Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Martha Quiroga, Founder and Owner of The Shaman and the Bear, located in Toledo, OH, USA.

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

I own The Shaman and the Bear. We blend, package, and sell artisanal, medicinal herbal teas. These teas are sourced sustainably and organically, if possible. They are packaged in compostable packaging to leave the earth the way it was found.

Tell us about yourself

When I was in my 20s, I would buy every herbal book that I could find. These were few and far between in those days. I planted herbs and eventually began planting and experimenting with herbs. When herbal education became available on the internet, I began learning faster and making teas and tinctures. I would serve them to people I knew, and from their comments, I found that I was good enough to move to the next level and begin selling the teas. Starting a business has been the most fearful thing I have ever done, but as I learn and step further into growing my business, I conquer that fear, and I grow! This motivates me to reach farther and conquer more fearful things to make my business more successful. I do have to say that the peaceful blending of herbs, listening to them, and smelling their delightful fragrances ultimately moves me forward and also keeps me centered.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Every step I take toward growing my business is an accomplishment. I am amazed at the growth of my business and people who are now seeking out my teas to become more healthful and because they love the flavors I blend.

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

All the paperwork and taking the time to learn business information. I am very bad at this because I feel that I am not knowledgeable. I love to blend the teas but realize there is so much to learn about making a business grow. Thank goodness I have many mentors who are guiding me.

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

  1. Find your passion and learn everything you can about the topic.
  2. Ask other small business owners who they are talking to and find out important licensing information.
  3. Hold on for dear life, and make sure you have the guts to admit when you make mistakes. Learn from them.

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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