Lockdown Economy Nederland in a Lifestyle Marketing Business with Joost Boers
The interview was transcribed and adapted into an article by Vasundhra Srivastava
Lockdown Economy: Interviews by think tank AlterContacts.org with real entrepreneurs sharing insights, challenges and successes during the COVID19 global pandemic to inspire, motivate and encourage other entrepreneurs around the world.
In this interview hosted by Julia Skupchenko, we meet Joost Boers. He is the owner of Feeling-healthy.net, an international lifestyle marketing business, we find out how the increased consumers’ attention to products related to health, and especially to preventive measures, brought Feeling-healthy.net new customers. In turn, Joost and his team were able to provide new business opportunities for entrepreneurs who lost their source of income — cafe and small shop owners, hairdressers and personal trainers, event organizers. Feeling-healthy.net helped them re-skill and equipped them with the knowledge required to set up their own webshop and start sales from home.
Where are you at the moment?
Joost Boers: I am at home. I am doing fine. Actually, we are doing business as usual, as we are normally working from home. We have an international lifestyle marketing business, we promote lifestyle and health and we help entrepreneurs to create an income stream. This is in Europe, States and soon to be Dubai.
Where is your business located? Where is the base?
Joost: It is based in the Netherlands, just close to Amsterdam, a tiny town Nederhorst den Berg, I think many people don’t know it, but it’s good to work from here.
How long ago did you found your business?
Joost: I founded the business 12 years ago and since 6 years we work together with Beyuna. Actually a big part of our business marketing for supplements on completely natural bases and then you see that during lockdown people are thinking more of health so that was for us quite an advantage. But for the last 6 years, we are working with Beyuna and since then we just grow grow grow and that interesting. For us, the whole lockdown period was a nice time to observe and to see how people differently react and that is really great.
And so can you tell me a little more about, you said you noticed a difference in how people interact with health product, could you tell us a bit more about that?
Joost: What happens is that people try to be healthy and now during the lockdown they are really focussed on like, oh, we do not want to get sick. So, they are more conscious about eating right nutrition, eating the right foods and stay healthy. And, actually, that’s sometimes a challenge I know because a lot of takeaway businesses that are open you cannot see them as fully healthy. But, you see an awareness of like you need to do something also because people are locked in. For example, exercise has reduced; gyms are closed and still are, you can exercise outside now, but earlier time and especially in all the countries that is strictly limited to a certain time of the day. But, we also see people say like we want to prevent so what do we do about fitments for example.
So where does your business come in? I understand that there is marketing for health products. So, you don’t yourself make health products you just have clients who are the producers and then you market them. Is that correct?
Joost: Yes. I work together with Beyuna and they develop and distribute the products themselves. What we do is that tells how and why the products are different, but also which business is possible. We help entrepreneurs to create their own income stream in this time, which is super exciting to be able to help all lockdown entrepreneurs who had to close their café, event businesses were closed, the hairdressers. But, also just little shops in town, they really saw a decline in their revenues and we were able to help them with a stream of income that they could create. But, probably on a different discipline that they were used to of course. It is a way that through their normal living, they could do something in this situation and that is really rewarding to be able to do that.
Can you tell me a bit more about what is that you were doing for them? Did you have many clients during the lockdown? So how is your own business reacting to the lockdown?
Joost: We do not have that much staff, we have a network of people that do more or less, of what I do, and what we do is that we show people, like if you look different to the economy. Normally the economy is that you buy a product, then if you buy it in a supermarket, you have shareholders that get benefit or a really huge supply chain, like manufacturer, exporter and importer. The product does not change in the whole course until the shop where you buy it, but of course, every step has its price. As Beyuna is delivering straight to end user, then you see that the cost of the supply chain is lower but also marketing cost because it is mainly word of mouth. What we see it that fitment requires information. So we get information and tell them about what’s different between what you get in drugstore or supermarket and what you get from us. And by doing so you just link people and then you create client base as a nexus who bring who, they can pay out than what would go in the supply chain. And that’s what is creating an income stream that’s possible for all of us.
That is an interesting business model. Have you noticed any growth on your side during the lockdown?
Joost: Yes. We had an increase in product sales normally through the website because people can just order through the normal web shop, but also in cooperation because entrepreneurs are ready to listen. Often also they can be in a safety mode themselves like, oh what is happening here and go into panic mode, but it is, of course, it’s an unfamiliar situation for them. Then, especially after a couple of months, entrepreneurs and people are listening better like what can you do for us, and how can we work together. That’s pretty good. In numbers, we work intensively with people because they have to learn, very often, a new discipline. So, even if we say 2–3 that may sound not so much, but you meet a lot more people. And they create their groups as well.
They all start working on their own business, only online or they start all working for one health vitamin business that you represent? That’s what they are learning?
