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Community Highlights: Meet Elizabeth Alonzi of Vetiver Solutions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Alonzi.

Hi Elizabeth, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
The idea for Vetiver Solutions was born in a Grand Challenge course at the University of Minnesota in 2016 – how can we use business as a force for good in the world? Our student team pitched our idea, partnering with farmers in rural Haiti to monetize sustainable farming initiatives, and won funding to start the company from the Acara Institute and the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge. In the years we’ve worked with farmers in Moreau, Haiti to grow soil erosion barriers and increase beekeeping efforts, and through the products we’ve made from these initiatives have been able to invest over $10,000 back into Moreau. We’ve grown from selling our honey and beeswax products at farmers markets to now being in stores across the Twin Cities!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Nothing worth doing is easy, and we regularly have to get creative to solve the challenges that arise. Some of these challenges come from Haiti – Moreau is a rural town in the mountains, and regular storms can wash out roads and cause problems in the supply chain. The Farmers’ Association of Moreau have been excellent partners in managing these difficulties – they are extremely capable entrepreneurs, and leverage their local knowledge and connections to organize solutions. Other challenges we face here in Minnesota – how do we create affordable products that are environmentally responsible from sourcing to disposal? When some of our suppliers fail to meet our quality standards, how do we quickly pivot? Luckily we have a talented team in Minnesota as well with a broad range of experience to help us improve and grow!

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Vetiver Solutions was founded in 2016 to answer one question: could we partner with farmers in rural Haiti to make sustainable farming profitable? Since then, we have worked in collaboration with the Farmers’ Association of Moreau, a local farming cooperative that represents the needs and interests of farming families in the region, to support erosion prevention and beekeeping initiatives that earn farmers more reliable income while also caring for local ecosystems. This partnership with the farmers is critical to what we do — it ensures our work is relevant, equitable, and guided by local expertise. Through these initiatives, we source honey, beeswax, and vetiver grass for natural products that we sell across the United States. We are proud that all our products are thoughtfully made – from every ingredient that goes into them to how the product is disposed – and that the profits we make are invested back into community-led development projects in Moreau. Check out our website for quality lip balms, lotion bars, and honey you can feel good about using!

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
One of the most important things in the last five years has been flexibility. Both challenges and opportunities pop up on short notice, and flexibility has been key to both creatively solving problems and to leverage opportunities as they arise.

Pricing:

  • Lip balms – $6
  • Lotion bars – $12
  • Honey (9 oz) – $14
  • Honey (14.5 oz) – $18

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Vetiver Solutions

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