Through heartbreak, hard work and a resilient work ethic, MaryRuth Ghiyam was able to pave her way to success with a health-giving business that’s helped millions across the globe. MaryRuth Organics prides itself on clean, vegan and gluten-free supplements and today the company boasts a line of over 130 products, but it wasn’t an easy road to get there.
Growing up, Ghiyam admits to having an “amazing” childhood while living in New Jersey, but her happy home was struck by double tragedy when her 42-year-old father died when she was just 12 years old, and her brother passed away when she was a sophomore in college. “My mom and I went through all of that together, so we are extremely bonded and extremely close,” Ghiyam tells Tinseltown Mom.
MaryRuth has always loved to cook and bake and give people the gift of food, and that coupled with her initial desire to be a psychologist proved that wellness and health was always a passion of hers. When her brother passed away, she switched from a Psychology major to Sociology so she could graduate on time with her class. After graduating from Fairfield University, she went on to Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida and received her health educator certification, then on to the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching where she graduated from the program as a business coach.
Eventually, she and her mother, Colleen, started MaryRuth Organics, where she took the helm of CEO and her mom CFO, but it was no easy start. After the housing market crashed in 2009, her mom lost her lumber yard business which encompassed 6 locations and 300 employees. That left them 700K in debt, leading to mounting credit card bills and mismanagement of money. In 2013, the year she got married, what is now MaryRuth Organics was birthed. “I didn’t have products until 2014… I would do 12 sessions for $2,860 as a certified health educator, teaching a concept called ‘Liquids Til Lunch,’ which I ended up writing a book on last summer and it was a Wall Street Journal bestseller… and then that’s how we got the idea to make the liquid morning multi raspberry vitamin,” Ghiyam explains.
Still in debt, still financially strapped, she called around to various manufacturers and within 6 months, she convinced a company in California to make just 90 bottles of that raspberry multivitamin. “I said, ‘Please I promise you if you help me make this custom blend liquid vitamin, someday, we’ll be your biggest account,’ and we were one of their biggest accounts,” Ghiyam recalls. The entrepreneur began selling that liquid vitamin in her office and on Amazon, and some of her clients reviewed it without her knowledge and that took the product to the first page on Amazon. “I remember the first time we sold $250 worth of vitamins, I was crying because I saw that I could get my mom and I out of this financial debt, while still helping people. Now today, we have 115 employees.”
Ghiyam has come a long way from owing hundreds of thousands of dollars and being in a debt management program, where she owed friends, family, and credit card companies, and she only did her first minority investment deal in August of 2021. “The single greatest thing that my mom and I did for financial stability, financial health, financial freedom, to get ourselves out of debt and also secure the future of our business, on our own terms, was that for the first four years we never, ever, hired even one employee, and it was extremely difficult, but that is what allowed our company to be profitable. For example, instead of hiring an assistant, we saved that money and we put it into launching another product…” Passionate about women’s financial empowerment Ghiyam goes on to say, “There’s so much that we can do if we go slow and are patient. I have a favorite quote, ‘Everyone overestimates what they can do in one year, and underestimates what they can do in ten years.’”
While running her growing business and finding relief from her financial burdens, Ghiyam decided to put her cooking skills into practice. “The first thing I did when I got out of debt after seven years, was go to culinary school.” Not just any school, Ghiyam went to one of the top 5 culinary schools in the world, Institute of Culinary Education. While there, she was humbled to have won the Top Toque (top chef) award. Because of how her husband kept Kosher with mixing foods, she never taste-tested anything while in school. “I never took a bite of the food and that’s why I got the award… How the exams work would be the chef would say, ‘Today we need to make cream of broccoli soup; everyone go to your station,’ so I’m competing against everyone who needed to make broccoli soup, except I could not taste the soup…This is how I succeeded, I would smell what I was making. I would let it go in my nose and drop it on the back of my tongue, and I swear I could taste it. And then I would know from eyeball because I cook so much at home. I know quantities and I would know how to add enough salt. Then when the timer goes off, this is every day for 6 months, every student stands in line and the chef, one by one, goes and tries a bite of everyone’s broccoli soup… It’s a happy, joyous time in my life, before I was a mom, and it was the last thing that I did… Honestly, some of the best memories.”
The classical trained culinary chef didn’t always make healthy living a priority. It wasn’t until her mother was diagnosed with two benign brain tumors, before the launch of their business, that she started her rigorous journey to wellness. “My diet has always been the same for the last 10 years. I don’t eat any dairy, I’m gluten free… I’m not vegan. My brand is 100% vegan. We have over 130 products; they’re all vegan. I follow mostly Dr. Mark Hyman, he’s a very famous doctor. He has written over 11 New York Times bestselling books. And he was actually my personal doctor when my brother passed away… I eat a ton of vegetables. I love jasmine rice, basmati rice. I eat a lot of grains, but I also eat some animal protein.”
Ghiyam is also a busy mom to Ethan 4.5, Elliott, 3, and her twins, Jacob and Grace, 16 months, and doesn’t sugarcoat the motherhood struggle. “I have been working throughout all of those pregnancies. I had horrible nausea, crippling, vomiting in the sink at work, vomiting in the trash can, really normalizing morning sickness… I exclusively breast pumped for all of my babies… There’s a lot of parents on my team and I think it’s impactful to share those things, meeting with my team, telling them it’s hard, sleep deprivation, all these things… I think it’s good to bring awareness about the real struggle. It’s a real struggle.”
With running an empire and raising 4 kids under five, Ghiyam uses a time management method for her professional and personal life that allows her to divide her day into blocks of time. She’ll schedule activities with the kids like the pumpkin patch, trips to the park, potty training, plus more using this technique. “I have been time blocking for 15 years. Time blocking is my life’s passion. At my company when we sell vitamins, I always say that it’s my life’s mission to bring time blocking to the world. I want to help people create a routine that helps them go to their own personal next level… I always time block the day before the next day… And FYI, the most common group of people who time block are very busy, either, working moms or single moms.”
Today, Ghiyam’s company has an entire line of liquid supplements and probiotics, capsules, gummy vitamins plus face and body products, but for someone new to MaryRuth Organics the healthy mom gives advice on where to start. “If a family can only afford one product, or starting with one product, whether it’s our brand or any brand, a broad-spectrum multivitamin is the greatest thing that a person can do. Having that multivitamin allows them to get a little bit of all the things that they could potentially need to help their blood work. So, we have an amazing kids’ multivitamin that’s sugar free, and we also have a liquid morning raspberry multivitamin, that people love… that one bottle is for ages 2 years old and up, so men, women, and anyone in the household above 2 can take the liquid morning raspberry multivitamin. It’s the first product I ever made because it’s the most important and it’s still today our #1 best-selling product. Liquid vitamins are 98% bioavailable and absorbable, versus pills and capsules that are about 3-21% absorbable.”
MaryRuth has had a lengthy list of life’s proverbial challenges, a learning disability that stunts her reading capability, extreme financial woes, plus the loss of two immediate family members at a young age, and this has created tremendous compassion in her. “…I honestly cry in so many movies. I have so much empathy… for every type of loss that happens, even in the last two years with the pandemic, loss of freedom, loss of job, loss of health, loss of friendship, loss of all of those things. It’s not an abstract feeling, it’s something inside of me. I believe that my dad and brother’s death is not in vain because I feel that I can connect with people, and I cry a lot. I’m almost crying right now…”
For more on MaryRuth Organics visit: MaryRuthOrganics.com