Joost: They work with Beyuna but they do exactly the same thing. So they get their own web shop, we teach them how to work together and how they can create a referral client base and especially in this time where they are worrying about own business and it’s sometimes it’s a bit of explanation like, this is how it works, but if you introduce business to other like-minded people that want to grow in this time and to save their own economy then we help them to do that to get to people that they know. Then, you can really grow with them.
Basically, you really helping people to reskill in the time of great uncertainty from something they were doing with people outside to something maybe new to them but something that can do from their own desk in their own houses safely. Which is a great thing; it is the first business that I interviewed which is actually growing right now. Do you know what your competition is doing at the moment?
Joost: The competition are different, we have of course competition from the traditional shop, and they just do as normal. We are fully online, all business meetings, which we had physically, they are now all streamed and it is easy to get hold of. And competition they are doing a live thing I think. As we are working with persons and most people that we work with also at this time are already new from here and there. So what we hear is how are we doing this time, and they say we are ok. Some people say that I think I will take a break or I will do the renovation of the office or workshop, or do some painting. People tell me it is hard and I want to really work on my income. So I say, are you open to listen what we do and maybe that is an opportunity for you to help you in this time.
Do you think that things are going change for you in coming months? With the lockdown being lifted, people will be allowed to go out; some people will try to come back to their normal occupation. What does the outlook for the future for your business?
Joost: I think its two things, firstly the people that we work some have put in few months so they know what we are doing and also because they are creating income that is going on, so it’s independent of their own effort. Many people have experienced this once and this way working with us you can prevent, that if it happens to you again, you are better prepared for next lockdown at least because you spread your risk on two streams of income which is your traditional business and then your new business of working with us. So working with entrepreneurs that we have introduced is one thing, but also there are people that are now coming to realise that we do not want to have this second time because we are closed once and then we do not want it for the second time, and then it may be even more severe. You do not know it.
Yes, absolutely. You think people will try to choose a safer road, which is to remain online and remain with the web shop something they can from their homes because there are rumours that something might happen again. What was the second thing you wanted to say?
Joost: The second way is integration. The second thing is also this whole new consciousness of being healthy, and I think that will stage as well, people have more interest in exercise, more interest in getting decent food and just lifestyle. In the Netherlands, we call it leefstijl, which is life, and it is not good to translate in English, at least I do not find the one correct word. And, that continues as well, and that’s what we can also help them with. We have our healthy recipes, where can you exercise and I really like to help people even doing that as well, even if they use fitments or not, it is really rewarding to help people to be prepared against all kind of fiscal sickness.
That is a very novel undertaking to try to educate people about various ways of staying healthy, for staying safe even if they have to be at home. Do you do that over the blog, or share it on your website or in personal conversations? What is your channel for sharing that knowledge?
Joost: Mostly for me its social media, because we have lots of contacts in social media and also personal. As I have said earlier, a lot of information on products we share just by personal talking. Lots of people have personal questions and that’s what’s making it interesting because we are quite close. Even if you say that we have a web shop but because we have spoken to all our users, so we know what they are doing and why. In a way, the webbhop is just a like a section mechanism, but we talk to people and we give them advice and that is what is really nice. Then you hear what is moving them, where they want to go and then you can help them further. Also, in our network, we know people that can help people from other professions or questions that they may have. So it’s wider than only that.
Can you say that even though a lot of people and business have moved online, the interaction has become more personal because it became more face to face like we are doing now? Or more one to one? Do you notice something like that?
Joost: Yes. One to one has also been important because we are talking about people and about people’s health and people’s life, and then we can give advice on what they can do and how can they be best. Online it is always unknown and insecure, there are a lot of forwards but you don’t know who’s behind that name and that label. And here is a person that you see first and can know a bit better than an anonymous store online. Of course, you have also Wikipedia sort of knowledge banks or the data banks you can search for, but then you never come to the personal questions.
It’s also better to have somebody to talk to about these things to have a personal interaction. Your business and your story sound very inspiring to a lot of people who are watching us and might be confused about what to do right now might actually look up the links that you will share with us. I would like to thank you very much for the interview, Joost.
Joost: Thank you for the invitation Julia and it was a pleasure to participate.
About the Guest
Joost Boers is the owner of Feeling-healthy.net, an international lifestyle marketing business. We focus on distributing the right products and services. We facilitate users to create a healthy lifestyle ‘inside out and outside in’. We empower people to take their future in control, also economically what is important in these times! While considering e-commerce in traditional media, Joost Boers saw the opportunities to make use of the potential three growth economies: wellness, e-commerce and network marketing. We work with Beyuna, a supplier of well-balanced natural and GMO-free nutritional supplements. Joost is underway to create an expanding international business, working together with a team of ambitious highly-motivated and passionate people on their way to achieving their life ambitions and economical autonomy.