Mara Smith of Inspiro Tequila on breaking into the male-dominated spirits industry

Website-Header-Template-5

Describe your business in a few words:

I am a former attorney, corporate strategist and stay-at-home mom, and the founder of Inspiro Tequila.  I started drinking tequila when I was looking for a clean, gluten-free spirit that fit into my active lifestyle. I searched for a tequila brand that was additive-free with a look, taste and aroma that appealed to me. That perfect tequila did not exist, so I decided to create one. My goal was not just to create a one-of-a-kind tequila, it was also to bring another female voice to the spirits industry.  Women are a part of every aspect of Inspiro Tequila’s process, from creating our taste profiles to getting bottles on the shelves.  As a female founder, my mission is to inspire and support other women on their entrepreneurial journeys through financial support and mentoring.  

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I began my legal career at a large law firm in Chicago before joining the corporate strategy team at a Fortune 100 Company.  After my twins were born prematurely, I decided to leave the corporate world to focus on my family.

I never stopped thinking about what was next. I was also someone who was always ideating different business concepts or coming up with ideas on how to improve on existing offerings.  In 2020, I finally followed my dream of starting my own company by founding Inspiro Tequila.  For years, tequila had been my spirit of choice and I noticed that more and more of my friends also were choosing tequila since it fit into their healthier lifestyles.  There really were no brands offering an additive-free tequila with a look, taste and aroma focused on us as the consumer.  I thought there was an opportunity to innovate and bring a female perspective to the traditionally male-dominated spirits industry.  

During the pandemic I suddenly found myself with more time on my hands to really delve in and focus on getting my company off the ground, so Inspiro Tequila became a reality from my kitchen.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

When I was younger I was too busy and working at such a frenzied pace that I never had a minute to stop and think about other career options.  I was ultra focused on working my way up the legal or corporate ladder so I never stopped to reflect on what I really wanted out of my career.   I always had a desire to run my own company, but I needed to slow down for a minute to take the time to focus on turning this dream into a reality.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Initially, our marketing strategy was focused on organic social media via Instagram to build brand awareness.  I really don’t have much experience in social media, so it’s been quite a learning curve for me.  It’s definitely harder than I anticipated to grow an engaged following.  It’s so important to provide value added content.  Since launching we have added an e-mail newsletter and blog to our marketing efforts and I really enjoy providing interesting information and connecting with our community through these platforms.

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?

The biggest challenge was when our first production run did not work out.  The agave did not cool enough before milling (normally a minor detail) but the taste profile did not meet Ana Maria Romero’s, our master distiller, or my standards.  It was suggested that maybe we combine two runs, but I did not want to use product that was subpar.  I ended up getting rid of the entire run which delayed us many months.  I learned that the most important thing is our quality and even if it might take longer, I want us to be meticulous about everything we do.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am most proud of the fantastic reviews we have received.  I get really excited when people taste the product and love it.  We were just part of a blind taste test by tequila aficionados and fans and we beat out two really well known, big brands.  This was a huge accomplishment for a new, small brand.

What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?

Find a network of support.  It’s a lonely journey as a solo entrepreneur and you truly cannot do everything yourself.  It’s so important to find people to help guide you, to give you feedback and to offer support.   Communities of female founders and leaders like the Entreprenista League have been instrumental in getting my company launched.  I would advise everyone to find communities that are collaborative and supportive to get involved in.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We are currently only available online.  We are excited to enter retailers in 2022 and over the next few years we want people to be able to purchase Inspiro Tequila all over the country and their local retailers.

What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?

I really like to learn from other female founders and to share my learnings on my entrepreneurial journey.  It’s a really collaborative community and it takes a community of support when you are launching a new venture.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Chef Joanne Thomas on Transforming Her Passion into A Culinary Business

“I didn’t realize that it was my gift. I know it was something that I enjoyed and it’s something that I loved, but I didn’t learn that it was my gift until I got into my 30s.” As a young girl, Joanne Thomas used her Easy-Bake Oven to make the best light-bulb-baked brownies that anyone…

April Gargiulo on Addressing the Luxury Skincare Market Gap

“So often in the beauty world the purpose of the communication is to create a sense of fear and insecurity and I refuse to participate in that.” In this episode of Entreprenista, we sat down with April Gargiulo, founder and CEO of Vintner’s Daughter, a Nutritional Skincare brand founded on the principles of unparalleled quality…

