Just after graduating college, an idea hit Melina Lamer. An idea that she couldn’t ignore. Today, she works hard and watches her business grow into something she can be proud of.
Your Business: Superior Switchel Company
Your Title: Owner and Head Brewer
Previous Work Experience: FoodCorps Service Member, Canoe and Trail Guide at Wildness Inquiry, Whole Body Team Member at Whole Foods
About your current work:
We brew, bottle, and sell switchel – an old haymaker’s energy drink from the 19th century American farmers. Currently, we produce our flagship flavor which has organic cinnamon in it, but we are working on two other flavors, as well. We sell it in 16 oz. mason jars and 64 oz. growlers.
What’s your story?
The idea really just kind of fell into my lap, and I just had to decide whether or not I wanted to do something with it. I was re-creating switchel before I even knew it was created. Once I learned more about its history and what ingredients made it a “switchel”, I decided to start over and make a recipe that I could hang onto for special events involving sports, dietary/health changes, cleanses, and even cocktails.
Once I was happy with the way it tasted, I realized so were others; friends, family, and strangers all seemed to enjoy it. That got me thinking that maybe instead of saving my switchel for special circumstances, I should capitalize on the opportunity to re-introduce a fantastic historic beverage into today’s modern Midwestern culture.
That’s where Superior came about – because of our local and sustainable vibe, and our dedication to time and craft, we dubbed our switchel to be Superior – the freshest and most versatile beverage on the North Coast.
How do you manage your workflow? Are there specific tools you can’t live without?
Google Calendar is my best friend. I’m constantly organizing and reorganizing my schedule according to my current reality, and the calendar – being electronic – keeps me clear-headed no matter my physical location. I’m also a huge fan of my little black book full of business cards; there’s nothing worse than forgetting someone’s name, and their connection to your network.
Where do you do your best work?
Currently, at Spyhouse NE. My girlfriend works there, so I call it efficient use of my time – seeing her, while cranking out dozens of emails. Tea in hand and chill-wave music playing.
What are your measurements of success?
Some days, it’s just catching up on my emails or cleaning out my inbox. Other days, it’s looking at my Google Calendar and checking off one major task. I try to have one large goal per day with many secondary and tertiary goals preceding it.
If I’m really successful, I can manage to accomplish all of these goals, but I don’t try to overdo it, unless I’m in a time crunch. An overall true measure of success is looking at my Numbers (Excel) financial graphs to record my costs, sales, net and gross profits, etc., but it takes time to watch the numbers create a pattern.
More often than not, customer feedback or a paycheck in the mail is what keeps me feeling successful.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Whether or not you feel as though you have confidence, own it. Go and talk to everyone. Smile, laugh. Ask a lot of questions – men will joke that we’re good at that – but asking questions has helped me with everything I have done thus far and plan to do down the road. Don’t be afraid to look stupid and be vulnerable. Read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.