We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Salazar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve been making elderberry syrup for my family for years (since I became a Mom) but what prompted me to start selling it to my community was a really scary experience with my youngest son two years ago. In October 2018 he was sick for about a week; we were in and out of his pediatrician’s office at least 2-3 times. His doctor at the time kept telling us he had a virus, let it run its course. Finally, the night before my twins 4th birthday his breathing seemed very labored and my husband said we should take him to the hospital. I did, and they admitted him immediately. His oxygen levels were low-they gave him oxygen, they gave him an IV for fluids and all he did was sleep the whole time. He ended up being diagnosed with bronchiolitis and RSV. He was given some strong antibiotics, we stayed overnight and in the morning he woke up feeling so much better. We were released from the hospital by that afternoon and I immediately went home and made a big batch of elderberry syrup. When I say it is liquid gold, I mean it. My family has consistently taken it since that hospital stay and we have stayed healthy. Before Noah was born I had always made elderberry syrup around cold and flu season and I just hadn’t gotten to it yet that year but now (obviously) I always keep it in my fridge. I started offering it to family, friends and neighbors because I found it to be so beneficial to us. Then people started referring people to me and it has just grown from there.
What should our readers know about your business?
My initial vision when creating my business was to cater to people like myself: busy families that don’t have time to get sick. I make it a point to treat my customers how I would like to be treated. With that in mind, I always try to say “yes.” Saying yes has lead to me developing more products such as my honey-free elderberry syrup or my sugar-free elderberry syrup for keto dieters and diabetics. I also make custom syrup (made-to-order) for customers that have allergies or don’t like certain ingredients. My syrup is very potent, I dont skimp on ingredients just to save money so it is highly effective and I can confidently stand behind it because I know that it works. I think those things definitely set me apart from other vendors in the area. Im really excited about the growth we’ve had since starting. It has been exponential and that is fabulous because my products are speaking for themselves. I’ve received so many referrals and as a way of thanking my loyal customers I offer free products with future purchases. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is that first and foremost, I am a Mom to four beautiful kids (13, 5, 5, 3)–Ive been able to still put them first and keep them home with me while I am building my business. They go on deliveries with me, they were my taste-testers for our gummies when we first started making them and they love our elderberry syrup. This is truly a by-family-for-family business. Something I’ve learned along the way is that people love to be able to talk to someone before they order. I’ve gone back and forth about developing a website where people can just generically add their products to their cart and pay. Since elderberry syrup is not totally mainstream people have alot of questions about it. Questions that they can ask me via email or even text or call my personal phone. They aren’t just reading an FAQ on a web page. When it comes to our kids and family don’t we all want personal attention? They are our top priority.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am from Ohio but have been in Texas 10 years now and we have had many visitors and have done this tour many times. A few of our favorite places are The Houston Zoo, the Aquarium, we have the new Margaritaville Lake Resort in Conroe along with Hurricane Harbor Splashtown just down the street from us. We would definitely visit Craft Grill, a locally owned restaurant for Texas favorites. During Crawfish season we like to take friends and family to Drunken Oyster or BBs Tex Orleans. For more upscale dining,Tris is our favorite! The parks here are also AMAZING. We love North Shore Park in The Woodlands, Kickerillo Mischner Preserve is gorgeous in Houston. Discovery Green is also fantastic with events and movies during the summer (when there isn’t a pandemic). We also love to go to Vintage Park for live music, great restaurants like El Tiempo for Mexican food and Margaritas. One of our favorite brunch spots is there too–Another Broken Egg. I have a sweet tooth so I always try to sneak in a trip to a local bakery – Luliet in Spring is delicious as well as Wisdom Vegan Bakery. We also love to go to the beach so any chance to sneak away to Galveston for a day always blows away our out of town guests to have a beach so close-by.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, my husband Rob Salazar– I came to him with this crazy idea and he encouraged me to run with it. No matter how exhausted I am he tells me to “stick with it, and that nobody works as hard as you do to make your customers happy.” He has always believed in me.
I use several local networking groups to promote my business. Womens Council of Entrepreneurs; Woodlands Girls Night Out; Play, Shop & Live Local just to name a few. All of which have been pivotal to my success because I am marketing to thousands of people with my weekly posts.
My husband, Rob Salazar
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