Rising StarOEN Member Spotlight – Takako Shinjo, Genki-Su LLC

Produce Japanese Drinking Vinegar, made locally, healthy beverage that energize, balance and cleanse your body in a natural way. www.genkisu.com

Q: What does your business do?

A: Produce a line of Japanese Drinking Vinegar based on my family recipe.

Q: What problem does it solve?

A: alternative to soda, sugary sports/energy drinks or alcohol mix drink (mocktail), help to prevent addiction to sugary unhealthy drinks or recovering alcoholic substitute drinks.

Q: How did you come up with this business idea?

A: Drinking vinegar has been in my culture, in Japan and also my family for years and I simply wanted to share this natural healthy drinks with people. I have experimented with several different recipes based on my mother’s recipe which I perfected and made current products.

Q: What are your biggest challenges?

A: Challenges are productions and distributions.  Currently, I self produce, bottle, label and self distribute and come to the point it became overwhelming physically and mentally, and start seeking some helps for manpower and financially.

Q: What are your goals for the company?

A: Create great products and introduce new healthy habits to US market and international market.

Q: Do you have any news to share about your company’s evolution, new products or partnerships?

A: Yes, we are planning to create a new line of product, Japanese Tart Tonic.  Our products are concentrate and I suggest to mix with water or sparkling water (1:8 ratio) to enjoy Genki-su now.  And this new products will be pre-mix tonic drink and people buy a bottle and drink it right away, bring it with them on the go.

Q: Are you looking for funding?

A: Currently we are running a project on kickstarter to support a new line of our product and looking for funding to expand our current line (new flavors, seasonal and limited flavors, vegan line).http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/genkisu/genki-su-japanese-tart-tonic   

Q: Have you been an entrepreneur before?

A: Not really.  My father was a college professor and mother was a housewife, when I started talking about starting own business, my father thought I would be homeless (laugh).  But people around me supported my idea and encourage me to pursue my passion, health and wellness and creating a good habit leads to our happiness.  Portland has also good communities that support local business and open to try new things, I am so blessed to surrounded by great environment.

Q: What brought you to OEN?

A: I knew about OEN before but felt like the organization is for business elite and didn’t feel I was qualified to join. Then a friend of mine recommended a contact and made an introduction.  I am glad I did!

Q: What has been the biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date?

A: I thought that in order to become an entrepreneur, I had to go to MBA and know a lot about business.  But most important thing is you have a passion for your business and believe in a product, your creation.  People and community can tell if you are real or not, this part you can’t fake it no matter how good you are in business.

Q: What has been the best entrepreneurial advice you’ve received?

A: You have to believe in your self.  Otherwise who would believe in you?  And don’t be afraid failure, if you don’t fail, you never succeed.

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