Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jen Haseloff, Founder of Sweet 'n Simple Elderberry, located in Wilmore, KY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sweet 'n Simple Elderberry produces the best-tasting Elderberry Syrup you'll ever try. After we created a potent recipe, we worked hard to make it tasty. Our goal was to make it so delicious that kids would beg for it each day. So whether you're one year old or 100 years old, your body will thank you for taking elderberry syrup!
Tell us about yourself
Hi. I'm Jen. Let me think back to why I started making Elderberry Syrup in the first place...Oh, yes! My kids wouldn't take any of the elderberry products I purchased, and they included too many preservatives and so much sugar. So I decided I would try to make it myself so I could know that each ingredient met my high standards, and I would play around with a few different flavoring ideas. I used my three kids as taste testers, and they ALL agreed upon "creamsicle," and now that has become my signature flavor!
I named my business Sweet' n Simple Elderberry. SWEET because of the raw honey we use to sweeten the syrup and the special (kid-approved) flavor. SIMPLE because of the pure ingredients we use in every batch. I care about each item that goes into this recipe and intentionally chose each one for its added benefits.
There you have it. I didn't set out to start a new endeavor. I just wanted my kids to actually drink in some elderberry goodness! I'm committed to helping you and your loved ones benefit from it, too!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I started out making elderberry syrup for just my family and then grew to share it with friends and neighbors. But I had the vision to grow nationally. I didn't know all the steps to make that happen until I got handpicked to be part of the Elderberry Makers Business Academy! This was an honor as I competed against thousands of makers across the United States! The Academy provides a framework to walk makers through the process to become certified through the Department of Agriculture in their State. After that, I got approved by the Kentucky Food Safety Board and Secretary of State, got my labels approved, obtained Food permits and Licenses, and became a Kentucky Proud Member, all within four months! I guess you can say that when I put my mind to something, I bulldoze ahead!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing I've experienced while being a business owner is when to slow down and when to push ahead. Some days I move at such a pace that I forget to eat. Other days, I tell myself I've done enough already! I just need someone to walk beside me every day and remind me of my to-do list and tell me when the work day is over!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You can do it! We need to surround ourselves with people who encourage us to move forward! Find a friend, another entrepreneur, or someone online who will do cartwheels with you when you've completed something great!
- Find someone to help you with your promotion. There are professionals that know the trends and pitfalls to watch out for. Ask for advice about social media, ads, print ads, website tips, and all the SEO helps. You can get swept up in all the shiny things and get lost. This can be a huge waste of your time if you don't have some expertise to guide you.
- Pay for professional photos. You will find many uses for these! Having a quality photo or two on hand is essential when you're sharing about your amazing business!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
One last plug for Elderberry Syrup...Our syrup is handcrafted in small batches in a licensed commercial kitchen, permitted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture with strict sanitization guidelines. Raw Kentucky honey is added after each batch has been cooled to preserve the benefits of the local honey. Although this syrup is made in Kentucky, it's available to ship all around the United States.
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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