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How Raina Kumra Made $14k The Month She Launched Her Functional Spices



How Raina Kumra Made $14k The Month She Launched Her Functional Spices

Raina Kumra is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record. When she sees a problem, she rolls her sleeves and works on a solution. Most recently, she’s tackling the health crisis in her own way.

Nursing her daughter and husband back to health when they were sick opened up Raina’s eyes even more to the idea of food as medicine. So she decided to start her own company to address the nutritional deficiencies many of us face. And Spicewell was born.

Her line of functional spices is growing, and the sky’s the limit. She earned $14k alone during her launch month, and growth so far has been 600% month-on-month.

Keep reading to find out:

  • About Raina’s impressive entrepreneurial background
  • How she helped her husband and daughter recover after their accidents
  • What exact problem she’s looking to solve
  • What her spices do for the body
  • How much Spicewell has grown since it was launched
  • What the future holds for the company
  • Raina’s views on SEO
  • The tools and resources she’s used
  • Her biggest challenge
  • Her greatest accomplishment
  • What she wishes she knew when she started
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Raina Kumra

My name is Raina, and I grew up with Ayurveda. I learned from my mother and grandmother that the first stop when illness strikes isn’t the drug store—it’s the spice drawer. 

I had a great multi-decade career spanning tech, media, investing, and government. I spent the first part of my career in advertising, crafting digital campaigns for Nike, Levi’s Johnny Walker, and ESPN. I led digital at one of the most respected ad agencies in the world, W+K, and then I did a 180 because I knew I had to do more than sell things. 

I started a solar training non-profit called Light Up Malawi, and when that got acquired, I took a job at the State Department working on diplomatic innovation. That led to co-leading innovation at a federal bureau for international media and information, where I was handpicked by Walter Isaacson and President Obama. 

After that, I moved back home to California and joined a venture-funded tech startup as a co-founder. I then moved from founder to investor and worked with Omidyar, led a technology ethics movement, and finally started The Fund LA. 

All the while, I consulted with Fortune 50 companies and continue to be an advisor to Google X’s moonshots.  Even during that time, functional medicine was something that called me. And, perhaps for the first time since childhood, I decided to listen.

Why She Created Spicewell

Mid-pandemic, my family went through a bit of a health crisis. 

My husband had just had knee surgery and was laid up, and the next morning my daughter broke her collarbone. So then I had two patients and another child to care for. And caretaking is the hardest job in the world. 

I was very focused on getting them healthy as fast as possible, and I knew I would do it through food. I hid vegetables I took from my garden in my 5-year-old’s food by dehydrating and powdering them to blend into her smoothie and sprinkle on her soups. It took my daughter only 7 days to be back on her feet again, while most people with broken collarbones take at least two weeks. 

I did the same for my husband, dosing them with turmeric and other medicinal herbs and spices. They both healed tremendously fast. Once they healed and I returned to my kitchen, I had all these vegetable powders lying around and put on my hat of solving problems at scale. 

I asked myself, how could I impact the nutrient deficiency we all face without changing habits? I looked down at the salt and pepper on my counter, and Spicewell was born. 

1676691477 325 How Raina Kumra Made 14k The Month She Launched Her

The Inspiration Behind Raina’s Project

I began formally studying plant medicine to deepen my understanding of the science behind where our medicine originally came from. I understood how the food we eat has an outsized impact on our ability to fend off chronic disease.  

I began researching that our soil has fewer nutrients now than ever and that the food grown in this soil is also less nutritional. I came to understand how our entire food and health system was broken. 

And no matter how well we eat, we’re still not getting enough of what we need. I learned that most Americans are walking around with a nutrient deficiency and that there’s a direct link to chronic illness. 

And, being the problem-solver and movement-builder I am at my core, I was determined to fix this at scale. 

I set out to solve this problem by starting with the first nutrient-dense and lower-in-sodium salt and pepper. I’ve added ancient Ayurvedic formulations known to help the body and mind adapt to inflammation and stress and 21 vitamins and minerals to eat with your food—the way they were always meant to be absorbed. 

We were lucky to have Dr. Mark Hyman and Ann Veneman as our earliest advisors, both true believers in the power of food. 

Spicewell’s Growth

We’ve grown so much in our first year, we landed in our first retailer (Gelson’s), and we’re headed to several more exciting ones very soon. 

Our New Pepper was nominated for a NEXTY award, which is very critical in the food industry, and we were honored with a Trendsetters spotlight at the Fancy Food Show, which was our first time exhibiting. All of this was such a surprise, and we couldn’t even believe it. 

