Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Susan Cartiglia, Owner of Radiate Miami, located in Miami, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
When you drink a can of Radiate Kombucha, you’re choosing an ethically sourced, small-batch, locally-made, and probiotic-rich superfood. You’re supporting a Mom owned business working on localizing our food system and creating a transparent, ethical community. You are supporting small local farms and farmers' families. You're supporting one of the oldest living spiritually-driven female tea masters in the world who is exercising traditional, organic, and holistic farming practices.
You’re aiding in both worldwide and local movements toward equal rights and a sustainable future.
Tell us about yourself
Radiate started as an apothecary pop-up and has grown into a wholesale kombucha business. It's never been about kombucha for us but rather about using this effervescent and deliciously healthy beverage as a vehicle to create community, educate about nutrition and local eating, better our planet, and support local farmers. Our mission statement is "Cultivating Culture Community and Compassion."
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Switching to our BPA-free aluminum cans has been a huge accomplishment. We got a lot of pushback from our community at first but knowing that glass is not recyclable in Dade-County, nor will it be anywhere in the US by the end go this year, really motivated me to make the transition away from the glass.
We do a ton of education so our community can understand why glass is so detrimental to the environment and have invested a ton of resources into our canning line. We hope to leave this Earth a little better than how we found it, and if we can use kombucha as a means of education about this, then why not try?
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a Mom and business owner is super challenging to create boundaries, so everything always feels like a priority. I want to be the Mom that's at every drop-off and never misses a school performance, but I also want to lead my company to a high level of success and make sure my team always feels I'm present and available.
I also want to maintain a certain level of self-care by working out and taking time to curiously follow new passions like learning to play the guitar or whatever... I once heard someone explain running a business and being a parent as a juggling act... You always have 3 balls, but only 2 can be in the air at once...
It's a challenge for sure, but life does feel so rich and full. I am grateful for every minute.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
This is a tough one! Get organized, dig into the numbers and create boundaries.
When you start a business, it is so easy to follow whatever leads seem to be taking off and get swept away with that excitement. However, that's not always the most financially savvy direction for the business. It took me a few years to really look at the actual numbers to see what makes the most sense for the business and not just what I wanted to see happen...
Learning to dissect projections and P&Ls was a game changer and grounded me in reality. Now I can stay passionate and feel confident about leading my company in a more nuanced way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thanks so much for the interview! I want to encourage everyone to try artisan and traditionally made fermented foods! Whether it be kombucha, kraut, kimchi, or kefir, there are so many options... These foods are steeped in tradition and root us in the past.
Learn about your Grandmother's culture and what she ate. If you can't make these foods at home, find a local farmers market or a local maker and support them. It may be a few cents extra but supporting small farmers and makers is the backbone of our communities.
Keep shopping small and prioritize your dollars for small businesses as much as possible. I really believe this is how we can stay grounded in this tech-forward globalized world.