by Lindsay Miller
photo by Brian DeMoss
Originally from Nashville, Tiffany Taylor, a certified Raw Food Nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach, immersed herself in the California life by undergoing a lifestyle of raw food nutrition. She is the creator of Blendtopia: a raw, organic, smoothie recipe stored in one bag you simply pour into a blender, mix, and enjoy. She already has a couple degrees—including advertising and nutrition—but Taylor has never stopped being a student.
After moving to Virginia, Taylor needed new ways of supplying nutrition to her growing children. This was her main focus until a close friend came down with stage 4 cancer. She began helping by organizing meals. However, while her friend’s family could eat the solid food Taylor prepared, her friend ultimately could not. She thought, “How can I get [my friend] to consume the nutrition she needs?” This quandary led to the conclusion that smoothies, as an individual meal, could suffice if the ingredients were organic, raw foods. “I messed around with recipes in order to get her to eat something—anything.” But in the meantime, others were telling Taylor she should do something more with this product.
“I didn’t know the first thing about it,” Taylor admits. “I needed to go back and study the science behind this; the business of the food industry I knew nothing about. The advertising and marketing world I had studied, but this was unknown to me.”
So she did one of the scariest things a working mother could do: She went back to school. “I became a raw food nutritionist and studied holistic medicine, but I decided there needed to be a purpose.”
Holistic medicine embraces superfoods and superherbs. “There is so much science I would have never known if I had just jumped into the business game,” she says. “Like how turmeric has to be activated by black pepper in order to release its anti-inflammatory benefits.”
It was also important for Taylor to create something that was delicious and satisfying in flavor. “We have all tasted things that we didn’t love but we consumed because we knew it was good for us.” This is a relatable struggle, seeing as we constantly toil to find things that taste good but are also good for us.
“We knew we took a chance on this business. After starting in a church kitchen with a one year lease—just my mom and I—we decided we needed our own place.” While three kids were running around, she was working long hours with stints of no air conditioning, dealing with lost and ruined product, and a major financial gamble. Nonetheless, Blendtopia was growing. Taylor says, “I still wonder if that was the right move, because like any new company, we carried debt. But in hindsight, we didn’t have options or the time, and there was only one way to prove ourselves.”
After the two-year anniversary of the business, she shared her personal journey on her blog, discussing how navigating the business takes time and how she managed the learning curve. “Not a lot of information out there dives into what it takes to start a business. Like the real, nitty-gritty truth instead of the perfect, prosperous world we see on social media,” says Taylor.
Regardless, Taylor’s most recent success includes Whole Food Market’s global headquarters taking on Blendtopia as a top 20 finalist out of 250 products to compete on the shelves of 450 national stores, and ultimately proving hard work really does pay off.
“It’s been a long road of struggles,” she says, “but I can say from an employee standpoint; incredible. I have found the best people to work with and God bless them for believing.”