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Meet Jordan Berry and Cindee Black of Black and Berry Living in Orange County and San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Berry and Cindee Black.

Jordan and Cindee, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Black and Berry was created with the goal of attaining a more natural way of being. It sounds a little silly and over the top even to us, but it is very true. We are two sisters on two very different paths in the business world who came together on an idea for a sound product that we felt could better people’s lives. What could be better than being part of this growing movement and dialogue for returning to nature?

When Cindee was just five years old, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She learned the acute importance of everything she was putting into her body and even what was in her surrounding environment. In an effort to solve this problem, she visited numerous homeopaths to learn more about unorthodox methods of treating herself, and then proceeded to develop her own homemade remedies to ease the symptoms of her disorder. After having two amazing daughters fully loaded with her genetics, predisposing them to the similar health issues, she got even more scientific. She read everything from scientific studies to blogs, and learned by limiting her exposure to toxins in every way, she could live wholly without medicines and hopefully prevent her sweet girls from facing similar health problems.

The catalyst of Black and Berry happened with a small moment. Cindee’s daughter Violet was visiting her Aunt Jordan for a weekend. Jordan was cleaning up after a pancake breakfast with a common household spray and Violet stunned said, “You are killing us!” She initially shrugged it off as Cindee’s hippy child… but the comment still got her to thinking. She knew that if she had a better alternative available, she would use it. Jordan noodled on potential solutions. She was very familiar with Cindee’s cleaning practices and the constant cauldron of potions for everything: pest control, surface cleaning, and many more. Jordan knew there are a lot of people that would use these products. Jordan and Cindee worked together to tweak the formulas and came together on some mixtures that our friends and families love. They are too good not to share, so here we are!

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been a few “aha” moments along the journey to start Black and Berry Living. We knew that we had a product that should be shared with consumers, but neither of us had started a business before. Cindee’s background is in corporate real estate and Jordan’s is in the e-commerce marketing space, so there was a lot that we had to educate ourselves on, to say the least.

Do you remember the episode of “I Love Lucy” when Lucy and Ethel are manning the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory? Well, that was us when we began our manufacturing process. In February 2019, we picked up 2,600 pounds of vinegar, and our dream quickly became a reality. After ordering our machinery we had to master how to effectively use it and produce all of our product that is being sold in stores and online… it is crazy to think about that. Not only was manufacturing our product a learning curve, but selling in farmers’ markets was also hilarious in the beginning. Neither of us had set up an E-Z Up before, and without the help of other merchants at these markets, those first few markets would have been rough.

Pitching products to stores has also been a huge part of our business model, but it was also something neither of us had done before. It is one thing to tell family and friends about your product, but when you are speaking with a store manager or a buyer, it is a completely different feeling and experience. As we started to pitch markets, there were times where we were tripping over our words and having a hard time conveying our brand messaging and explain how our line of products differentiates from what is currently on the shelves. Looking back now makes us both laugh because we have come so far. With just the two of us, we have been able to secure shelf space in 18 stores!

More lessons that we have learned along the way:
–After 3AM, it is probably a good time to stop bottling (something we learned that the hard way after a vinegar tsunami in our production facility)
–Elevator pitch…. yes, this is something that we needed to have nailed down–and now we do!
–Ask a million questions and be comfortable with failure. Even if you are a small business, you can pivot and change things up. Be okay with change and have fun.

Please tell us about your business.
We are a manufacturer and purveyor of organic products for your home, body, and pets. Our current line consists of products based on organic raw apple cider vinegar infused with essential oils. We are a female-owned and ingredient-conscious lifestyle brand that started our business to provide non-toxic alternatives to mainstream products that are used in the homes of the majority of consumers.

We have an all-purpose cleaner that comes in two scents: citrus and eucalyptus mint. We also produce a pest repellent that is safe for your home, body, and pets, and a hand sanitizer. All of our products are bottled in reusable aluminum bottles, so you can refill our product at one of the three chemical-free refill stations where we sell our product.

We are the only product line in the market that is based on all organic apple cider vinegar and we are so proud of our products because you can clean, treat, and protect with the power of nature. We are small (but mighty!) and we know we are trying to solve a major problem, so the fact that we are excelling at such a rapid pace in the Southern California market is a huge win for us!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We love everything about San Diego! From the small, varied, and distinct neighborhoods to the vibrancy of downtown–we are so excited that we get to call San Diego home base.

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