Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sierra Hooshiari, Founder of New Age Drinks, located in Hoboken, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

BrainPOP Drink is a healthy, productive, tasteful, and fun smart soda packed with four amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, complemented by an anti-oxidant caffeine blend in all four flavors- Mojito Madness, Mango Colada, DragonBerry Warrior, and Coconut Delight. Our customers are health-conscious individuals who want to drink less or engage in sober curiosity in the nightlife scene. I was inspired to launch BrainPOP when I felt like I couldn't find a drink on the shelf I could relate to as a professional millennial woman. I feel like we are either left out or underrepresented in the energy drink market. But BrainPOP Drink is so much more than a caffeinated drink with nutrients. It has 90mg of a botanical caffeine blend of green tea extract, green coffee bean, and guarana. When combined with l-creatine, minerals, the four amino acids, taurine, and Vitamin D, the edge and effects of this drink are just smooth and incredible. This beverage has only 7g of sugar, and the flavors are unique and delicious, particularly as a result of the fruit purees. We use no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives. We use clean, Non-GMO, and organic ingredients whenever possible.

Tell us about yourself

I am an NYC native and the founder of New Age Drinks. I  suffered a traumatic brain injury during my sophomore year at Cornell when an intoxicated, speeding driver hit me. I was in a coma for four days. I was motivated to leave my corporate job when I won a government grant to launch BrainPOP. Now I work full-time at New Age Drinks and consults other CPG companies on the side.

I worked with a former neuroscientist colleague and a few physicians on the formula, which has a botanical caffeine blend, four amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Each serving has only 6-8g of organic cane sugar per 12oz serving. These fizzy fusions are effervescent and delicious.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is winning the $80k grant from the NJ Commission for Entrepreneurship during the pandemic, which allowed me to launch BrainPOP Drink and bring it to market.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the biggest challenges of owning a business is overcoming the fear of failure and the inertia of perfectionism. Starting a business is no task for the faint-spirited. It requires trust in your abilities, instincts, ability to attract solutions, ability to ask others for help, being a good listener, practicing good listening skills every day, and being open to new experiences. You might get o where you want to be, but it most likely won't be along any path you've imagined. The beauty of starting a business is championing your individuality and embracing the unique challenges it proposes along the way. Many people will give you opinions and advice. It is your obligation to politely listen or politely decline to listen. Sometimes accessing your own knowledge base to make a decision and your inherent instincts can feel foreign. It's like a muscle. You work on strengthening them a little more every day.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start Small. Dream big. Work between tasks and a larger vision. Eventually, the path and roadmap will appear.
  2. Practice asking others for advice and being a good listener. Entrepreneurship and building a business is a learning process. Use your network and the resources available to give you support- mental, emotional, academic, and life experience.
  3. Follow your instincts. If something is calling you, and you feel excited and energized by the prospect of it, listen to your inner guidance. It might take a while to develop it. You don't have to leave your job or cut ties with your current income stream full turkey. My brain injury and autoimmune illness have taught me to take baby steps and appreciate progress no matter how inconsequential and minuscule.

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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