assurance, you’re essentially analyzing your organization to a certain set of standards or guidelines to determine if you’re in compliance and whether you’re marketing properly.
I really enjoy learning those aspects of business that make you look at where you’re doing well and where you need improvement. It’s helped me in my own business, because I’ve been able to set guidelines or standards I want to adhere to, apply them to the business, and look at the areas I still need to focus on and improve on.
Photo: NaBii Organics Founder Natasha Harris visits Elizabeth Park in Hartford. (Photo credit: Lee-Ann Moore)