At the time that I was charting the next phase of my life, Rooibos was bursting on the scene in Vancouver, and my husband and I were planning a trip to South Africa to visit family. With the thought that there is more to Rooibos than tea rattling around in my head, and remembering the Annique skincare line, I asked God to show me the way if anything was to come of it.
Soon after we arrived in South Africa, we went to spend a few days at a resort in Marloth Park, Mpumalanga. On the drive out, I was telling my mother and sister-in-law about how popular Rooibos was in Vancouver and that I was considering the possibility of importing Rooibos products to Canada. I admitted that it was larger than I was and that I was trusting God with where to start.
After we returned from our trip, I was in my parents' cottage with my mother when my sister-in-law arrived with the local newspaper, The Advertiser, tucked under her arm.
"Look here," she said as she pointed out an advertisement for the Annique Rooibos skincare products. I looked and, guess what? I knew the Annique consultant advertising the products. She attended my mother's church and had been one of my brother's school teachers. I asked my mother if she would call Barbara to ask if she would be willing to meet with me.
Of course, moms being moms, my mother gave Barbara a call and set up an appointment for me. We met one sunny South African afternoon and I explained my thoughts and the path I was on.
"Leave it with me," Barbara said. "I'll see what I can do."
Before I left, I purchased an Annique spray-on sunblock for our upcoming beach holiday on the Natal coast. I wasn't expecting to hear from Barbara until we returned from our trip. But, true to her word, Barbara went all out to help me.
It was a beautiful sunny February Natal morning. Mom and I were standing chatting while waves gently lapped around our feet. Our feet had sunk down in the wet beach sand and, every now and then, we would move just enough to release them before they sunk lower again in the sand.
"I had better go and get a top and cover up," I said to Mom, "before my winter-white Canadian skin burns."
I headed to our pile of towels on the morning-quiet beach. As I got there, I heard the cell phone my mother had borrowed from her sister start to ring. My mother was still standing with her feet sunk in the sand enjoying the low waves, so I answered the cell phone.
"Brenda, it's Barbara!"
I was astounded. How on earth did she track me down? But she did. Barbara jumped through various hoops to find someone to call who would know how to contact me, while on holiday, on a borrowed cellphone.
"I have set up an appointment for you with the International Sales Director for Annique on February 28th," Barbara said. "Come with a business plan of what your thoughts are about selling Annique in Canada." She gave me the details and added, "Good Luck!"
I arrived for my corporate meeting in Pretoria with my basic business plan, my husband at my side and my trust in God. I left that meeting with a distributor's agreement and an order of Annique products to take home with me.
Annique and I had started our journey!