These Where Are They Now? episodes are fan favorites for a reason.
The first time we heard from today's returning guest was all the way back in episode 0132. That's crazy!
Sarah Donoghue (formerly Murphy) has been at it a long time. We last spoke back in episode 1175 — Brexit and the pandemic had hit her Alchemilla.co business pretty hard. Listen in on that chat to find out how she managed to stay afloat despite facing so much adversity.
But here's the thing: something extraordinary happened right after our talk. It actually wasn't the advice I shared that led to it. It was you, the listeners, who made it happen!
Joining us today is someone who has become an integral part of Sarah's business as a direct result of that episode. So you'll also hear from Ashton Cayce of SausageTreeLotion.com about how she's now bringing Sarah's vision to a whole new market.
This is a fantastic discussion about the logistics, manufacturing, and distribution of physical products. It's also a great reminder, especially for any of us who are struggling right now, that the results we're looking for might be just around the corner!
Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Unstuck, to get tips, tools, and my best advice for creating a thriving online business.
AP 1258 Where Are They Now? Sarah Donoghue (formerly Murphy)
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to episode 1258 of AskPat 2.0. You're about to listen in on a Where Are They Now? episode. This is a fan favorite as far as a type or framework because we bring back somebody who had once been on the show before, and this is really cool because we get to hear an update and what's going well, maybe what didn't go well? Did they take that advice? Did they not take that advice? And it's always an interesting and fun moment to just kind of discover, well, where are they at now in this journey? And Sarah from Alchemilla, she'd actually been on AskPat twice before, so this is a third time. And something really cool has happened since then.
Although the last time we chatted with her in episode 1175, it wasn't going so well. There were a lot of issues with the manufacturing and creation of her sort of skin medication, which is used to clear up eczema and, and some other really bad things. Things that people were using just weren't working, but her item was.
And so she felt this mission to go out there and help the world. And unfortunately, during the pandemic, that kind of all came to a halt and a stop because of the manufacturing places and some issues with the chain of all that needs to happen in order for this medicine to go out there. Her sausage tree sort of medication has been revolutionary for some people.
To not be able to get it out there, I mean, that was very difficult. We talked about that the last time in 1175. Today, however, we get an update and it's not just Sarah anymore. There's somebody else who's here with us, and that is noneother then Shannon. It's a customer slash now partner in a sense with Sarah.
Her name's Ashton, and she's in the US and we talk about this sort of international partnership and how they're working together. And it's just a really amazing thing because sometimes the answer to your problems are what you need, doesn't lie within you. Sometimes it requires you to go out and find other people, and that's exactly what Sarah did.
And so we talk about this partnership, how it came to be and, and where things are at now. It was a tough conversation the last time, but today you'll hear that we end on a much, much more positive note, and I hope this inspires you too. So, oh, and there's one more thing that I have to tell you. I am not a perfect human being.
You'll hear that my audio, in this particular episode, and then the next few, because I was recording them all in a batch, is not great. And it's because I had the wrong microphone selected. Even a podcaster like myself who's been doing this for over a decade who has thousands of episodes still makes this mistake.
And maybe that inspires you too. But anyway, you'll be able to hear me. And this isn't about me, of course, this is about our amazing guests here. But I just wanted to let you know, and kudos to the audio engineers as well, who are listening to this right now, who are like, okay, Pat, I didn't know. And now we're gonna have to figure this out.
They're gonna do their best to make it as best as possible for you. But again, I make mistakes and I hope that's okay. If you did hear this and, and it did make you feel a certain way, went away or another hit me up on Twitter or Instagram at @PatFlynn. Anyway, I appreciate you so much for understanding.
This is Sarah Donahue. She was formally Sarah Murphy the last time we chatted over a year ago, so Sarah from Alchemilla. Enjoy.
Pat Flynn: Sarah and Ashton, welcome back to AskPat 2.0. Thank you both so much for joining me today for a, Where Are They Now? episode. I'm really excited about this. Thank you again for, for taking the time.
Ashton Cayce: So excited to be here.
Sarah Donoghue: I know it feels like ages since the last time we spoke.
Pat Flynn: It has been ages, you know, and you know, a lot can happen in a very short period of time. So, Sarah, maybe I can ask you to start out with what you remember from the last time we chatted. Was there. Thing that you sort of remember from that conversation and you wanna maybe just kind of reestablish where you were at that time, for everybody who's listening who maybe didn't listen to that episode that we did together?
