Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Phene Wardlaw, Co-Founder, and CMO of UNITY, located in Nashville, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
UNITY was started as a way to market CBD to the masses in a friendly and delicious bottle. It has quickly grown into a community that champions mental and physical health. By combining healthy ingredients designed to relieve stress and anxiety, we provide a natural remedy for our customers.
Tell us about yourself
After graduating from college, I worked in various industries, from automobiles to commercial real estate. However, when helping my now co-founder start a CBD beverage company, I realized that it was the first time I was incredibly passionate about what I was doing. In 2019 I finally made the leap of faith to quit my job and commit to building UNITY full time. While it was a scary decision (my parents thought I was crazy), I wouldn't change it for anything. It does come with its trials, but I have learned more from running UNITY than I ever could in a classroom or corporate role.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Believing in yourself is terrifying, and imposter syndrome is real, but when we successfully raised $1.2M at the end of 2020, it really was a tangible measure of our success. It's truly rewarding when other people, let alone strangers believe in your idea. That really set the tone for our growth, and we have been building off that momentum since.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Each experience is unique but being able to trust my gut and learn on the fly is something that I need to work on constantly. As I mentioned before, imposter syndrome is very taxing. I have learned to trust myself, but that doesn't come without its moments of self-doubt.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take the leap. If you have a great idea, make it a reality before someone else beats you to it.
- Celebrate the small wins. It can often feel daunting when running a business but be sure to recognize your hard work.
- Trust your gut. Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it and trust your gut when you're in uncharted territory. There is always a solution.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
As a woman in the startup world, I am always open to sharing my experience with others, so reach out on my LinkedIn!
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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