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Name: Niari Keverian

Business: ZOOS Greek Iced Teas , Greek iced tea

Industry: Food & Beverage

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

Reason for starting: We took a secret family recipe and decided to share it with the world! ZOOS Greek Iced Teas is an all natural, real brewed, first to market Greek Iced Tea. Our Tea is handpicked from the mountain tops of Greece and brewed in the purest form. ZOOS is high in antioxidants, Gluten Free, Kosher, and made with organic tea leaves. ZOOS provides a refreshing and delicious experience to its consumer in every bottle.

Related: Read about another organic foodie entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? I define success, as building a brand that’s not just another iced tea company but a lifestyle brand. If we can encourage America to pick up our Iced Tea over another Iced Tea that may not be as healthy or natural then we have done our job. I also define success by our sales but also by educating America on what other healthy hidden gems are stored within the Mediterranean diet. There are so many healthy options that come from Greece that America could benefit from that are just as delicious and healthy.

I lastly identify success if ZOOS is financially expanding, and if I am continuing to have fun while working long and tough hours. I am a hard worker and I love what I do every single day. I love motivating individuals around me to never give up on their dreams and becoming a role model to those around me that hard work does pay off.

Biggest Success: We’ve had a few big successes to date including; ZOOS has won the 2014 class of MassChallenge, the largest startup incubator in the world having been chosen one of the top 26 out of 1700 applications from the best and hottest startups in the world. We were also one of the very few in MassChallenge history to be a food and beverage company to have been given this honor as named one of the winners of the program.

We have also successfully launched our product, had over 20,000 consumers taste it and love it, and have sold through most of our first production run. ZOOS has been set up for a rather successful and pivotal 2015. We have had 6 buying meetings with retailers and all 6 have authorized our products for their entire chains. We continue to bring the right people on the bus, motivate them, and their passion is why we continue to be successful throughout this process.

Related: Secrets of Growth: Offering Top-Notch Customer Service, on a Budget 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? We had initially a rather large distribution challenge in that there were some exclusivity issues within the New England territory that did not allow us to partner with particular key distribution partners. The way in which we have addressed the challenge was thinking outside the box, networking for solutions, talking to experts in the food and beverage field including CEO’s of successful food and beverage companies and most importantly problem solving. We never gave up on finding a creative solution no matter what the cost was and we found a rather cost effective solution.

We ended up creating an alternative solution to distribute our products in this particular territory that was deemed an issue at first but found a solution on how best to overcome this challenge that some high level distributors told us it would be impossible to solve. We never gave up and found a solution.

Who is your most important role model? My most important role model for me my father. My father has been an entrepreneur since before I was born. I have seen the struggles first hand, the up and down roller coaster that can occur for any successful entrepreneur, and he has taught me how to weather the storm. He has taught me how to think strategically, how to find a positive in a negative situation, how to overcome any obstacle that may come your way. That is what a great leader and a great entrepreneur does. I saw first hand that it was going to be a tough road but at the end of the road, there are great rewards as well as great fun along the way.

Twitter   @drinkzoos
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Edited by The Story Exchange