Sarah Donoghue: Yeah, so it was the time just after Brexit and the Pandemic, so a few things had happened, which led to a chain of events, which kind of tanked out my market. So I was in a situation where I wasn't able to ship to my customers in the way that I had before. And I was also having some issues with my manufacturer, partly because of the lockdown, but also because there was a, an incident at the manufacturing plant, which meant that they weren't able to make that.
But amazingly, Ashton's husband was listening to your show. And went home and said to Ashton, I've just heard, AskPat, and we've been, you're talking about all of these, the sausage tree cream and all these other things that we were going on about. And it was then that we connected and Ashton contacted me and at first we she, Ashton, was my client and began to purchase the, the product from me. And we just talked about the issues of having the shipping and how difficult it was to get over there. And now we are tentatively exploring the possibility of Ashton becoming a distributor for the sausage tree cream in the us.
So that's all because of your show.
Pat Flynn: That's so crazy. Feel like maybe a little bit of a matchmaker here in that, in that kind of way. But that's so incredible. And you know, that's, that's why you know, well in the intro, which I'll record after this, but people have already heard, you know, it wasn't the both of you on that show.
It was just you, Sarah, and then now Ashton's in the picture. So I was really curious to see like how this came about. So Ashton, if you could tell me a little bit about conversation that you and your husband had after he listened to this episode, and what was going through your mind here and what made you want to reach out?
See what you could do to kind of partner together and, and do something.
Ashton Cayce: Yeah, so my husband is a big fan and he's a podcast freak at, should I say, so he's always listening to podcast episode, but he heard her and we also love the Natural and we've tried everything under the sun with my son who is seven and been dealing with severe eczema for a long time. So when we heard about that product, it was like, Hey, let's try it. We've tried everything. This thing sounds interesting from a cool, the sausage tree, the African sausage tree plant. So we did, we ordered it and it did just that. It was amazing. He was, I mean we've, there's a whole story of what we've done with him diet wise and other things, but still the skin, the issue was the problem.
So when I reached out to her, she shipped it, we got it, and then our relationship began to build because she's also so qualified as a naturopath and an herbalist. And I had issues too. So it just got to the point when I was like I want to have this here in America for other people that I know and for me to cut down the shipping costs.
So from there, something amazing was created and born.
Pat Flynn: That's so cool. Sarah, I think I remember the last time we chatted, I had leaned into the fact that this is something that you've created that helps so many people, like it will eventually make its way into the parts of the world where it will benefit people.
And I didn't know how that was gonna happen. And then here we are with literally that unfolding as we're, as we're going, which is real interesting. So, Sarah, from your point of. When Ashton reached out to you and she sort of was like, Hey, like I'd love to help distribute this in the US, like what was going through, through your mind, you've had experiences with distributors and manufacturers before.
What made this maybe different and, and you know, I know you said that she was a client, but what was going through your head around that time and how did you know that this was the right path forward for you?
Sarah Donoghue: Previously, my market was in the US so most of my customers were based overseas. And of course after Brexit, the shipping costs and everything just went so chaotic.
It's still not very stable at the moment, and so people just stopped buying and it was a almost a case where the, the shipping was costing more than the product. And it was just heartbreaking because so many of the people that I've connected with and helped and had been working with, it was just radio silence.
And it, I mean obviously it's your, the business, it's, you know, that difficulty. But also just to kind of cut off the supply chain to people that had used that project and it had been helping them. It just felt awful. And so of course the sales tanked and I was trying to think of ways to get around this and when Ashton said, I wonder if there's a way that we could, you know, possibly get it into America.
So to be honest, we are still dealing, aren't we, with some of these issues with the, the shipping and at the moment we are just shipping in small batches to tentatively test the water and see how it goes. But I mean, we've had a really good response so far. I think really what we kind of need help with, if anything we were so keen to ask your opinion about, was sort of how do people get around that issue of when their orders become large enough to fulfill, you know, how do they take, make that next leap from being a small batch producer to somebody that wants to, I mean, the US is so much bigger than the UK so you can imagine the potential there. I mean, we don't have to grow so quickly that we can't find our feet, but at the same time, we're missing out on this opportunity because people are asking, people want the product. And we're kind of at that stage where we're in the middle ground, aren't we? Where we've got everything ready, we've got the website ready, it's ready to sell, it's ready to ship.
It's just the cost issue of, and also the logistics, I suppose, of getting from A to B.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Physical product world is difficult in that way, right? Like digital products, we don't have to worry about that kind of stuff cuz things can just cross over the internet and cross over the pond no worries. I'm reminded of a friend of mine here in San Diego's name's Kevin Espiritu who's a, he's actually been on the podcast before.
