Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Annie Salsberg,
Chief Marketing Officer of Ramp!, located in Dover, DE, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Ramp! is a new line of dietary supplements inspired by the nutrition teens need. Our products offer curated support for the most common teen concerns. Ramp! Up the Day is a chocolate brownie smoothie booster designed to support teen stress, energy, focus, and attention. Ramp! Down the Night is a tangy blue raspberry, warm nighttime drink that helps with muscle and mental relaxation. Our customers are parents of tweens and teens looking for convenient, tasty, and effective solutions for their children.
Tell us about yourself
I have worked in the natural and organic consumer packaged goods industry for over 20 years! In fact, one of my very first jobs in high school was stocking shelves and working as a cashier in a health food store.
Professionally, I am a trained Naturopathic Doctor with a Master's in Nutrition Sciences. Earlier in my career, I worked as a science and health educator for natural CPG brands. I then moved into the marketing side of the business, specializing in B2B (medical) marketing. I've really grown to love marketing and, more recently, led US marketing for a global infant formula company.
My passion has always been to support and promote products that elevate the well-being of families. My business partner, Simona Irwin, and I launched Ramp! to meaningfully support and nurture teens and their parents during the rapid changes of adolescence through education, community, and curated nutrition.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Founding a startup as two women is an accomplishment in and of itself. Women are still underrepresented in the natural and organic CPG industry, and breaking through these barriers takes tremendous perseverance.
In addition, Simona and I have put a tremendous amount of work and dedication into building our business. From product development to marketing plans, every step of the process requires determination and strategic thinking.
Last but certainly not least, we've secured funding, and working with a lean and mighty team, and are in the process of developing key partnerships.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is managing my own expectations. It can feel overwhelming to realize how little (to no) control you really have. And this is so at odds with the work you do each day - which makes you feel like you actually HAVE control. I try my best each day and try to release the tight grip of expectation.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
For anyone looking to start, run, and grow a business, I would share the following three tips:
- Find someone who knows more than you to help you navigate blindspot. It's impossible to be an expert across all domains. Some of the best insights and learnings I've received are from people who know a lot more than me about a certain subject (i.e., shipping, warehouse, accounting). Don't be afraid to ask!
- Understand the competitive landscape. Take the time to really dive deep into what is currently on offer. Make a chart and track all aspects of your competition's brand. Don't just look at their products - how is their customer service? What are their shipping times? Do they have strong core values? Gain a deep understanding of their value proposition. And then get super clear on your own!
- Think beyond your product or service. In my experience, brands with well-articulated visions, missions, and core values resonate more deeply with their audience. Add depth and dimensionality to your business. Think about what you stand for and how you want to be perceived. How can you make your brand more authentic and real?
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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