If you have ever been out to eat in Louisville, I’m sure you have seen or tasted it: Rooibee Red Tea. Heather Howell is the face behind Rooibee Red Tea. She wears many hats in this start-up organization and we got to spend some time with this C’Tea’O (get it, like CEO with Tea). We are amazed at her energy, vision and drive.
How did you start working for Rooibee Red Tea and what is your job now?
I began working with Rooibee Red Tea in May 2010. When I transitioned, I was working for Humana. I was approached by the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Rooibee Red Tea and after several meetings with the Founder of Rooibee Red Tea, Jeff Stum, it was an opportuniTEA I could not pass up. Having an opportunity to lead a healthy, organic, one-of-a-kind, award-winning brand in my home of Louisville, Kentucky… awesome.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Inspiring others–be it my colleagues, retailers, consumers–to think about their health and to drink what’s good for you.
What flavor is your favorite?
Sweltering Hot Day – Watermelon Mint
Typical Day – Unsweet
Family Favorite for Dinner – Cranberry Pomegranate
Morning – Vanilla Chai, heated up
PARTY TIME – PEACH (Makes a great mixer, too!)
Sunshine in My Day – Lemon Honey
Feeling Just Plain Southern – Sweet
What is the best advice you have received personally and professionally?
“Heather, there is no easy way to get to the top, owning an emerging beverage brand… it’s a long, hard, slog!” –Honest Tea, Seth Goldman
Who is your mentor?
Phoebe Wood (former CFO, Brown-Forman).
What is your weakness?
Guilt is my constant companion. As a working mother, I tend to beat myself up about being the best, loving mother, determined business woman, communiTEA leader, friend and wife to my husband of ten years.
Secretly, what would you love to do for a career?
Hands down… Project Runway judge.
You divulged to me that you change clothes many times a day for your job. Walk me through a typical day and wardrobe changes.
My typical day is the following:
Taking our children to school in the morning.
I like a quiet office to think each morning where I barrel through requests for donations, working on proposals to retailers, looking through reports, and running a company.
Preparation for board meetings.
Executing sales calls. While writing this, I am in Akron, Ohio calling on new accounts!
Meeting with marketing/PR/Social Media partners.
Loading up my car to do tastings and events.
Oversee logistics of the organization.
Attending board meetings of LIBA, NAWMBA.
I have to be very organized. If I am delivering tea or loading my car and doing an event in the same day, outfit changes are a must! I need a telephone booth and a cape! Ha!
What is your typical Saturday night?
Family!!!! If I am not traveling, I love being with my family unit!
What is your favorite thing in your closet right now?
It will be a Michael Kors dress I saw while traveling. I love Michael Kors, but never figured out how a male got so good a designing women’s clothes?!
What do you drink when you are not drinking your product?
Louisville Water… Pure Tap!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Rooibee Red Tea is my third start-up.
What three words best describe you?
Passionate, Achiever, Friendly.
What are you reading right now?
Hunger Games with our most awesome Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence starring in the movie!
What is your favorite thing in Louisville?
I love so much about Louisville it is hard to say one. I will say all of my friends and mentors who inspire me. I have no extended family in Louisville, nor does my husband. Louisville is a city that embraces you and makes you proud to call it HOME!
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding family, friends and God.)
- Vacations and travel
- My iPhone
- I love to shop, not to consume necessarily, but to see the craftsmanship and appreciate the owners behind brands.
To learn more about Rooibee Red Tea, click here
We would like to thank Adele and Sean Reding from Adele Reding Studio for their wonderful photography!