Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Silky Abbott, Founder and CEO of CANE'd, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the Founder & CEO of CANE'd, and we specialize in crafting 100% natural, cold-pressed GANNA, aka Cane Root Juice Blends. Our healthy and delicious Juice Blends can be enjoyed by any age group, vegans/non-vegans, diabetics, consumers on a low-sugar or keto diet, gluten-free and kosher.
Tell us about yourself
I am Silky Abbott, Founder & CEO of CANE'd, an Indian-inspired naturally hydrating GANNA, aka Cane Root Juice Blend. CANE'd was formed out of a simple desire to enjoy Sugarcane Juice in the US. Hailing from India, Sugarcane, aka Cane Root Juice, was a part of my daily regimen, and I have missed it a lot after coming to the US. It is a very popular beverage among other subcontinents from Asia to Africa to South America to Hawaii; however, it's hard to find even in juice bars in metro cities. I found this emotion and need similar to mine across my family and friends, which led me to create my own Sugarcane Juice Blends that fit into everyone's lifestyle. I launched the brand with three initial flavors that were tested in my kitchen and tasted approved by family, friends, and my kids before we brought them to the market. Once they launched, I did in-store demos with my team to test the feasibility of my product in the market, and we achieved a 100% success rate with every sampling we conducted. Now we have six flavors in the market, and all are vetted and loved by our consumers.
The non-alcoholic beverage market can be split into two categories, hydrating beverages loaded with sugar or flavored sparkling water. Innovation and focus in the beverage industry have been more on reducing sugar and finding sugar substitutes or finding different flavor profiles in the sparkling water world. However, we have completely focused on introducing a breakthrough novel, a unique naturally grown and cold-pressed beverage that is one of the oldest, most hydrating (better than coconut water), and healthiest beverages in the other subcontinents to the West. It motivates me every day to bring healthy hydration with no added sugars and all-natural ingredients to society. Consumers are becoming more health and wellness conscious and are expecting brands to create simple and clean products, and our small step in this direction with education and awareness will help create a better-informed society.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
CANE'd became operational late in the year 2022 and has expanded its retail presence quickly into the Midwest and now focusing on the West Coast expansion. Our products are the heart and soul of our business, and we want to grow based on the quality, health, and flavor of our products that are being loved by all. Unlike other similar beverages in the market, we have launched completely unique products in the market with clean and simple ingredients, and I believe once we have enough retail presence, this product will create a breakthrough in the beverage market.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner in a saturated beverage market with a completely unique product that requires education and awareness is a big challenge in itself. Before starting CANE'd, I was very comfortable in my full-time workplace, but the need for CANE'd was very personal to me, my family and friends, and my Indian cultural heritage. Starting a business is not easy, and it requires a lot of courage, patience, time, and the right connections; being an immigrant in the US, I didn't have anything else apart from little courage since I have two little children and was investing my personal hard-earned money. One of the hardest things that I came across being a business owner is to deal with uncertainty at all times and be able to come up with a quick backup plan in all areas supply chain, demand, sales, distribution, marketing, pricing, etc.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you have a good product, it will sell no matter what! Have a good product to start with and test the market for the product before going all out in the market.
- Courage is the number one quality of being an entrepreneur. It's easy to get find a job and get comfortable in it, but it needs a lot of courage to quit that comfort zone and move on every day with challenges every day as an entrepreneur.
- Learn to work with a team; it can just be a 1-2 people team. If you try to do everything yourself, you will most likely not succeed in every area, or the quality won't be as expected. It's important to focus on 1-2 areas and have a team in place to take care of the rest, such as hiring a co-packer to manufacture your product or hiring a trusted broker/distribution company to do sales and distribution. If you try to do both, you won't be able to give your full potential to either and will burn out, leading to harm to your business. Teamwork with trusted advisors and contractors goes a long way!
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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