I love meeting women who kick ass - especially in the entrepreneurial world.
First off, it takes a particular kind of confidence and courage to take a leap from your comfort zone, whether that be a full time job, your home town or what have you and then launch yourself unforgivingly into the unknown.
And so when I meet women who have walked those miles, I first want to applaud them for their gains and then, selfishly, pick their brain so I can learn from them.
Enter Kelly Peterson who reached out to me about her product - this mysterious thing called Levity Brew.
"The biggest challenges I've faced have revolved around my own self-confidence. I feared that because I don't have a background in the food industry and my business is entirely bootstrapped, I wouldn't be able to get Levity off the ground. I've actually found these "roadblocks" to be benefits in many ways." - Kelly Peterson
According to her website, Levity Brew is a premium blend of coffee, tea and herbs that offers smooth, all-day energy and a delicious rich taste. No crash, no jitters, no bitterness.
When I first read the above description I was hesitant. a) I am more of a coffee person than tea person and b) even if I was a tea person, would I like those two mingling together in the same cup??? I was about to find out.
The brew arrived wonderfully packaged and I teared it open - and to say I was impressed is being modest. It is incredibly smooth and one of those comfort drinks. My favorite thing about it is the fold-out paper filter that makes it especially easy for travel, like displayed in my Costa Rica trip.
Then I learned what's inside the blend: organic coffee, yerba maté, green tea, guarana seed and chicory root. I was hooked.
But I am not here to convince you to try the stuff. I am here to share with you Kelly's wisdom and experience from starting from the ground up.
Enjoy the Q&A and hope you feel a little inspired after the read!
Q: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what are some hobbies?
I grew up in Louisville, KY and moved to the Bay Area about 10 years ago. I absolutely love San Francisco -- it's an amazing city for all things foodie and delicious, for enjoying the outdoors, and for connecting with an inspiring, positive, entrepreneurial community. I actually started my career at Gap Inc. and spent the next several years in fashion retail management before starting Levity Brew.
Q: How did you come up with Levity Brew?
I was working at a stressful job and started drinking a lot of coffee and energy drinks to try and stay "on" - upwards of 6 cups a day. But rather than improving my focus, all that caffeine took me on an energetic rollercoaster. I'd be super alert and productive for an hour and then totally crash.
I tried to switch over to yerba maté for its less jittery and longer-lasting stimulant properties, but didn't love the grassy flavor. So I started experimenting in the kitchen and researching naturally-occurring stimulants until striking the balance between energy and taste - which is LevityBrew!
I started making Levity in my kitchen and selling it to local workplaces, which gave me the confidence to find a manufacturing partner and launch Levity Brew's webstore. Now we're expanding to grocery stores and other online retailers.
Q: So, what is exactly in Levity Brew and what are the effects it has on us?
Levity Brew is a blend of organic coffee, yerba maté, green tea, guarana seed, and chicory root, designed for smooth, long-lasting energy and a delicious taste. It's less acidic than typical coffee and much less jittery. Levity's longer-lasting energy comes from its four naturally occurring stimulants: caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and l-theanine.
[Feel free to pick and choose fun facts about these stimulants from this blog post!]
Q: What was the biggest challenge in creating your own product?
The biggest challenges I've faced have revolved around my own self-confidence. I feared that because I don't have a background in the food industry and my business is entirely bootstrapped, I wouldn't be able to get Levity off the ground. I've actually found these "roadblocks" to be benefits in many ways. Because I don't come from a food background and didn't have major funding, I approached the business from a fresh perspective and tried to be scrappy. They say that you need a million dollars to start a food business, but that assumes you want to get major distribution in grocery stores. I started small and leveraged my existing networks and connections to get Levity featured in local startups, and have grown sustainably from there.
Q: What do you hope people walk away with after drinking Levity Brew?
I would love for Levity Brew to become a pivotal part of someone's morning ritual. I believe strongly in the power of morning rituals -- they can set you up to be happier, more productive, and more focused. Rather than rushing out the door or jumping into the day, I would love for Levity to be a time for reflection, to savor the quiet moments before the day gets hectic. And I'd love for that positive energy to carry them throughout the day.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give fellow female (or male) entrepreneurs wishing to start their own business?
Keep going. Working for yourself is so tough, it's easy to feel lost. But I find that work creates work, and by asking yourself "what can I be doing to drive my business?" -- you create your own opportunities and paths.
For any questions, from entrepreneurial tips to Levity Brew q's, comment below!
Thanks Kelly for your wisdom and Mugs Up to all the bad ass ladies out there.
The Coffee Nomad