Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Orleatha Smith, Co-Founder of Sip Herbals, located in Gresham, OR, USA.

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

Sip is a herbal coffee alternative that helps people reclaim their daily rituals. Our teas have the body of coffee, are caffeine-free, made to support gut health, and, best of all, won't irritate sensitive systems. Sip steeps like tea, has the benefits of tea, but feels like a decadent coffee. Our target customer is female aged 25-45. She is an educated professional and is located in the US. She is actively dealing with a health condition linked to inflammation, is health conscious, and is an avid label reader.

Tell us about yourself

When I was a little girl, I had severe skin issues. I was covered in severe eczema, and on top of that, I had an autoimmune condition that causes hot, itchy welts all over my body. It was so bad that I spent weeks in Mayo Clinic with doctors looking for answers to what was ailing me. Fast forward to my adult years, and I discovered that my diet was a really big source of my skin problems. I was told to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, which meant saying goodbye to my beloved foods and, even worse, my morning routine - my cup of joe! I thought my morning ritual was dead because, let's face it, when you want coffee, tea doesn't cut it. As a former biology teacher, I reached into my biology bag of tricks. I started tinkering with herbs in my kitchen to come up with a suitable replacement - one that had the body of coffee but didn't have the terrible side effects. I reached out to my business partner, Kelly, because I knew that she had also given up coffee and, as a cookbook author, she had the skills in the kitchen to make sure that the flavors were on point. The rest is SIPstory. Our mission to bring back the morning ritual that so many have lost in the pursuit of health motivates me to keep going!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We are incredibly proud to have been chosen for a grant to exhibit at the largest natural food expo in the US, which is a testament to the quality and innovation of our products. In addition, we were selected for Amazon's Women's Month, which is a great honor as it recognizes the contributions of women entrepreneurs and their impact on the business world. This has given us a significant platform to showcase our products to a wider audience and connect with new customers. We are also thrilled to have been featured in Essence Magazine, which is a widely recognized publication that celebrates Black women and their achievements. This recognition not only highlights the quality of our products but also showcases the importance of supporting diverse and innovative businesses.

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

Starting a consumer goods business with only a digital products background can present several challenges. The consumer goods industry is complex and requires a deep understanding of product development, manufacturing, distribution, and retail. Without prior experience in the industry, it has been challenging to navigate the various stages of product development and understand the nuances of the market. Starting a new business requires building a strong network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. It has been challenging to establish these relationships and build credibility with key players in the market. Starting a consumer goods business requires a significant amount of capital for product development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Starting a consumer goods business with only a digital products background has presented several challenges. However, with a strong commitment to learning, building relationships, and adapting to new strategies, we have overcome these challenges and built a successful business.

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

There's really only one - Don't be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your network, attend industry events, and seek advice from experts. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and it can help you achieve greater success in your business. As an added bonus, you can alleviate some of the stress of running a business and reduce the risk of burnout.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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