Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anjali Bhargava, Founder of Anjali's Cup, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My company is Anjali's Cup, and we make Ayurveda-inspired turmeric and ginger-based spice blends that taste as good as they make you feel. My Resilience Turmeric Elixir is unlike any other turmeric blend for its great taste, high bioavailability, and low effective dose that is easy on the liver, making it something people can safely drink daily.
It is heavily relied on by those with chronic health issues such as arthritis or migraines, athletes for muscle recovery, and possibly my largest group of customers are fellow entrepreneurs who appreciate how it supports their immune system, mental acuity, digestion, and overall resilience. My largest group of wholesale customers are coffee shops.
Tell us about yourself
Before I started this business, I was a portrait photographer. Before the camera came out, I also always asked my subjects about what made them feel empowered. While conversations often started with items of clothing or makeup, they always ended with what they consumed that made them feel good.
In the summer of 2013, I grew disillusioned with my photography career and was feeling unclear about what I wanted to do next. My other creative outlet was always in the kitchen, so when I made the snack, I had always been searching stores for I had a lightbulb moment, and my business was born. I launched in 2014, and my first major pivot came quickly as I realized how difficult it was to scale a minimally processed snack food, and my body felt the stress first. (I thought I could worry and work myself into a solution.)
I started having debilitating migraines and started pounding painkillers to get through kitchen shifts and everything else I was dealing with. Slowly my stomach started feeling the pain, and I realized I knew better. My mom and my studies had ingrained in me a deep respect and trust in the power of turmeric and ginger. I started making my tried and true turmeric tonic, but it made a mess, and the fresh root went bad quickly. I tried a ton of powders, but nearly all of them were boiled and ineffective unless taken at a high dose that not only tasted bad but is then also hard on the liver.
I got the fresh ingredients, pulled out my dehydrator, and made myself an organic, minimally processed dried blend that I could pull out of the cupboard and drink easily, no matter how bad I was feeling. Within weeks I had my last migraine, and I realized that this product was something the world truly needed. With turmeric's 600+ benefits and ginger’s complimentary benefit profile, I launched Resilience Turmeric Elixir 2015 and slowly found ways to scale our signature product.
By 2017 I discontinued the snack product and went all in on resilience and focused solely on scaling that product without sacrificing quality until 2020, when I began to work on new products as well as a full rebrand than launched in 2021.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Surviving covid personally and as a business. I see great businesses - businesses with beloved products and high sales close all the time for a huge variety of reasons. I had Covid at the very beginning, and it almost took me out. Long covid has been a battle for me and the rebrand last year was super scary and hard to do when I wasn't feeling my best. I got it done, and I hired a coach to make sure that I moved forward in a healthier, more balanced way.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are moments when you feel like you're about to coast across a smooth path paved by your hard work, and it turns into a game of whack-a-mole. That is not a sign of failure. That is life. Not questioning yourself, your values, and the integrity of your business and decisions is a hard-learned skill but essential in getting to the other side, catching your breath, and maybe patting yourself on the back before heading forward into the next adventure.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make friends with other business owners. No one will ever fully understand what you go through, but your fellow entrepreneurs will feel your pain and remind you of how strong you are, more effective than anyone else in your life.
- Take care of yourself. Treat yourself like your business's more precious resource because that is, in fact, the truth. The early years are brutal, and it's easy to de-prioritize yourself, but if you care to take my word for it, your business will only do better if you are happy and healthy.
- Hire a coach - a good one that works with entrepreneurs. It's expensive, and it will more than pay for itself.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Each business has its own path. Respect that path and that it's not the same as others.
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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