I recently met Sofia da Silva when she dropped off some samples from her new ready-to-drink adaptogenic beverage company, raiz. The drinks aim to give you an energy boost without containing high amounts of sugar and caffeine. We spoke with Sofia to find out more about how it works.
What is your business called and what does it do?
My business is called raiz and it’s the first ready-to-drink adaptogenic beverage company in Canada. The idea behind the brand is to offer something that isn’t high in sugar or caffeine, but that can still give your body the boost it needs through functional ingredients. The products are nutritionist-formulated and made with 100% real & clean ingredients.
What made you want to do this work?
Growing up in a multicultural home, I was always exposed to various types of foods and ways of eating. This kickstarted my interest in nutrition and how certain diets made me feel not only physically, but also mentally. I found it fascinating and eventually studied Holistic Nutrition, knowing that I wanted to work in this field and have a positive impact on people’s health. After a trip to Portugal to visit my grandmother, I was introduced to chicory root, which is an ancient coffee-alternative (coffee flavour without the caffeine), and other herbs that helped my grandmother to stay energized without the crash or other negative side effects. From that moment on, I started creating superfood drinks inspired by the things I learned in nutrition school and from my grandmother, expanding to other flavours as well.
What problem does this solve?
There were no options for a healthy, ready-to-drink beverage alternative to highly caffeinated, sugary drinks. We formulated recipes that help to boost your body’s immunity through the functional ingredients that we use, without relying on high sugar or caffeine levels.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
My clientele is predominantly women. There are two groups that are the most prevalent. The first group contains young professionals (ages 24-35) who are interested in health and fitness, and are aware of superfoods and wellness trends. The other group is women over 35 years of age, they typically have a family and are looking to maintain health through innovative products and clean ways of eating. There are a lot of similarities between these two groups, and they often shop and dine in the same areas.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
Our revenue model involves both manufacturing and wholesale. We have been generating sales through digital marketing, in-person sampling, pop-up events and word of mouth. We actively sell to wholesale accounts. Our primary accounts have been natural, independent stores as well as boutique gyms, and we are excited to expand beyond that into larger retailers.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
We are currently available in the following retailers: Fiesta Farms, Fresh City Farms, Noah’s (all locations), BOLO, Popbox Market, Fresh and Wild, Rosedale’s Finest, McEwan (TD tower & Yonge and Bloor), Sorry Coffee Co., Jack and Lil’s Commissary, The Simple Kitchen, The Big Carrot (Danforth). We are constantly updating our store list as we grow, which is available on our website!
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?
The best question would be “why would we buy this beverage over any other option?” and the answer would be that there aren’t currently any beverages that contain the same amount of properties and benefits for the low amount of sugar and ingredients found in raiz. We are committed to 100% real ingredients, and low sugar and caffeine content.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part about what I do is being part of an incredible community that wants to help. I have surrounded myself with inspiring mentors, advisors, and friends from the industry that truly want to see your business grow. I would say the most challenging part is the feeling that you’re not doing enough. There are many amazing brands out there, and it’s easy to fall into the comparison game. The best thing to do is to take it as inspiration and as motivation to keep growing!
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
A mushroom walks into a bar, the bartender says “Hey you can’t drink here.”
The mushroom says “Why not, I’m a Fun-gi!”
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
I love Genuine Tea – not only do they have outstanding standards for their tea, the founders behind this business are passionate, genuine and have been an amazing supplier to us too! We use their matcha and it is by far the best in taste and quality.