Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Barb Stauffer & Leah Monaghan, owners of ROOT 23, located in Columbus, OH, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

ROOT 23 produces all-natural simple syrups used to make craft cocktails or non-alcoholic drinks. Our nine unique flavor combinations allow customers to add a new twist to a traditional drink or mix a new creation with just a few extra ingredients. They also taste great in coffee, tea, lemonade, or simply with sparkling water.

Tell us about yourself

We have known each other since our kids have been in school together for years, and the concept for ROOT 23 actually came about while chatting in the school parking lot at pick up. We wanted a rewarding career while having the flexibility to stay home with our kids. Being an entrepreneur entails many hours, but it allows us to balance our schedules and make choices for the business that works best for our families as well.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We initially just planned to sell our products at farmer's markets; it is so rewarding to see how we grew ROOT 23 from an initial concept into a brand that is on store shelves in over 40 states now!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

We have hit many challenges over the years and have found it truly helpful to have one another to help guide each other through the emotions of it all. One of the hardest parts was when we initially started since there was not any set guidance on how to start a business like this. Obviously, the recent supply chain issues were tough on most companies and were a challenge for us as small businesses.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Talk to other entrepreneurs in all different industries. We spoke with many different local small business owners to get advice and tips, which ultimately helped us get a strong start! Columbus has a great collection of small business owners who want to see others succeed as well; it's always good to connect and help one another out no matter what stage your business is at!
  2. Start with a realistic budget and find ways to make it work to alleviate added financial stress. We focused on producing a quality product and letting the business grow organically. Finding creative ways to get brand awareness for ROOT 23 cost less than traditional marketing and worked well for us; you just need to prioritize what parts of the business you need to invest more or less in and find ways to make it happen.
  3. Be flexible! Very little happens as planned when starting a small business, so you need to be willing to pivot and update plans as needed to be successful...if you stay open-minded to change, those changes can lead you to a better path than you imagined.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

We feel very blessed and grateful to all our family, friend, and customers for their support of our small business! The past seven years have been an experience like no other!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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