Elderberries have been an important ingredient in folk medicine for centuries but they only became part of my family’s wellness treatment in 2014. When my oldest daughter was little, she was constantly plagued with ear infections, that often led to colds, drainage and other yukies. Our pediatrician started the conversation about surgically inserting tubes as a solution. This suggestion brought the “crunchy mom” out of me like anger to the hulk. So, I began my research for alternative medicines and remedies.
We first turned to essential oils, the gateway drug to the natural living lifestyle, and while lavender is my go to cure for almost everything, garlic oil is an extremely effective medicine for ear infections! Two drops at the first signs and that infection doesn’t stand a chance (still use this remedy today). Another remedy that kept popping up in my searches was elderberry syrup for sinus congestion. I decided to give elderberry syrup a try to see if it worked as well as the garlic oil did for ear infections. I was not disappointed!
My first batch:
Since elderberry syrup typically costs about $3-4 an ounce at the store, and I’m a teacher, I immediately started making my own. I found several recipes online and picked one that sounded good. My first batch smelled delicious and tasted great. At this point my husband called it “witches brew” and refused to drink it. He became my test subject. Over the next couple of years I tweaked the recipe with each new batch and finally settled on the recipe we still use today, husband approved.
Here comes Facebook:
One winter night in 2017 I was scrolling through a neighborhood mom’s group on Facebook and came across a post asking if anyone made elderberry syrup. One simple comment that I made elderberry syrup, became a conversation about selling a bottle to her. Being that this conversation was open to all group messages, that one comment changed my life forever.
I was soon asked by a dozen other moms if they could also buy some, then if they could share my info with others who were looking. One, ten, fifty orders in a matter of days. At the time I only made 4 bottles in a batch, and so I got to cooking.
I started to hear great feedback on my recipe and moms/dads were clambering to get some. That year the flu season in Houston was getting off to an especially bad start and it seemed like everyone knew someone who was affected. Elderberry syrup was one of the highest recommended products for fighting the flu symptoms and my syrup was in very high demand.
Making it a business:
With all of the demand and the initial orders continuing to grow, my husband and I made the decision to invest the resources to be a real company. As a couple we had wanted to build something together, in addition to a wonderful family, and this became a great project. “The Husband,” as he’s known in the company, leveraged his marketing company to get the brand off the ground and streamline our ordering process. Within one week of selling my first bottle I had an incredible brand that I love and resonates with our customers, as well as a fully functional ecommerce website.
As demand continued to grow so did our operations. In early 2020 we outgrew our home kitchen and the Texas Cottage Kitchen laws, and moved into a store front equipped with a commercial kitchen and became a licensed food manufacturer. The Husband manages the day to day operations, as I still enjoy being a full time teacher, and as a family we work together in the evenings and weekends as a true mom and pop business.
The story of Live Berry Well is one of serendipity and hard work. It would not have been possible without the amazing support of our community. Thank you to everyone who’s purchased a bottle, a tea, or DIY kit and extra thanks for those who gave me praise and confidence in the first 100 bottles – it was that feedback gave us the drive and confidence to grow.