Women Supporting Women | Sofia da Silva of Raiz
What’s the status of your business? Did you have to pivot, go online, temporarily close?
Our business is currently paused for the time being, with a very realistic chance of remaining permanently closed. For those of you who don’t know, raiz is a young beverage startup (we launched in late June of 2019) providing adaptogenic drinks. I built the company from pure passion, without any industry experience, investors or team — but with a lot of love for the product and the positive impact that I could provide to my customers.
After a few months on the market however, I realized that I was going to need to change the current business model to be able to scale. I was proud of the retailers we had gained but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to keep growing and keep the business the way that I wanted it to go. It’s important to learn from your mistakes and not wait too long before you pivot — or realize that something needs to change. The timing however, came at the same time as COVID-19 started to hit, which unfortunately halted any plans for a relaunch that I had started to build with some of my key mentors and advisors.
What’s been the hardest part of this pandemic for you?
The hardest part of this pandemic has been trying to navigate the feeling of uncertainty. I think that it’s safe to say that we are all feeling uncertain about the future, and that’s a scary thing. Being present in the current situation, and trying to adapt to the new reality is challenging, and makes it hard to grasp exactly what we’re working towards. As a solo-entrepreneur, I was constantly working on my business; even with challenges there was always something to work towards. Right now, that’s taken away.
What can we as a community do for you?
I think the most important thing right now is to continue to support local as much as possible, it’s crucial to their survival. Independent and specialty stores — which we were so reliant on as a business — are the best places to shop. A lot of local retailers and restaurants have set up curb-side pick-ups as well as online orders. By doing this, you are also shopping for local brands that may not be available in big box retailers yet. It’s in these times that small businesses need our support more than ever, and keeping these independents and small businesses afloat will only create a domino effect for all our products.
What advice would you give women?
Based on what we went through the last couple of months, I would say that the most important thing is to trust your gut. We’re in a situation that we haven’t ever been in before, and it’s so crucial to adapt and to make your business adapt to the situation as well. That being said, this is the time to tune into your inner voice and to your gut feeling - it can help guide you through these uncertain times when we’re looking for answers everywhere. Remember that you have the power to make decisions, you have a voice, and trust that what you are doing is right.
What is your greatest hope right now?
My greatest hope is that we come out of this situation stronger, with a better perspective not only in business but in the world. How important it is for us to nurture small businesses, our friendships, our loved ones and our planet. I’m not sure of what the consumer landscape will be post-COVID, but I am certain a positive shift will come out of this experience. We cannot, as a community, let this bring us down — and it’s clear that we are all connected more than we ever thought. Let’s use that to our advantage and create opportunity for when we come out the other side of this.
What are the 3 things keeping you sane?
1. Being back in my hometown (Ottawa)
2. Running every day by the river (I am lucky to live in such a beautiful, nature-filled city)
3. Having a morning routine: drinking water, making an adaptogenic latte, reading for 30 minutes before I do anything else :)