Rachel Daugherty is a force and I mean that in the best way. Ever since I met Rachel, she has been dreaming up and creating beautiful platforms with one thing in common, serving others. From founding (and recently selling) Fine Healing Goods to co-founding rhae, a size inclusive online shop, Rachel, like so many of us, has had a year of changes and realizations. When we first interviewed her, it was more focused on how Rachel was building Fine Healing Goods into the premium CBD company it is today and navigating motherhood with the recent adoption of her new little girl, Charlie. But since we started this interview and the year we’ve had between, Charlie is now a toddler and Rachel’s priorities shifted in a big way, more on that later. All this to say, an update was very necessary! Despite all the big changes that have come Rachel’s way, she remains the same Rachel I met years ago – always up for a challenge (or a party), deeply loyal and committed to helping others.
Tell us about yourself, your family and your business.
Hello! My name is Rachel Daugherty, I am a 44-year-old NEW mama, serial entrepreneur, wife to the love of my life, Deaglan, and the proud co-founder of the newly launched retail experience; rhae! I began as a Spanish teacher, and then moved into corporate technology for almost 20 years before starting my own business. Prior to founding Fine Healing Goods I opened a day spa, and we were the first to offer CBD mani/pedis in Austin! When the spa did not survive, it was coupled with my infertility struggles, and I hit a low point in my life. Fine Healing Goods came out of that space to help me continue to function. I have since learned that there are no failures, just learning experiences, and so I am grateful that all my seemingly unfortunate experiences have turned into beautiful life lessons and gifts.
You have always been open and honest about your infertility journey. Can you tell us more about it.
Yes, most people who know me know my story, because I believe sharing helps others learn and heal. I never thought I would struggle with having babies. My sister and I used to tuck pillows under our shirts as kids and pretend to be pregnant! I have wanted a large family since I can remember, but now that I have my small family of three, it feels like it was meant to be. My body struggled for 12 years with infertility. I tried hormones, IUI, FET, IVF, you name it. Frozen transfers, same day transfers, 3-day, 5 day embryos, 3 uterine surgeries, and so much more. We did experimental treatments and mock transfers. After time and 6 miscarriages, we still do not know the root of why I could not carry a baby to term. Then once we turned to adoption, and our first one failed a month before the baby was born, the trauma and gravity that I may have not been a mom set in. It spiraled out of control for me, and I went into a sadness I had never experienced before.
You’ve said before that your infertility journey led to eventually starting Fine Healing Goods. Can you elaborate?
For many years I ate perfectly, worked out daily, took all my vitamins, stayed away from caffeine, wore socks to bed, ate pineapple core, and did everything to perfection (including superstitions) while undergoing IVF treatments, probably to a fault, really. After so much time attempting to be perfect, we were told it probably would not be in my future to carry a child to birth on my own. Then we experienced a failed adoption, and I lost it. I could not get out of bed, could not sleep, ate whatever I wanted, missed showers, the list goes on. Anyone struggling with deep depression knows what it is like when the days turn into weeks and you have not left your room with the curtains closed. Wine and Xanax only made things worse. My husband couldn’t stand to see me so sad. One day, he dropped a CBD bath bomb in the tub (without telling me as I was a non-believer at the time), and afterwards I felt different. I could turn off the perseveration in my head and think about things with a little more clarity and less sadness. I began researching more about hemp, and decided I wanted to share my experience with other people, especially women, to help them through whatever journey they were on. I wanted to break the stigma about cannabis and take it mainstream. After getting our first order from Anthropologie, I felt we were on our way, and it was a huge success to build that brand!
Let’s talk about sweet baby Charlie! What is the best part of motherhood?
Ahhhh, she’s the BEST. Honestly, she is my world, it is so hard to choose one thing about being a mom. This year was crazy – from her birth, to her first year being half in quarantine, and making decisions around all of that. The best is that she teaches me every day to be joyful. Whether I am stressed, sad, or just busy, she makes me stop, slow down, and smile. I soak in ALL her snuggles, kisses and sweetness, because she is already starting to be all over the place, and I have heard from other mamas that the cuddling doesn’t last forever! But I am soaking up EVERY second while I can.
As a working mama, let’s talk balance. What does your schedule look like these days? How are you finding time to work?
This is the toughest aspect of owning a business and being a mom, balance. I don’t think I have a good handle on that yet, to be very honest. As any self-employed mama will probably tell you, you fit it in when you can. When Charlie was born and slept a lot, getting things done online was a lot easier! Now that she is mobile – while she is more fun – she is a lot to keep up with. We had planned for her to start Montessori school in the spring, and then covid hit. I began to juggle motherhood and running the business all day, every day. She has since started school this fall, and so I have time during the day for planning, meetings, and more. I am very lucky to have this option right now! The privilege to have this choice is not lost on me. For a periood of time this fall, while I was negotiating the sale of Fine Healing Goods, I was also working with Ashley Kriegel, to launch rhae, and let me tell you, I was online 24/7. She has since started school this fall, and so I have time during the day for planning, meetings, and more. I am very lucky to have this option right now! The privilege to have this choice is not lost on me.
