Customer Spotlight

BEVERAGE

Customer Spotlight: Sip Herbals
Sip Herbals logo

SIP HERBALS

Caffeine-free Coffee Alternative

sipherbals.com

 

QUICK COMPANY STATS (as of 2023, Q3)

CORE PRODUCT/SERVICE | Herbal Coffee Alternative
INDUSTRY SECTOR | Beverage
LOCATION | Oregon
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES | 2
FOUNDING YEAR | 2020
CUSTOMER OF HERBCO SINCE | 2020

FEATURING SIP HERBALS

A group of products born out of love and rejection…of coffee. Fresh off a big rebranding project, we got a chance to chat with Orleatha Smith, the co-founder of Sip Herbals, about how her love for coffee (and her body’s intolerance for it) led her on a quest for a worthy alternative. She shares how her experience as a biology teacher and working in the wellness and software industries ended up being the perfect recipe for creating and bringing her products to market.



Origin Story

Sip Herbals Origin

How did Sip Herbals get its start?

Well, I loved coffee so much—the ritual, the smell, the oils swirling around in the cup…but I had been dealing with anxiety, jitters and stomach trouble every day and figured out that it was caffeine causing it. I didn’t want to give up that feeling of having my morning coffee so I went looking for alternatives. I couldn’t find a good product, plus I’m allergic to everything, so I had to read every single thing on every label. Who knows what “natural flavors” are anyway! I’m a former biology teacher, so I decided to use my background and started experimenting with different herbs and came up with my Signature Roast. People started asking where they could by it.

First sale?

My mother. Our first investor was my business partner’s mom.

“Giving you your morning ritual back, because we all know that tea doesn’t cut it.”
—Orleatha, Sip Herbals
Now

Sip Herbals Team

Who is on the Sip Herbals team?

Just two of us. Me and my co-founder Kelly Raulerson. I had formulated the signature roast but was missing those coffeehouse flavors like mocha and vanilla, so I worked with Kelly to explore those. We do everything from the website to handing out samples at the store and working the booth at trade shows.

Surprise Talents that Helped

I’m a former biology teacher and used my knowledge to seek out which herbs would work best. I had also been working in the wellness world for over a decade. Kelly and I previously worked on a SAAS (software as a service) project together—a digital meal planner with recipes & e-commerce business built on WordPress. It really set us up for putting together the Kickstarter and gave us the background knowledge for launching the new e-commerce site.

Business + Industry

Sip Herbals on Business and the Industry

Sip Herbals

Mission To provide a healthy alternative to coffee. To positively impact people’s daily ritual.

Sip Herbals Vision

Get clean coffee alternatives in the hands of people all over the world.

Core Values

One of our core values at Sip Herbals is “Fun.” This value stemmed from our own journey, driven by health concerns. We understand the emotional connection people have with their favorite beverages, even when health issues force them to make changes. We want to bring back that sense of joy and warmth associated with cherished rituals.

What have you learned along the way?

I started out with powdered herbs, thinking that would be the way to go, but it ended up that we needed that “brewed like coffee” feel and Herb Co. was helpful in figuring out the right cut of chicory, carob and dandelion that we needed for that. They also gave me the ability to buy products at a certain quantity for an affordable price while experimenting with different blends and recipes.

Biggest Risk Taken?

Emptying our savings to launch new flavors.

Business and Product Inspirations

Tazo tea is a huge inspiration. They took it from one tea and grew it into so much.

Product Goals

I want to grow our direct-to-consumer business first, and then go from there.

Helpful resources for starting your own company

  • A group called Included CPG—a support group for BIPOC leaders of consumer packaged goods companies.
  • Startup CPG—I learned so much from them.
  • Scroobious—They help underrepresented founders improve their pitch deck and understand what investors are looking for.
  • “How I Built This” podcast.

Best Advice Received

Be willing to be wrong. Be open and curious. It will help find solutions to problems.

What ingredient trends have you seen in your industry right now?

Adaptogens and mushrooms are a thing, we are not. We will remain clean and minimal and not chase the trends.

SIP HERBALS & HERB CO. INGREDIENT SAMPLE

Roasted chicory

ORGANIC ROASTED CHICORY ROOT

Roasted chicory is one of three main ingredients in all of Sip Herbals’ products paired with dandelion root and carob, giving their Faux Joe that coffee taste and feel. Chicory also contains two forms of soluble fiber that serve as a prebiotic making it a highly gut-friendly root—bonus!