Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Shelton-James, Founder of BWG Herbal Tea, located in Stuttgart, AR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own an herbal tea business called BWG Herbal Tea. The BWG stands for bloom with grace. All my teas are custom-blended small batches made with a specific action of support in mind. I then fine-tune them to enhance the flavor. The result is an herbal tea blend that is not only good for you but is also flavorful and delicious. I offer 17 custom-created blends for a variety of things, such as anxiety, anti-aging, and PMS symptoms.
Tell us about yourself
I worked as a CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician) for 13 years. When 2020 hit, our already busy clinic became overwhelming. I started having anxiety issues and consulted with a local herbalist. She suggested I try Tulsi... and I have been in love with the herb ever since. Pretty soon, I started researching herbs and playing around with tea recipes. BWG Herbal Tea was born. My motivation is to help people. Herbs serve SO many purposes. They can lift you up, ground you, calm you, and nourish you. I wanted others to realize that a cup of tea can be self-care. We all need to start "filling our cup" in some way; why not start with the goodness of herbs and tea?
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am currently in 22 stores in central and southeastern Arkansas. I grow quite a bit of the herb I use and am currently working to have a small herb farm. My hope is to one day be able to say that BWG Herbal Tea is literally farm to cup!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Time management. It can sometimes feel like you are being pulled in so many directions. Just take a moment, take a breath, take some time for yourself. Work/life balance is truly a practice.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do it - but do it wisely. Until you take that 1st step of faith, nothing is going to happen.
- Understand your customer and their needs. I spent most of my 1st year in business going to numerous vendor events, farmer's markets, festivals, and pop-ups. Selling teas, meeting people, answering questions, and listening. This gave me a great insight into who my target customer is and what they truly want. It helped me learn so many things. It also created a community of fellow vendors which led to new friendships and other opportunities.
- Learn your value - you don't have to say yes to everything. Pick and choose what works for you and your brand.
- Enjoy the process! Like many things in life, owning a business is a continual learning experience. Some things will work, some won't. Just stay true to yourself, enjoy the process, continue learning, and keep doing yourself!
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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