Today we’d like to introduce you to Carmen Wagner.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My husband was drinking a LOT of coffee and, when I wanted to move us to a healthier lifestyle, he was unable to kick the habit because as he put it, “you don’t understand, there’s nothing like it!” Always being up for a challenge, I searched and quickly realized, there was nothing like it on a lot of levels. The options were inconvenient, outdated, and left a LOT to be desired in taste and benefits. “It couldn’t be THAT hard to come up with something better, why hasn’t anyone fixed this?”, I wondered. I started tinkering in my kitchen and about two weeks later, I realized that creating ‘a better cup of Joe’ was my passion.
I actually had all the ingredients, save the quinoa, for 10 years. nuJo (your ‘new cup of Joe’!) was ahead of its time, being 100% organic, gluten-free, and caffeine-free. I got busy with life, kids, and a career in the CPG industry and yet this concept wouldn’t leave my heart. About the time I perfected the classic flavor, our family grew by way of domestic adoption and, in the process, we learned a great deal about the foster care community.
As we tested the waters in January 2019 with local retailers in the Nashville area, and found success, the bigger vision hit me. This is my vision: nuJo will be a vehicle to raise awareness & funds across the US on behalf of foster care communities everywhere. That is why we direct 10% of proceeds in support of National Angels, a nonprofit that works within foster care communities across the US to create real, positive change.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The learning curves are huge early on, including incorporating feedback to make the product(s) better.. which leads to multiple edits in ingredients, packaging, etc.. One such lesson learned: buy small even if it’s not the lowest per-unit cost!
It is also easy to get sidetracked giving time and attention to people who promise quick fixes for whatever growing pain the business is experiencing.
Looking back, it has been relatively smooth, considering where nuJo is today despite all the challenges of 2020 and working through the side-hustle stage.
At the end of the day, there is so much beyond your control (in business and in life). Biggest lesson is to simply do your best, work hard, pray and then exercise Faith. Also, a sense of humor has been key to letting go of things beyond my control.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about nuJo?
There are several coffee alternatives on the market, however, nuJo is the first to focus on convenience – you can keep your morning routine with your coffee maker (no need to grind), take it on-the-go option to steep in a mug as you would a tea, and even a cold brew bottled nuJo that is ready to drink. This small-batch product is actually a prebiotic superfood and was included in the Top 10 coffee alternatives by Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year.
nuJo was created to be all the things: convenient, delicious, healthy, and provides a simple way to help improve our communities through National Angels. I’m proud of my purpose driven, woman-owned business’s goal to put only good into the world, from our product to our mission, right down to our packaging. The goal is fully recyclable/compostable products and packaging.
What are your plans for the future?
nuJo started with local retailers in 2019 and has caught the attention of many in a short time. I left my corporate career this year to realize nuJo’s product potential and I’m definitely staying busy!
With the upgrade of online subscriptions, new packaging in 2022 and the introduction of exciting new flavor profiles, we are well positioned to expand into regional and even national distribution this year. Visit our website to learn more and order direct.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.drinknujo.com
- Instagram: @drinknujo
- Facebook: drinknujo
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