It’s wonderful to hear from our customers that they have completely swapped out their salt and pepper with ours and only use us now. It’s so lovely to hear that it is helping people’s parents with their arthritis symptoms, and parents send it to their undernourished college children all the time, and moms use it to sneak vegetables into their kids. 

The Future of Spicewell

This next year will be all about retail growth and partnerships. 

We have several collaborations coming up, and we’re so excited to be working with Chef Palak Patel on our trio of seasonings: Tandoori, Indian Taco, and Bullion, which will be launching this spring. She’s a force in the kitchen and so fun to work with. 

And beyond that, we’ve just launched several new items in our quest to take over your kitchen, your pantry, and your diet with easy-to-swap-out ingredients that are simply, better, and more functional.

The vision isn’t just to have a successful CPG company or create an enduring brand. The vision, for me, is to put back on my policy hat and head back to DC once this is commercially successful and use Spicewell to drive change in food policy. 

There are so many ingredients in our food that we shouldn’t be eating. That makes us ill and ages us faster. That leads us directly into the hands of Big Pharma. I want to change that and give Americans a better chance at living healthy lives. 

How Much Money Raina is Making

This information is private for the moment, but we did make $14K in our launch month, and this past December, have shown growth above 600% MoM. 

Her Top Marketing Strategy

We publish a lot of content, and that has really helped us.

But our number one strategy is to strike a balance between online and offline: spending time IRL and activating word of mouth and pairing it with solid digital awareness.

We utilize the power of word of mouth and sampling more than any other strategy.

Her View of SEO

SEO is mission-critical. I would rather invest more in SEO than ads in the long term. 

Regarding content, we were more buttoned up about this in the first few months, but now we just wing it and have a good time guessing what people want to hear about most.

As for link building, we’ve done a few content experiments and worked with some vendors who do backlinking and had some success with it for our page rank.

Her Favorite Resources and Tools

I love newsletters like the Consumer Packaged Goods Directory (CPGD) and Food Dive, and communities like Foodboro and StartupCPG, and absolutely Naturally LA!

The three tools we use the most are Klaviyo, Shopify, and Hootsuite.

Raina’s Biggest Challenge

What’s been most difficult has been finding a sustainable supply for packaging.

The packaging industry is so flawed! Sourcing ingredients and transparency are also very important to us.

Her Greatest Accomplishment

Going beyond the initial idea to the first product—that’s always the hardest and most thrilling part.

What She Wishes She Knew When She Started

I wish I had known several things:

  1. Businesses take years of care and feeding before they can cross over to that overnight success moment. It’s all behind the scenes, while the ‘Instagram version’ of founding a company is incredibly damaging and discouraging.
  2. How important it is to find my people and community to journey with
  1. That taking investor money was just about the same as getting married to them
  2. I wish someone had told me how ridiculous the packaging industry is and how awful it is for the planet. I didn’t realize just how much plastic was being pushed at me until I really began searching for plastic-free packaging options. It took me 12 weeks to find the right packaging that was also compostable/recyclable and using post-consumer waste plastic—-by far the biggest surprise in this business.

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

This is a tough time to build, but those who persevere in this time are more likely to succeed in the long term because that’s the recipe for building real healthy businesses! 

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Red Lobster Speaks Out on ‘Misunderstood’ Bankruptcy Filing



Red Lobster Speaks Out on 'Misunderstood' Bankruptcy Filing

It may be the end of an era for beloved seafood chain Red Lobster, which officially declared bankruptcy on Monday after months of speculation and dozens of abrupt restaurant closures.

Now, the company is speaking out to loyal customers — and investigating the role that its shrimp supplier may have played in its demise.

Related: Red Lobster Suddenly Shutters Dozens of Locations Without Warning Employees, Begins Auctioning Off Equipment

In a letter posted to social media, Red Lobster thanked customers for their nearly five decades of loyalty and assured the masses that the chain wasn’t going anywhere.

“Bankruptcy is a word that is often misunderstood. Filing for bankruptcy does not mean we are going out of business,” Red Lobster wrote. “In fact, it means just the opposite. It is a legal process that allows us to make changes to our business and our cost structure so that Red Lobster can continue as a stronger company going forward.”

Red Lobster noted that companies including Delta Airlines and Hertz “emerged stronger” after filing for Chapter 11 (Delta in September 2005, Hertz in May 2020) and found ways to bounce back.

“Birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and yes, weddings. We’ve been here for them all,” the chain penned. “Red Lobster is determined to be there for these moments for generations to come.”