Since the interview, you’ve had a few life changes! Tell us about the recent changes with FHG.
Well, as we all know life can throw some crazy curveballs. And as my daughter grew, I wanted to spend more quality time with her. I knew I could not run two businesses alone and be present for my little one, husband or family. When the opportunity to pass the torch to another local mama arrived, I was elated. Fine Healing Goods is currently transitioning to a new owner, a fellow hustler, mompreneur and amazing all-around woman, Martha Lynn Kale! I decided to look into selling the business in an effort to keep its legacy bright and growing while I leaned into my new joint venture, rhae. I could not be happier with the new ownership. I will continue to work behind the scenes as it was my first born, but FHG will be in good hands!
For all the mamas with small businesses in similar situations. What is the process like to shop your business around?
I think it depends on how you approach it. Are you done? Burnt out? Out of money? Do you want to outright sell and walk away or have some piece of ownership as a long-term investment. All of these factors shaped how I went about it. I considered going through a broker, but I was lucky as I began mentioning my intent to a few people in my network, the interest was there, so the conversations began. There are lots of options, I would say to other mamas, don’t sell yourself short. The numbers may be a starting conversation, but don’t discount the wealth of knowledge and experience you have in starting your business and all the sunk costs the new owner will acquire. You can’t put a price on the education in your head, so be sure to value yourself as this is key for a healthy sale and transition of your business.
Tell us about rhae, your latest venture with Ashley Kriegel. What is the inspiration behind rhae?
Plain a simple, for EVERYbody to enjoy shopping. rhae was founded over brunch at the Monument Cafe in Georgetown. Ashley Kriegel, my co-founder, was working with me on marketing at Fine Healing Goods. We immediately had work chemistry as she is so creative. We worked so easily together and as we began discussing life over the last summer, one of the biggest things that kept coming into our conversations was shopping. We both love clothes, and believe shopping should be fun, but it was more often than not frustrating finding cute things easily in our sizes. The idea for a size inclusive retail shop grew organically out of a need we both had.
Since launching we have also figured out that sometimes when vendors say “plus” or “extended” sizes, they still aren’t inclusive and maybe only go up to an XXL or a “one size fits all” which we know isn’t a real thing. We are currently in the process of manufacturing our own ‘rhae robes’. They will come in short and long sizes and a multitude of amazing colors. We will have a limited edition run of one of a kind, hand tie-dyed robes by Dye Loot, another Texas mama, this fall! They are currently available for pre-sale now on shoprhae.com!
Is it easier working with a partner? Do you find you guys instantly worked to each other’s strengths and weaknesses or was it a conversation that happened first?
An OVERWHELMING YES. As a serial entrepreneur, I have had solo businesses and partnerships and the latter can be rough if there isn’t a good match in personalities and work ethic. I have been burned in the past and have always decided I would always work alone, and then I met Ashley! She is one of the kindest, helpful, most patient people I have ever met. We both share the hustle mentality but are gentle with each other as we are both busy mamas! The cool part about rhae is that we have age and style differences, so we are better able to pick and buy pieces for all sizes with two different opinions, which we think benefit our customers.
We never had to formally sit down and agree on roles or specify for us to “stay in our lanes” because we basically already played these parts out working together on Fine Healing Goods! So, we just applied our existing relationship, co-founding rhae, and voila! magic happened!
We agreed that one of our shared understandings of going into business together was that this was supposed to be FUN! And if it ever was not fun anymore, we would approach each other. We agreed we are moms and wives first, and that family is more important to us, so that work life balance I was missing running Fine Healing Goods solo, was going to improve!
With rhae being up and going for a few months, what have you learned about the community of women you are serving?
We have been overwhelmed with love and support from the community. We get daily emails, DMs and texts; all thanking us in one way or another for providing a safe space to shop and experience joy no matter the size! We are taking that positive feedback and running with it. Women all want to look and feel good, regardless of size, and we started rhae with this purpose in mind!
What can we expect from rhae in 2021?
ALL THE THINGS! We are so excited to share new partnerships with vendors, more sizes to include more people, and we are slowly entering the clothing manufacturing world in a purposeful, ethical way. We know that vendors don’t always have the sizes our audience needs, so you know the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”, and this is what we aim to do. Starting with our rhae robes, and then hopefully moving beyond into other clothing options. We are partnering with an amazing organization that helps put women and mothers to work, and we are focused on slow, ethical fashion. It’s a win-win-win! Let’s do this 2021!