Product: Herb-based drinks, including raw organic turmeric, ginger, and cardamom and more
Founder: Daniel Sullivan
When Daniel Sullivan took a working vacation to farm in Maui in 2008, he didn't expect to come back with a new business idea. But while farming turmeric, an ancient spice typically used in South Asian cooking, he got the idea to concoct herbal drinks back home in New York.
Sullivan started selling his drinks in 2009 to yoga studios and health food stores and has since expanded to dozens of Whole Foods stores. In addition to turmeric, the beverages contain other spices like cayenne pepper, cardamom and ginger. "People are becoming more sensitive to what makes them feel good; herbs are a huge part of that," says the 35-year-old entrepreneur.
The company is selling 14,500 bottles a week, compared to only 4,000 a week a year ago. So, production has been one of the biggest challenges. As a start-up business, TumericAlive finds it difficult to purchase supplies upfront, while waiting to get paid by retailers. "There is so much overhead and you need to purchase in volume on the front end," Sullivan says. "It's a challenge to manage the expenditure." But he says he has been getting by through negotiating prices and sustainable payment terms and learning to balance the product flow.
Sullivan says the most rewarding part of his success is creating a product he and his 20 employees believe in: "We all drink it everyday, it's our fuel."
Kind Healthy Snacks
Product: Nuts and Spices snack bars, including cinnamon, ginger and more
Founder: Daniel Lubetzky
Launched in 2003, Kind's fruit and nut snack bars have long been popular with the Whole Foods crowd. Now, the company hopes to attract new customers with low-sugar bars that include nuts and spices, but not the fruit. New combos include Cashew Ginger and Madagascar Vanilla Almond bars. "Consumers are looking for lower sugar options," says 43-year-old founder Daniel Lubetzky.
But the bars posed challenges for the 120-person company. Employees had to experiment quite a bit to make the spicy bars as crunchy and chewable as the original products, but without adding sugar and calories. "To be able to bind a nut and spices bar with so little sugar and not use anything artificial or anything dodgy is a challenge," Lubetzky says. "There's a lot of technology that goes into simplifying our products."