Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in all-natural beverage making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Johanna Corman, owner and founder of Vena's Fizz House, located in Portland, Maine.

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

We produce a line of all-natural beverage making products that includes small batch bitters, syrup, cocktail and mocktail infusion sippers and bitter infused sugar cubes. We are fond of flavors, passionate about beverage making and committed to making the experience of a well crafted beverage available to everyone. Our market is the beverage end of the foodie world or anyone that appreciates a well crafted mixed beverage.

Our business initially included a brick & mortar bar and retail shop which we closed in January 2021 due to the pandemic. We have since purchased a new building and will be reopening in the spring of 2022 in Portland, Maine.

Tell us about yourself

I am the quintessential late bloomer. I worked my way through restaurant jobs in my twenties. Received my college degree, got married, and had two kids in my thirties, started teaching elementary school in my forties and spawned the idea for Vena's Fizz House when I turned fifty.

My husband lost his teaching job due to budget cuts. I had always entertained the thought of creating a place that would be a modern version of an old fashioned soda fountain and the situation provided the opportunity to give it a try. We opened a retail mixology shop and non-alcoholic bar in 2013 in Portland, Maine. Soon after, I began to create our brand of beverage products.

What inspires me most when I'm developing ideas for our products, are the ingredients I want to use. I love thinking about how different herbs, flowers, fruits, spices, roots/botanicals will work together.  Much of my inspiration comes from reading old colonial-era recipe books and histories on how they used the ingredients growing in their front yards, surrounding forest and fields to create the food and beverages for their families. I love developing delicious but complex flavors using simple, everyday ingredients that are easy to find.

My motivation is the little corner of the production area that is chock full of different jars, bottles, and ingredients - where I get to play and experiment with new flavor concoctions and product ideas. That is my favorite place to be.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment so far, was finding a way to stay afloat during the COVID pandemic and keep our staff employed. Though we temporarily closed the retail shop and bar, our business model allowed us to keep the staff and employ them in the production side of our beverage making products.

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

Wearing all the hats. It's a process of building the staff support needed to find the balance to get back to the part of the business that you love.

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

- Create a product or service that you love because it's the passion for what you do that will get you through the tough times and keep you going.

- Understand your market. Research it to best meet the need of the consumer.

- Minimize risk as much as possible but don't be afraid of making a mistake. They are an inevitable, valuable teacher that will only make you a better business owner.

Anything else you'd like to share?

You may experience push back when you first start out, especially if you are creating a new way or a different approach to something that is a very established culture or business. If you know the market is there don't let that deter you.

Where can people find you and your business?

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.