We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Sell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I was working alongside my mom, going into seniors’ homes to measure for wheelchairs from Medicare and Medi-Cal, and I they would ask about lifts for their cars, or help in the bathroom, or up the stairs, and all sorts of everyday stuff that they need assistive devices or home modifications to do. Since my mom’s company was much like all other insurance-based wheelchair companies, they didn’t go outside of that offering or know much about it. There was no store for people to go see these items, and they were referred to hard-in-home-sales companies like Acorn and Bath FItters who often preyed on seniors’ vulnerability and lack of education on the products. I thought that there had to be a better way. How can we shop all day for a $5K car, but could not even see a $20K stairlift before it went into your home? Or a $6K ramp, or whatever expensive item it was? So that is when I set out to do a retail home medical supply. At the time, there were none where I grew up in Redding, and in San Diego (where I was going to school) , there were two and they were dingy and had very poor customer service. I secret shopped both and was super surprised at how unfriendly and unhelpful the staff were. So I set out to make it better. It was much harder and a longer road than I thought, and there was more competition than I was aware of, but still no one was delivering the “Nordstrom level of service” that my company has become known for.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Harmony was created with the true intention to help seniors have access to all their options for mobility, safety, and aging-in-place instead of just accepting what the government (through insurance) says they should have. Working with seniors and working with business and agencies who had a lot more time in the working world than I did when I started was hard. I was only 26 and sometimes people didn’t take me seriously or pay attention, but hard work, commitment to the vision, and some great client relationships got me through all sorts of hurdles. Those still carry me through growing pains today! It was not easy at all, I spent countless hours in the office after close figuring things out and catching up on files, but it was worth it. It is worth the feeling of autonomy and the ability to positively impact the lives of my employees by giving them a cool place to work that they feel good about and that they enjoy coming to. That is really big for me too, I want to see all people be better as a result of interacting with Harmony, not just clients, but staff, vendors, friends, you name it! Some big lessons I’ve learned are to trust yourself, surround yourself with like minded people, and don’t worry about what other businesses are doing, do your business and rock it, the rest will fade into the distance.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Torrey Pines hike followed by drinks at Raised By Wolves first night. Then Mission trails morning hike followed by bomb breakfast at Janet’s Cafe in Santee. Then order out Gratitude Cafe and watch sunset in south Mission Beach. Since no music is happening I guess that is out, but I would usually see what’s happening at Campland or Quartyard for early eve shindig then Music Box maybe Spin to do something later. And Extraordinary Desserts is always a fun visit!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Miracle Morning has been extremely helpful in how I run my life to create balance, clarity, and time for me. Then as far as people, there have been some great supporters in owners of referring companies, like Christine Lee of Casa Companions, and all my friends who are part of Certified Senior Advisors group in SD. My biggest mentor has been my mom, Stephanie Schwartz.
Youtube: Harmony Home Medical Supply