Jodi Cup of Health Owner Jodi Bryan participated in the 2022 reSET Impact Accelerator. She spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about why she started her business and what she gained from the accelerator experience.
NAN PRICE: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
JODI BRYAN: I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I knew early on that I didn’t want to work for someone for the rest of my life. I’m a free spirit and I’ve always enjoyed the liberty of having control of my time. But you go to school, life happens, bills happen, and you kind of fall into normalcy.
NAN: When did you lean into your entrepreneurial side?
JODI: I officially started my entrepreneurial journey with multi-level marketing. I also knew that wasn’t for me because it was dependent on other people and how the food chain system works. That experience helped me figure out, this is not what I want. I want to spearhead something where I can grow branches and help other people grow.
I’ve always loved making beverages. So, in 2008 I launched my beverage company making 100% organic juices. But I was ahead of the market. And, if I had the financial stickability, I probably would still be in that industry. But it was time consuming and money consuming. I had to make a hard decision to put it on the back burner for now and come back to it when could do it without financially struggling.
NAN: How did you come up with the business concept for Jodi Cup of Health?
JODI: I was inspired by my niece, Daisy Lee. She had terrible eczema when she was a baby. I was born in Jamaica. Growing up, I saw how my grandparents and great grandparents used natural remedies to heal their ailments. I decided to formulate some natural mixtures to see if they would help Daisy. They did. And, like they say in showbiz, the rest is history.
Daisy’s mom shared the products I was making with her friends and coworkers, who wanted to buy more. I started accepting money to cover the raw ingredients. The orders got big and more people kept coming. At that point, I realized I needed to figure out how monetize not just the ingredients but my time. That’s initially how the business began. It kind of started by accident, but found a life of its own.
NAN: When did you officially form your business?
JODI: I was doing it for fun as I was still working my 9-5 at the University of Saint Joseph School of Pharmacy. But I always wanted to make the transition to doing my business full time, because entrepreneurship has always been the end goal.
The timing wasn’t right because I wanted to put myself in a position where I was financially capable. I had learned from my previous encounter with my beverage company that if you’re struggling financially while being an entrepreneur, sometimes you can feel defeated. So, I wanted to make sure I had enough money in the bank that when I made the transition, I could solely focus on the business.
Then the pandemic happened and my contract at USJ was terminated in June 2020. I thought: What better time? This is my opportunity. If I don’t leap now, I’ll probably never leap.
So, I took a leap of faith and decided to take on full-time entrepreneurship. I kind of did the steps backward. I launched my website in August 2020 and I officially launched my LLC in November 2020. I officially launched the Jodi Cup of Health Skincare products in November 2022
NAN: How did you become involved with reSET?
JODI: When I was vending Winterfair I formed relationships with many of the other vendors, including Ital Creations Founder Audrene Dias. She had gone through the reSET Retail Incubator and encouraged me to apply for the Impact Accelerator program.
I told her I didn’t feel like I was ready because there were still a lot of steps I needed to take. She told me reSET would help with the steps. I thought: What’s the worst thing that could happen? So, I applied and made the deadline by seconds!
Before that, I wasn’t familiar with reSET. I did some research and saw the work they’re doing creating long-lasting impact in the community. I fell in love. And I know I’ll always be in their ecosystem.
NAN: What’s the biggest lesson you learned from participating in the accelerator?
JODI: There are so many good things! I’ll round it down to my top three.
The first is to endure. Just show up. Sadly, one of my cousins who is like a sibling to me passed away on February 24. I started the program on March 5. I was ready to not continue on with the program because it was so hard. Instead I made a conscious decision to show up. And everyone there helped me along the way. So, I learned a valuable lesson that just showing up sometimes is enough and you’ll get what you need as you continue.
The second lesson is asking when you don’t know—even if it seems silly. As an entrepreneur, especially a solo entrepreneur, you’ve been doing things by yourself for so long that you can get into the habit of figuring everything out on your own. Being in the reSET program taught me to rely on other people for information. It saves me time and it gets me what I need faster.
I think the most important takeaway is, this is a lifelong journey. When you’re an entrepreneur, I don’t ever think you stop being one. You just learn how to evolve.
Being in reSET and being among so many like-mind individuals and hearing their stories has been inspiring. I realize this isn’t just a program I’m going to do for five months with these amazing individuals. This is a lifelong journey and I’m building relationships that are going to create collaborations for years to come.