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Interview with Monica Ruffo, Founder of Santé bien cultivée

Making change…one plant at a time! Her many years in the business world coupled with her personal story have made Monica Ruffo the passionate entrepreneur that she is—and never one to back down from a challenge. Proof positive: her most recent and highly successful project, Santé bien cultivée. Interview with an inspiring woman who has always trusted her gut in developing a line of 100% natural and organic supplements, which are made in Canada, to boot.

How did you cultivate your interest in exclusively plant-based products?

“Health has always been a core value of mine, but when I got my breast cancer diagnosis, I started questioning all the products around me: creams, household cleaning fluids, supplements. What I realized first was that their ingredients are unreadable. Then, while undergoing chemo, I started taking pure supplements and nothing that I found on the shelves met my expectations. That was my a-ha moment. I wanted to understand what these supplements were made of. I went back to school to learn everything I could about plants for better health and wellness. I wanted to 1) create botanical products that were just as effective as the synthetic ones and 2) provide more transparency around ingredients so that people could more easily make an educated decision.”

What is the power of plants when it comes to health issues?

“Medicinal plants have apoptogenic properties, for example, which allow them to adapt to how our bodies function and what our bodies need. Plants contain tens of thousands of nutrients that work synergistically to heal the body.”

What are your selection criteria for the ingredients found in your products?

“When we create a product, it’s for a specific effect: antistress, energy, improved sleep. We’re always looking for needs that aren’t currently being met with plant-based products and then meeting those needs. Listening to our customers and what they want is what drives us. Of course, we only select certified organic ingredients without excipients or fillers. Our products are made of nothing but active botanical ingredients.”

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

“I want to make pure and natural products accessible for everybody. For me, it’s all about quality, efficacy, and especially accessibility. I see us growing in the United States and Europe.”

Who is your female entrepreneur role model?

“My grandmother. She was a little Lithuanian lady who came to Canada very young with her musician husband. She was able to buy a house, then sell it and reinvest the capital in real estate. I still remember when 4-year-old me would tag along with her at worksites. I marvelled at her—she was an extraordinary woman.”

The best advice you ever got?

“Give yourself permission to make mistakes when you’re first starting out. Take risks and let your employees make mistakes too. Avoid staying in your comfort zone. Top of the list: give yourself permission to be imperfect.”

How do you balance work and family?

“Accepting that balance is negotiated one day at a time. One day, we might decide to do a family activity at the expense of work, and the next day the opposite. It’s about giving yourself space to be imperfect. That’s hard for someone with a lot of passion, an intense person, a perfectionist like me. I feel really torn, but the key to my success has been in accepting that things will not always unfold perfectly.”

If you could only take one natural product with you on a trip, what would it be?

“An anti inflammatory. I take it every morning, religiously. The cancer treatment I’m undergoing creates a lot of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is at the root of a lot of other illnesses, and if I had to stick to one thing, it would be that.”

What do you do daily for your own wellness?

“I learned how to meditate. I had tried it several times in the past, but it never stuck. So, I took a 10-week class to learn the ropes. Now I meditate every day. It energizes me and changes my perception. I also workout regularly. Cardio is crucial when it comes to managing stress. And I love to cook. It’s one of my biggest passions. I love the result and the process!”