Red Lobster’s downfall was a slow burn, primarily blamed on an $11 million loss in November 2023 due to the chain rollout of an “Endless Shrimp” promotion. The deal offered customers all the shrimp they could eat for $20, and it proved to be a bit too popular.

Last week, it was reported that stores had begun shuttering without warning around the country, with dozens auctioning off all of their furniture and equipment online and some employees claiming they were given no notice ahead of time.

In a filing on Sunday, Red Lobster CEO Jonathan Tibus called out former CEO Paul Kenny and Red Lobster’s seafood supplier and owner, Thai Union, regarding decisions made surrounding the “Endless Shrimp” promotion and that Red Lobster is “currently investigating the circumstances” around the decision to make the promotion permanent instead of limited-time.

Related: Endless Shrimp Deal Is Too Popular, Red Lobster Loses $11M

“I understand that Thai Union exercised an outsized influence on the Company’s shrimp purchasing,” Tibus wrote. “[Red Lobster is] exploring the impact of the control Thai Union exerted, in concert with Mr. Kenny and other Thai Union-affiliated entities and individuals, and whether actions taken in light of these parties’ varying interests were appropriate and consistent with applicable duties and obligations to Red Lobster.”

Thai Union completed its purchase of Red Lobster in 2020.

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UMass Dartmouth Commencement Speaker Gives Grads $1000 Each



UMass Dartmouth Commencement Speaker Gives Grads $1000 Each

The best commencement speeches are often motivational and thought-provoking, leaving new graduates optimistic as they head into the “real world.”

But for the Class of 2024 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, new grads walked away with more than just a wealth of knowledge — they left their ceremony with an extra $1,000 in their pockets.

Related: ‘There Is More To Life Than Work’: Bill Gates Delivers Emotional Message To Graduates About Learning To Take A Break

Last week, the founder and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, Robert Hale Jr., spoke to grads at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth about their futures and shared a story about a time when his business suffered a $1 billion loss in just one day to explain the importance of perseverance through failure.

“It’s okay to fail,” Hale told graduates. “Life will give you challenges and if you take those challenges you’ll fail from time to time — don’t worry about it … don’t fear failure, understand that it’s just part of the process, and if you use that fear of failure to motivate yourself, you’ll be better for it.”

Then, as he wrapped up, he shocked the audience by announcing he was giving each graduate graduate $1,000 — but there was a catch.

“These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring, and giving,” Hale told students. “Our community needs you and your generosity more than ever.”

The students were given two envelopes with $500 each — one was intended for the students to keep for themselves while the other was for them to give to someone else in need.

Related: Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice to Grads: Banish Self-Doubt, Dream Bigger and Lean In, Always

“As the degree conferral was about to begin, Hale came forward and let the graduates know he had one more bit of advice for them. He told the eager crowd that for him and his wife Karen, ‘the greatest joys we’ve had in our life have been the gift of giving,'” UMass Dartmouth said in a release. “Hale let the Class of 2024 know that the two large duffle bags being brought up on stage by security were packed with envelopes full of cash.”

There were roughly 1,200 students in UMass Dartmouth’s 2024 graduating class.

Hale’s current net worth is an estimated $5.4 billion.

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Stay Prepared on the Road with This $80 Tire Inflator



Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Business travel is inherently risky because driving poses certain innate hazards. If you’re a business leader sending yourself, team members, or employees out on the road, the least you can do is equip them with the tools they need to operate as safely as possible and get out of a jam if they happen to run into one.

A great tool that’s designed to help fix flat tires, this HOTO Air Pump Pro Portable Air Compressor and Tire Inflator, is on sale for just $79.99 (reg. $119). Promised to be 85% faster than competitors, this four-preset air pump is made to be able to fill a tire in at most five minutes.

Running on a 12V pump motor, this fast-working pump features a powerful battery life that can charge as many as 15 under-inflated tires within a single charge. When you’re filling up, the pump also prevents you from overdoing things with its worry-free automatic stop that ceases operations when the proper inflation is met.

This fantastic tire pump can serve as a great safety tool for business travelers. It can also promote exercise and recreation when used to pump up sports balls and bike tires.

The versatility and quality of this small, compact device have added up to make it a hit amongst users and critics alike. It’s even earned a coveted nomination from MoMa Design.

Don’t forget that for a limited time only, this HOTO Air Pump Pro Portable Air Compressor and Tire Inflator is on sale for just $79.99 (reg. $119).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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