Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Angela Zeng, Owner of Fulfill Food & Beverages bda Karviva Beverages, located in St. Louis, MO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Karviva is built upon our strong belief in Food Is Better Medicine with a mission to empower people to make better choices to live healthier and happier lives. My team likes to say that we do so through my upbeat attitude and strong mind for business, and perpetual desire to listen to the customers. Karviva serves to continue to evolve and innovate to meet their needs and desires.
Karviva means compassion leads to a long life, and I believe it is extremely important to show compassion even during difficult times. We work closely with the communities and consumers we serve, and as a result, we have gained strong support from them.
Tell us about yourself
Angela Zeng is not the typical entrepreneur in the beverage industry. Her passion for natural healing is rooted in her strong belief in traditional Chinese medicine and herbal sciences. After completing her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, Zeng moved to the United States, where she completed her Ph.D. in Pathology, her MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University. Her research topics ranged from cardiovascular diseases to cancer.
In 2017, Angela combined her knowledge in both herbal and modern medical science and launched Karuna Beverage, now known as Karviva. Her delicious line of award-winning drinks includes whole plant-based prebiotic smoothies, antioxidant juices, and sports recovery juice blends.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have to say it is the support from our customers, especially during the difficult times. I am very grateful to receive recognitions from different organizations too. Below is the list:
I have been recognized by the Women’s Business Development Center, a 501c(3) nationally recognized leader in the field of women’s economic development, and I was named one of St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s 2021 “Wonder Women,” an annual feature highlighting some of the area’s top women who are making a difference in the community. I have also received accolades from the St. Louis Business Journal as a 2020 Diverse Business Leader and 2022 Most Influential Business Women, in addition to an honor declared by the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri in March 2021 and 2021 Synergy Award Gold by USPAACC.
My strong passion for natural healing is rooted in my life-long belief in herbal science and profound experience in medical research, which was the focus of a feature produced by the Higher Education Channel in 2021, which won a 2021 Mid-America Emmy Award in the Business/Consumer Category. I have also been featured on the national program “Food is Love” on PBS.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
In the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) market, competing with competitors who are backed by powerful legacy brands is never easy. The war on the shelves can be fierce and ruthless sometimes. It’s not the quality that wins shelf space but rather the resources behind it, which can create strong hurdles for young emerging brands to overcome.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My advice for all my fellow women business owners is, “Be a good learner and listener, work hard, and believe in yourself and those you serve.” A wise lady I met at an online art shop once told me, “When God gives a lemon, it is up to you to make it into a tasty lemonade or complain about its sourness and bitterness.” When you change your attitude, you change your altitude.
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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