He has a channel on YouTube called Epic Gardening, and he's actually the sole distributor for a product that comes out of Australia. Oh, okay. And this product is, is called Birdie's raised garden beds. He has since purchased a warehouse to store these because the demand has been so high and it allows for the US to receive them a little bit quicker than if they were to just come directly from Australia.
And so maybe I can get you in contact with him just to kind of see how that distribution flow works and, and kind of the deals that happen there. Because honestly, that's a little bit beyond my own expertise. But what I do know is that he will often pay for a certain number, like a certain quantity of them, which in the beginning is a little scary cuz you're like, wow, we're ordering a whole bunch of these.
It's gonna be cheaper to large batch to produce them. But that's still like you're banking on these things selling, right? So he's done some things to promote it on his website and even collect like a wait list for for them before he gets those batches. Or before, he's not making things like you are, but he's getting these things built and manufactured and then, and then shipped over, and then what happens?
He puts in an order and he'll often order a little bit more than when he knows the demand is because he knows that they're going to sell eventually and the price will be cheaper. And then he eventually waits for a shipping container of these things. Cuz these boxes are huge. I mean, that's the benefit of what you have.
These, these items are a little bit smaller but he needs a warehouse to hold them. That's where that came from. But I can put you in contact with him. He's a good friend of mine. He'd love to, I'm sure maybe Ashton speak with you and, and Sarah, you as well, just to kind of help with wrapping your head around all that, cuz it is a little bit confusing and I think the best way to solve that problem is to find somebody who's doing something like that and just ask like, Hey, how does this work?
And how do you deal with this? And how do you deal with that? I'm happy to do that if, if you think that would be helpful.
Sarah Donoghue: That's super helpful. Definitely. Yeah, actually I, I mean, things have developed quite a lot since then. I've been in contact with some people that actually grow the sausage trees and they are, they've implanted at the same time as these little boys that are now growing up with the trees and they're learning how to process it.
And, you know, going forward it would just be so amazing if we could source direct from the growers. I mean, I know that's a long, long way down the line, but you know, we've been waiting and hanging on for such a long time with things stopping and starting, but I, we really are at the point now where we just want to give it our all and get stuck in, aren't we Ashton?
Pat Flynn: That's right. That's amazing though. I mean, that's really cool. And that would be great to source them from, from the US as well, just so there's less traveling. You know, that all matters with like, you know, environmental things, right? All the, the, the, the shipping back and forth and like, there's just like all these other things to consider all around that.
So the more localized you can do for your customers, the better, obviously more jobs created. I think this is a, this is a big thing, so I definitely would just recommend to continue to ask questions and push forward and, and experiment, but also be smart about it. You don't want to just open up the card and have, you know, 10,000 orders and not have a batch ready to, to be, to be made for them.
But then there's the other part about like, well, we don't want to, you know, collect payments now and then have them wait six months for their thing. Right. I mean, that's an interesting thing and we're seeing some of that in the SwitchPod side of stuff, cuz I have some physical product experience, but it's, it's not huge scale.
It's not that complicated. I mean it's China to US and then to customer, but this is a lot, honestly, more important. And I think that for that reason, you know, you will probably, even after this episode, have a lot of people reach out to want to help both of you as well. So if anybody's listening and wants to offer help, Ashton, maybe you, where can they go and reach out to you and, and Sarah, how do they get in contact with you both?
Ashton Cayce: Yeah. For me, the US side of Sausage Tree lotion is literally SausageTreeLotion.com and you can just go there and you can easily shoot me a message. I'm always on Instagram as well. It's the same handle @SausageTreeLotion. And you can email me personally, [email protected]
Sarah Donoghue: I've started a Substack newsletter now, which I'm really getting into, and I've found that that's been really great.
I've had a really good response from that, much more so than I'd had with my original mailing list. So talking about the sausage tree stories and the, you know, the, the things behind it, rather than just focusing purely on, you know, marketing for people with, with skin conditions because it is so helpful, but it's also such a rare ingredient.
There's not a great deal of authentic information out there already for people to find. So I'm trying to create that library so that people can go to those resources and they can see, you know, the scientific papers and so it's not just, oh, here's another cream that you can try, because we really appreciate that people spend so much money already on your manner of lotions and potions. And our goal is really to create a product that works, but it's also not going to cost you the earth, and it's not going to be something addictive that you have to keep on buying and buying and buying to just manage things topically. So that Substack newsletter has been a really good sort of outlet to reach people through that.