Cigdem Oztabak on Her Marketing and Communication Consultant Company

Hi, Cigdem! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Cigdem. With over 21 years of experience in marketing and a fervent entrepreneurial spirit, I bring a comprehensive background in product marketing, communication, and content marketing focused on B2C mobile fintech app, B2B software sectors. Currently, I serve as a panel…

Keynote Speaker and Success Coach Rosann Santos on Her Business Journey

Hi, Rosann! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Rosann Santos, a keynote speaker and success coach. I enjoy coaching my clients by using their strengths to move them forward. My exceptional communication skills in both English and Spanish allow me to stand out above the crowd. I empower, enlighten,…

Veteran Sherrie Bryant Shares About Her Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Company

Hi, Sherrie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hello, My name is Sherrie Bryant. I’m a veteran and woman-owned business. I served 31 years of service in the United States Army. I founded BLK ESSENSE, LLC, with one goal: to provide handcrafted and high-quality fragrances made from essential oils. BLK ESSENSE…

Transforming E-commerce Brands with Data-Driven Email Marketing with Shlesha Pandey

“I’ve tried so many things, I’ve been in the feast and famine cycle. First you struggle to get clients or customers and then you struggle with your marketing to keep up with that. It’s never ending. There’s always something to do and it’s important to take a pause and step back and look at how…

Mastering the Art of Serial Entrepreneurship with Divya Gugnani of Wander Beauty & 5 SENS

“Every email that goes out with a pitch to tell someone about the brand—they may not answer, they may not opt in for product, and we may not gift them, but I built one more touch point of brand awareness and maybe [they] read that email and discovered our brand. You have to be what…

Style Meets Comfort With Alexa Stimpfel’s Company, The Shoe Fairy

Hi, Alexa! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: My name is Alexa! I am the visionary entrepreneur behind The Shoe Fairy, where style meets comfort in the world of high heels. I am a shoe designer, e-commerce expert, a trailblazer in the bodybuilding industry, and above all, a mother. I founded…

Alexia Dubois’ Company Offers Sustainable, Luxurious Kid’s Apparel

Hi, Alexia! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Alexia. At Shop Amour USA, we offer a unique selection of carefully curated European kid’s clothes brands that embody our strong values and commitment to quality. Our exclusive collection of premium kid’s clothing is designed and produced in Europe. We work…

Sandra Morno Helps Women Entrepreneurs Manage Their Money

Hi, Sandra! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Sandra Morno, a tax strategist and IRS Enrolled Agent, and I run SSBM Consulting LLC. I specialize in helping women with six-figure service businesses in the U.S., who live abroad or travel, manage their taxes. My mission is to educate and save…

Conquering Financial Trauma with Alejandra Rojas

“We learn the financial services, we learn what is in that system. We don’t learn about our relationship with money. We don’t learn about our relationship with success. We didn’t learn anything that has to do with the emotional and mindset side of money. You might know the instruments, you may know the old literacy…

Emily Walker Created Her Own Freedom With a Medical Credentialing Business

Hi, Emily! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Emily, the owner of Integrity Medical Credentialing Services. I help providers build a strong base for their practice by ensuring they are connected correctly to the insurance companies needed and that their credentialing and information are accurate and current. What excites…

Building a Beauty Empire from the Ground Up with Kitsch Founder, Cassandra Thurswell

“I realized with every business that I’ve ever had, that is my strength, being of service. I’m an excellent waitress. I am an excellent people pleaser. I will serve until the day I die because I genuinely love doing it so much.” In this episode of Entreprenista, we sat down with Cassandra Thurswell, Founder and…

Carissa Jennings on Turning Pain Into Passion With Her Beauty Supply Store

Hi, Carissa! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Carissa Jennings, a widowed mother of one child and inspiring author of a memoir I’ve been working on since 2016. A year after the death of my terminally ill father, I turned entrepreneur by turning my pain into my passion. I…

Christina Nicholson on Her Modern Marketing Agency, Media Maven

Hi, Christina! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Christina, I’m a journalist, national TV producer, and publicity and content creation agency owner of Media Maven. Our three-part YES Method amplifies the brand’s media exposure without breaking the bank. I started Media Maven after working as a local TV anchor and…