Oakmoss: What is your business name and where are you located? (City & state, or online?)
TJ: We are Humankind, and we our headquarters is in Manheim, PA...and at BeHumankind.com
OM: What are three words you would use to describe you/your business?
TJ: Philanthropic Beverage Company
OM: How long have you been in business?
TJ: 5 years
OM: Is this something you've always wanted to do and how do your talents/passions play a part in your business?
TJ: Actually, no. I'm a youth pastor by trade. Did youth ministry for 10 years, and taught youth ministry at a Christian college for another 5 years. I never expected to be in the beverage business. But while travelling for ministry in multiple countries, I saw people, especially children, forced to drink dirty contaminated water, and was deeply affected. So although I never studied business to have a particular skill set in the beverage "space", a big part of our success depends on telling the story of why we exist, and how our products help the world's water crisis. That kind of passionate story telling IS in my talent/passion gifting.
OM: What is one of the biggest challenges you've had to face running your business and how did you overcome it?
TJ: The biggest challenge has been the inherent difficulties of starting small. Distribution is tough to find, investors are wary, economies of scale are WAY in the favor of the big guys. But it's important to remember that THEY all started small at some point to. So you say a prayer, roll up your sleeves and do what you gotta do. In time, people's confidence that we will succeed slowly increases.
OM: How do you stay motivated to keep creating and building a better business/experience for clients?
TJ: The nature of Humankind has a built in motivator. We do what we do for one reason only. To get people clean drinking water. I wake up everyday excited to go to work...and I go to bed every night wishing I had just another hour of energy. We have seen, in our humble efforts to date, over 120,000 people get clean drinking water. That totals over 1 Million "people years" of clean water to date. That alone is very encouraging...even more motivating is the fact that nearly 1 Billion people in the world still lack clean water...and that needs to change.
OM: What is one of your favorite products/events/experiences that your business has to offer?
TJ: Our second best seller is a very unique flavor, Jasmine Lime Organic Green Tea. It's one of my favorites because my wife was instrumental in crafting the one flavor in our product line that most folks have never heard of. I admit that it felt risky to do a flavor no one else had, but it's selling really well ....and it's DELICIOUS!
OM: What is one piece of advice you'd give entrepreneurs just starting out?
TJ: Count the cost. Make sure you're willing to make the sacrifices necessary. I have never met an entrepreneur yet for whom the first few years was easy. They may exist, but I've never met one. Know that you'll work harder than most folks to make your dream happen...but it will also be so much more satisfying than so many other "safer" job options.