In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Nora Egger, founder of Floral Elixir Co. Floral Elixir Co. sells all natural flower syrups for cocktails and sodas, is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and has been in business for nine years.
Robin: Why did you decide to start Floral Elixir Co.?
Nora: I saw a niche in the US market that wasn’t explored yet – drink mixers and syrups made from real, all natural flowers and botanicals!
R: Are floral syrups more common in other countries?
N: Yes, countries around the world use flowers and botanicals in their food and drinks. I grew up in 4 countries and traveled to many others in various parts of the world in a former career. I got to know a lot of these flavors, that’s where the inspiration came from!
R: Do you have a favorite syrup flavor?
I love the Rose Hip Elixir, we buy organic rose hips from Oregon and they’re fabulous. They’re delicious and full of Vitamin C and antioxidants too!
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
N: My parents’ kitchen is where I did all the experimenting, that’s why I call our products Floral Elixirs. They’re crazy potent, intense in flavor and it took near alchemy to make them right! Lots of changes since the beginning, going from four to sixteen flavors, more intense flavors and more beautiful labeling.
R: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
N: We produce everything in house in 5-10 gallon batches, as the ingredients are all natural and organic, they’re highly delicate. This way we can keep our eyes on them at all times for the highest quality control! We fill each bottle by hand and apply each label by hand as well.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
N: Anything with spreadsheets is my least favorite part, so I try to get it out of the way right in the morning, after a cup of coffee. What I love about good days is when I’m designing new packaging or experimenting with new flavors! Everything is done in house. Design, recipes and marketing ideas are done by yours truly.
R: How do you experiment with creating new flavors?
Lots and lots of research – trying them out, making small batches and seeing what they pair well with.
R: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
N: I’d had a career in international consulting for years, based in Europe, where I’m originally from, Vienna and Budapest. So I took those savings and started small, and invested piece by piece.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
N: A wonderful restaurant and a local, well-loved grocery store chain in Cleveland called Heinen’s.
R: Where do you sell your product now?
N: We mainly sell to botanical museum gift shops, art museum gift shops, garden centers, luxury and boutique gift shops, and all natural food stores.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
N: More of the same, the demographics work well!
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
N: I always try to be more engaged in social media and our hashtag #drinkyourflowers has a nice presence that well represents the brand, however it could always be more!
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with Floral Elixir Co.?
N: Looking at past designs and product messaging and seeing all the mistakes we made in the past. But I‘ve learned a lot, and will hopefully always become better and better.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with Floral Elixir Co.?
N: Having worked nationwide with Williams-Sonoma 7 years ago for over 2 years, having worked with Southern Wine and Spirits in 3 states (CA, AZ and NV) and being featured in InStyle Magazine.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
N: Make sure the product can sell itself on a shelf with no explanations needed!
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
N: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” – Sigmund Freud (I think this just may have been the case in a former career, so we gotta do what makes us happy surrounded by good people in our work!)
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
Creating something and making my own schedule!