Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rocco Quaranto, co-founder of Tama Tea, located in Wilmington, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
From our tea cafe, Tama Cafe, in Wilmington, we have created a new sparkling canned tea product. We sell in grocery stores like Whole Foods, online, and others. We craft brew our tea with real ingredients and zero junk!
Tell us about yourself
We had a vision to turn the typical cafe model around. Instead of a cafe that mainly serves coffee, we visioned a cafe that mainly serves tea still in a local coffee shop environment. The business model has changed 100x in the last six years. We continue to develop amazing tea-related products every day! Even working on a new bottled yerba mate beverage that will hit shelves early next year. It will have more caffeine than a red bull while being brewed with simply tea, fruits, and herbs. I love creating and innovating. I also am co-founder of multiple other companies. I simply can't help myself, haha!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our first major company, The Fuzzy Peach, we grew from one small frozen yogurt shop in our college town to 20 locations across the country. We sold the whole company to a publicly-traded company. That was pretty cool. I have since been a paid speaker, consultant, president, CMO, etc., but nothing compares to starting something from an idea to a true operating business that gets the respect from employees and customers alike. Due to the pandemic, we were forced to close our Tama Cafe locations, and we literally had customers crying in the cafe on the last day. That's really when it hits you that you created something special. Luckily we are still rolling with Tama sparkling tea, so it wasn't all for nothing. If not for the cafe, we would have never come up with the sparkling tea.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The uncertainty. A 9-5 you know that paycheck will regularly hit, with a growing family that is the hardest part.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
For me, it was starting early. I had nothing to lose when I started at 22-23 yrs old.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
A little more info on our Tama Tea - Sparkling Green Tea: From our tea cafe, Tama Cafe, in Wilmington, we have created a new sparkling canned tea product. We used our experience and customer feedback inside our cafes to develop this amazing sparkling tea that is unlike anything else on the market. Our tea is craft brewed with a whole leaf organic green tea for all three of our flavors (Lemon Lavender, Peach Pear, and Mango Verde.) We only use real ingredients (no artificial, “natural” ingredients or concentrates of any kind) and no sweeteners of any kind. For example, with our Mango Verde, we are steeping the organic whole leaf green tea with dried mango pieces. Drinking our product, you are getting all of the amazing benefits of green tea, including Vitamin C, tons of antioxidants, and even caffeine (35mg.) We do all this while yielding zero calories, zero sugar, zero carbs, no artificial ingredients, and keeping it shelf-stable. All the benefits of tea, because it IS TEA!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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