International Women's Day Feature: WomenMade LA

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In honor of International Women's Day on March 8th, we invite you to get to know some of Tea Drops' support system of inspiring women! Learn about the women of WomenMade LA, a collective of companies (which includes Tea Drops!) owned by female and minority entrepreneurs located in Los Angeles. As stated in their mission, these women come together "to create a sisterhood for female entrepreneurs through inspiration, world-class resources, infrastructure, and friendship."

 

Get inspired and learn more about these ladies below!

 

LORI SANDOVAL, SALSAOLOGY

  1. What do you do/why did you start your business?

I started my business out of a desire to share the exciting flavors of my heritage and highlight the complexities and variances of Mexican culinary traditions. Growing up learning the nuances of cooking traditional Mexican dishes and cooking professionally as an adult, I know food to be if not a definition then an extension of cultures and traditions. So, sauces seemed to be an ideal vehicle to carry the message that #salsameansSAUCE, that Mexican food goes beyond the green and red sauces, beyond the burrito and the taco. I hope that it inspires our customers to explore more of what makes Mexico and its foods a UNESCO Cultural Treasure.

2. What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur today?

Being a woman entrepreneur today is very exciting. I feel that there is an energy in the world right now giving momentum to women to go for it - whatever that goal or dream may be. But, what is really awesome to watch happen, is this organic weave of support among women; it's a powerful thing. I think many of us women business owners understand how lonely and difficult it can be to give it a go alone. It's really something when we accept that by helping each other, we can all rise to the top. These are things I hope inspire younger women to do the same in the future - the world is ours to take ladies!

3. What has been your proudest moment in the last five years?

My proudest moment was more of a surreal happenstance. I was out shopping for a dinner at my local Whole Foods Market, as I went through my grocery list I unknowingly walked by my products on the shelf. The bright beautiful jars caught my eye. It took me a moment to realize those were my creations, in one of the most coveted supermarkets in the country. That was the first time I had ever truly seen my products in the store. Everything happens so fast in our business that I don't stop and appreciate the little moments as often as I should. But now I do, and thank the universe.

4. Who is a woman you most admire and why?

I admire my mother. She had a difficult upbringing and she managed to escape that life, to make a new one here in America. She didn't speak the language nor did she have much with her, but that didn't stop her. My mother is a very brave, feisty and  determined woman. And despite her unfortunate life experiences, she chose love and happiness for her life. She has taught me to be courageous and fearless but also to have love and empathy and towards others.


DEBBIE WEI MULLIN, COPPER COW COFFEE


  1. What do you do/why did you start your business?

I bring quality, Vietnamese coffee to the US coffee lover.  I am passionate about elevating Vietnamese flavors and making Vietnamese cuisine, agriculture, and manufacturing a major player in the US market.

  1. What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur today?

Though there are still many challenges with being a women entrepreneur (access to capital in particular), I have to say that it is the best thing I've done for my career.  I have never felt so professionally supported by other women - almost all women business owners I have met have been so generous and collaborative with growing our businesses together.  We all know how hard it is, and I am overwhelmed everyday by the support and community have found with this business.

  1. What has been your proudest moment in the last five years?

Getting the newly launched coffee line into over 1,000 retailers last year.  We got into twice as many stores as we were hoping to and had to move mountains to get everything delivered on time.  It was an incredible group effort and I am so proud that we pulled off that growth!

  1. Who is a woman you most admire and why?

I admire my mother.  At 25 years old, she moved to the US as a refugee bringing her brothers and sisters, and didn't just settled here - she thrived.  She was the first person in her family to graduate college, all while raising my sister and me. She taught me my work ethic and the importance of follow through. She taught me how to learn from the word "no," and to not be discouraged by it. I can't remember how many times I've seen my mother hear the word "no" and respond with research and tenacity to make me feel like she could do anything she set her mind to.


NITHYA RAMAN, BERRYBIRD


  1. What do you do/why did you start your business?

I make socks for people who need a little bit of extra care for their feet - people who are older and people living with diabetes. I wanted to serve an underserved market with really high quality products that respect the diversity and dynamism of these customers.

  1. What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur today?

I think it's probably easier today than it has ever been for us in many ways. There are so many resources that are focused on supporting women entrepreneurs and creating networks between them, which I've really appreciated. And there is a much greater appreciation for the unique challenges we face. But I still feel like I sometimes need to work twice as hard to be taken seriously!

  1. What has been your proudest moment in the last five years?

Receiving my first email from a satisfied customer! It was so gratifying!!!

  1. Who is a woman you most admire and why?

Oh, so so many! There isn't just one. But lately, I've been thinking a lot about the following women: Anita Hill, and how much courage it must have taken to speak out against someone so powerful. Susan Burton, who supports women who have been incarcerated with counseling, employment, and educational opportunities. Ava DuVernay, who has opened doors for so many other women in each of her projects.  

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