So I, yeah, so my website is Alchemilla.co. Which always throws things up cuz people put.com or co.uk. I dunno why I did that. I dunno, I think, I think there's quite a famous restaurant with a, the similar name. So it's people tend to get the team mixed up. So the Substack Newsletter is the herbalist diary and that's a pretty easy one to remember.
Pat Flynn: Cool. Well, we'll link to that in the show notes for everybody obviously. And I'm. In the US obviously, and I think in other countries too, there, there are these TV shows where people come on to pitch their ideas like Shark Tank, right? In in, in the us. Like would this be something that you, if you had the opportunity to pitch this on Shark Tank, would you do that you think?
Just a random curiosity.
Ashton Cayce: If it reaches people, Then that's great.
Sarah Donoghue: That's just cause I went to a trip to America. I haven't been on holiday for goodness knows how long.
Ashton Cayce: You know, but I think for me too, there's another component to just the cream and, and I will plug her because she's amazing with her information about how the human body works and it is the cream.
But eczema, skin issues sometimes are more than just a topical treatment. Sometimes there's something on the inside. So I think to just sell the cream is wonderful, but we wanna combine that with some educational materials so people can be healed and fixed from the inside out. So that's another piece for the puzzle.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that's wonderful. And I love, I love what Sarah said who just happened to drop on the call, which is fine, but you and I can can finish up here. She, she maybe was like, ready to get on Shark Tank right now. She's like, I'm gonna go and find that recruiter right now. She, she's just up and left.
That's, it's just, I love what she said about the newsletter and, and finding that sourced material. Cause that is gonna be something that people, I'm sure have already started asking about. And as the company continues to grow, and especially in the US we're, we're very concerned about like, well, what's, what are we putting on our bodies?
And like exactly. And that's a question I imagine like, I don't know, Mark Cuban asking like, Hey, how legit is this? Right? Like, can you show me the paperwork? So I, I think that's super smart to get ahead on that. And then like the last question I have for you, Ashton, is related to just the partnership. Like how are you approaching the partnership as far as you know, and I know you both are doing this for the right reasons and you wanna help as many people as possible, but there's also some formalities and some administrative stuff and, and numbers involved. Like what is your, your thought around sort of that approach and, and making sure, you know, we're still doing things for the right reason, but also we're still getting rewarded for the, for the work that we're doing and whatnot. Like, tell me your thought process about that cause that that can be difficult to navigate sometimes.
Ashton Cayce: It can. So truthfully, we're not in business together. We're just partnering in the sense of working together. So this is my business and I am the exclusive US distributor for the product. I purchase it from her wholesale. But because I'm a mom of three and I'm not a medical professional, it's a beautiful partnership because my pitch in America is really for families because that's what it did, it benefited my family. It gave relief for me and my husband as parents, and it gave amazing relief and healing for my son. So I know that whole deal of a mom. Sarah isn't a mom, so she's like, I don't know, but I'm like, your product's amazing and your knowledge is amazing. So that's why I said, even for the future, that we'd be able to put small courses or some digital product to explain how to use it.
And then with me teaming as a mother perspective, it's not all like, you know, sciencey, it's more like empathetically. I know what it's like to be up all night wrapping your son's arms cuz he is scratching them until they bleed open. But this is the protocol that we use with the lotion and that's what we wanna offer.
So I think it's just really educational partnership and then she's my wholesaler, but both of us are, and we're friends at the core. That's what started it all. But yeah, it's, it's a separate business, just a theoretical partner.
Pat Flynn: That's awesome. Well, I'm curious to see where this is gonna go and, and I hope it goes big and, and it goes smoothly as possible for, for both of you.
So we'll put all the links in the show notes for everybody. But Ashton, thank you so much for coming on and welcome. And also congratulations. This is amazing. Sarah, who also just jumped on the call earlier. Just thank you. I know you're listening to this later. We look forward to supporting you here over at SPI and wishing you all the best.
Ashton Cayce: Thank you so much, Pat. You're awesome.
Pat Flynn: Thank you. You're awesome too. Take care.
All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Sarah and Ashton. Really amazing to hear how they came together and I'm just so excited because I know that they're just at the start of this journey. They're still figuring things out and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
So Sarah and Ashton keep up the great work. Thank you so much for coming on today and sharing where you're at, and we look forward to hearing where you're gonna be. It'll be a lot of fun. So thank you so much again for listening everybody. I appreciate you. Look out for another Where Are They Now? episode.
And again, thank you so much for understanding my audio issues and it happens to all of us, right? So cheers. Take care. Hit that subscribe button so you don't miss out on the next one. And I'll see you soon. Bye.
Thanks for listening to AskPat at AskPat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.