Mel Divers wasn’t looking to start a business—she was looking for nourishment from nature after a cancer diagnosis. “I wanted to add more superfoods with immune boosting benefits to my diet, and my research pointed to turmeric, ginger, and lemon as powerful ingredients,” says Divers. She learned that the full benefit of turmeric root came from its activating compound, curcumin, and had an “aha” moment in the grocery store one day. “I decided to mix it with lemon and ginger to make elixirs, adding the ingredients to my diet a lot easier and faster,” Divers says.
After playing around with various recipes, Divers finally found the perfect mix and felt a dramatic effect in her body. She decided to share the magic at her first farmers’ market in 2014 and launched Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs.
Whatever happens naturally
Although Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs saw rapid rise in demand, Divers wanted to stay true to her initial vision. “My mission has stayed the same throughout all this growth: to share nature’s ingredients responsibly,” states Divers. “Our small batch turmeric elixirs have a low impact on the planet, but high impact in people’s health and their lives.”
Her first exposure to exporting opportunities was through family members in Ontario asking for her to ship the elixirs to them. “Soon, people all over the world were contacting me, asking me to ship to them,” reflects Divers. Her goal was to get Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs into the hands of people who wanted them.
Divers figured that getting her product into the US was a reasonable endeavor. “I felt that we were a strong enough competitor because we were at the forefront of the wave of functional and healthy beverages,” she explained. “Moonshine Mama’s had been established and growing long before—and ever since—it became more common for people to search for healthy ways to incorporate superfoods into their diets.”
The right formula
Once Divers connected with Export Navigator, it set off a chain reaction. “My Advisor, Fabrizio Alberico, constantly pushed info, and he was the one who passed along the study of the functional beverage industry in the US to help identify new markets,” she explains. With Fabrizio’s recommendation, Divers completed the Trade Accelerator Program and put together an export plan. He also introduced her to a large business network.
“Fab put me in touch with so many amazing people and organizations,” says Divers. “I spent the last nine months in endless meetings because of all the opportunities and connections I gained.” As someone building her business from a rural area, Divers found Export Navigator crucial for cutting through feelings of isolation and connecting her with the larger business community in the Lower Mainland.
Community keeps building
Moonshine Mama’s is now available in stores across Canada with more growth ahead.
“Because of Export Navigator, I now have the research, connections, and the plan to start expanding to new markets,” Divers notes. “In January I’m opening distribution into Quebec, and then into US stores in the spring.”
With all her upcoming export initiatives over the next six months, Divers was able to hire more staff. Moonshine Mama’s also gained new partnerships with distributors. “The most exciting part of exporting to me is still just getting the next order, and a huge indicator of success to me is repeat orders,” smiles Divers. “I’m happy to see customers continue to support my business.”
Divers can’t recommend Export Navigator enough. “I felt like a top priority in Export Navigator and my advisor took the time to understand my business and share anything that would benefit us,” says Divers. “I feel like I’ve gained a partner in my business, and that’s extremely valuable.”