I am so excited to introduce you to this ultra Smarty Mom, Stephanie Rickenbaker. She and I go waaaaaay back – I mean, like back to elementary school board games, high school nights spent working at GapKids SouthPark, and post-college, pre-marriage apartment living. She’s someone I’ve known so long and so well that I first had this post headlined with her maiden name and realized my mistake just in the nick of time ;-). I am SO proud of where she is now and what’s she’s doing – she deserves every bit of success.
Stephanie is the mom to two beautiful kiddos and an amazing momprenuer. If you’re on MIC, you’ve probably heard of the business that is TAKING OFF – Sweet’s Syrup. It’s an elderberry syrup immune booster that you’re gonna want to know about right in time for flu season.
I’ll let her talk more about what got her started and how this elderberry syrup and Sweet’s has changed her life. Enjoy getting to know one of my lifetime friends, Stephanie Rickenbaker!
Smarty Mom: Stephanie Rickenbaker
Married to: Ed for 5 years
Children: Olivia, 4 and Teddy 1.5
Hometown: Matthews (moved from Minnesota at age 6, nearly native)
Years in Charlotte: 34
Neighborhood: Myers Park
Alma Mater: Appalachian State and MBA from University of Colorado
Occupation: Stay at Home Mom and Sweet’s Owner/ Syrup Maker
Tell us about your new elderberry syrup business, Sweet’s Syrup.
Elderberry syrup is a super immune booster and effective natural remedy for coughs, colds, allergies and the flu. The raw local honey I use is extremely beneficial for fighting seasonal allergies and is fine tuned to build immunity against what is currently blooming in Charlotte. Organic ingredients of elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves make a delicious, kid approved flavor packed with antioxidants. It is safe for children over age one (not under because of the raw honey) and nursing mamas. I named it after my daughter Olivia, who we nickname “Sweet” – she’s my sweetest fan.
What inspired you to create the syrup?
I became very passionate about natural remedies and non-toxic living after my husband was diagnosed with CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia) just after we got married. It’s fortunately a very treatable type of cancer and he’s doing great, but he’ll have to take a very toxic medication for the rest of his life. This was a huge eye opener and we have made major life style changes to minimize our family’s toxic burden. I avidly research cleaner choices and changed everything from the food that we eat to the makeup that I use. Elderberry Syrup was one of the natural remedies I learned about to prevent sickness as well as replace most of the over the counter drugs we used to frequently need (Benadryl, Robitussin, Mucinex). Our whole picky family loves it and and we rarely ever get sick anymore!
How did you get started?
The mom’s Facebook group MICIT (Moms in Charge)! I had been making elderberry syrup for a few years and thought others might want to buy some for their family from me. There has been a surge of interest in natural organic products, but most people don’t have the time or wherewithal to make it themselves. When I first posted I thought I would sell maybe a handful – over 150 moms were interested in trying a bottle! Lots of positive testimonials from customers who swear by its efficacy boosted sales and the word spread quickly. “This stuff is magic. I’ve always had the WORST allergies and not even a sniffle yet!” Cody Bunnell. Several of my “elderberry addicts” have symptoms return as soon as they stop taking my syrup and have eliminated their need for medications.
How has the syrup changed your family?
It’s helped keep my family healthy – my daughter hasn’t missed a single day of preschool for being sick (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself…). Sweet’s Syrup is a critical part of our daily healthy regimen of Juice Plus, fish oil, Vitamin D and probiotics along with minimizing dairy and sugar – I swear by it!
How has it changed you?
Sweet’s Syrup has become such an unexpected passion for me! It’s been nice to use my sales expertise and knowledge from business school. I love how Sweet’s has allowed me to be creative, make new friends, help improve the health of my customers and share what I’ve learned about clean living!
What’s been the best part of starting this new endeavor?
The most challenging?
Not enough time or hands…Finding a balance between my business and being a stay-at-home mom has definitely been a struggle.
What’s next for your business?
I’m talking with a few local healthy retailers about stocking it this season. Planning to attend Cotswold farmer’s markets a few Saturdays this Fall and Christmas pop-up markets. Maybe you’ll see me passing out samples at Whole Foods someday soon!
How can Smarties get more information on purchasing the syrup?
I can be reached via PM through my Facebook page or you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The 8 oz bottle is $13 and family sized pint is $25. Pick up is either at my home in Myers Park or at my parents in Matthews (Sardis/51). Integrative Pediatrician Dr. Sheila Kilbane sells it out of her Dilworth office and it is also available at the Fitness Bar at the Dowd YMCA. I’d love for Smarty Moms to try it!
Now for some fun Smarty questions:
Best place to take toddlers on a rainy day? Nature Museum
Family’s favorite fall activity? We love going to the mountains – as an ASU grad it is my happy place!
Best place you’ve ever traveled? The African Safari I took with my family tops the list.
Dream vacation? Maldives and stay in an over the water bungalow
Favorite Netflix series? I haven’t seen any but have collected a huge wish list of series I want watch!
Last book read? The Clean Program by Dr. Alejandro Junger
Best part of raising a family in Charlotte? Charlotte has so much going for it! So many great parks and activities to do with the kids.We love having proximity to both the mountains and the beach, great weather with four seasons. Having family in town is a huge bonus!
First thought when you wake up in the morning? Just five more minutes…
Finish this sentence: I want my kids to know that healthy is….a blessing not to be taken for granted.