Mercia Tapping is the CEO of Boston Green Goods, a multi-channel e-commerce business. Her business was named to the Internet Retailer 2007 Top 500 list, and she received the 2004 Stevie Award for Woman Entrepreneurs. Prior to founding Boston Green Goods, she worked as an independent consultant and co-founded an energy consulting business. She is a graduate of Cornell University.
Sramana: Mercia, let’s start by reviewing your background. What path did you take to get where you are today?
Mercia Tapping: I am an American citizen, but I was born in England. I have been in the United States since 1973. My former husband was an entrepreneur. When I went out on my own in later years, it was thoroughly in my genes to be an entrepreneur. The real beginning of the story of this business goes to 1995. I used to wake up with terrible headaches that required heavy duty medication to get me going. I was a highly paid consultant, and I needed to be brightly alert by 8:30 in the morning.
This had gone on for a number of years, and no doctor had been able to figure out what was going on. I had been to 18 different doctors at the time. In 1995, I met my present husband, who is in the medical profession and he took one look at me and told me he thought I was allergic to my house. That was something that I had no concept of at that particular time. I was tested for environmental allergies, which were not well known in the 1990s.
I found out my husband was right. I lived in a house that had mold, and it was really difficult to get that house completely mold free, so I moved out of the house. I followed a number of recommendations and purchased products necessary to make my own home allergy friendly. At the same time, I was consulting for a CEO, and I went in her office and saw her with a sinus headache. I told her she could not be as good of a CEO as she possibly could be with that congestion distracting her. I recommended some products and steps for her.
People looked at me like I was a walking library of information, and a lot of people told me I should start a company around it. The idea of starting another corporation was appealing to me because I was traveling all around the country. I was going to be getting married, and I wanted to stay in one place and form a relationship with my husband.
Sramana: This was all happening out of Boston?
Mercia Tapping: Yes. By the time the company was launching it was 1998, and I liked the idea of the Internet because I had always been an educator. The Internet seemed to be a way to educate a larger audience. I had started a business with my former husband in the 1970s. I disciplined myself to write a business plan. At that point, venture capitalists were giving out a lot of money and I thought it sounded like a good idea.
Sramana: What kind of business did you start with your former husband?
Mercia Tapping: It was an energy conservation and consulting business. I have always had an interest in being green. After I got divorced, I mainly went into independent consulting.