Shanti Sunshine and Kalyan Volpe owners of Shanti Elixirs

Asheville | North Carolina
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Who are you and what is your background?

I have been blessed with growing up in a yoga home where the emphasis was placed on holistic health, vegetarianism, yoga, and meditation. I have been a nurse and perinatal educator for over 20 years with a focus on lactation consulting over the past 10 years which peaked my interest in gut health. My husband and I have 3 boys with whom I gave birth to naturally. My love of all things holistic and a desire to raise my children naturally led me to become a beekeeper and most recently drew me towards sacred beekeeping. At the workshop, I attended a year ago September I was taught the sacred art of jun brewing and was given my first jun scoby. I started brewing for family, friends, and co-workers and before I knew it Shanti Elixirs was born.

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Your current job: 

Lactation Consultant, Bee Keeper, Mother of 3 and now Shanti Elixirs

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In which city: 

Asheville, NC and surrounding area

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How did you discover kombucha?

 I live in Asheville so I was familiar with kombucha but I fell in love with jun (considered a cousin to kombucha) because I am not a fan of sugar. I was at a sacred beekeeping workshop when I was offered my very first glass of jun. I declined at first due to the anti-candida diet I was on but was convinced that it would help my health. I fell in love and at the end of the workshop was offered an opportunity to learn how to brew jun.

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What prompted you to start your company? 

Friends and family kept asking me for more jun and I found that I needed to put a framework around what I was doing to cover my costs and my time.

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What makes your product unique? 

We infuse our jun with good vibes through playing and or singing kiirtan to our scobys 24/7. We also use rich organic flavorings that are locally sourced when possible. Because we use a jun culture, which requires raw honey to ferment, we started out using Honey from our very own blissful bee apiary which we have intentions of Growing.

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What do you want to convey through your brand image?

Peace is achievable and we can make small changes in our world by starting with our own peaceful guts.

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What are the main challenges in your company? 

Right now we are having trouble keeping up with the demand. We just started in April and we are already at 5 farmers markets and being asked to sell to restaurants, bars, yoga studios, health food stores, spas etc.

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What tools are essential for your work (app, software)?

Brewing equipment, kegerator, refrigerator, blender, juicer etc.

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A word to define what type of worker you are: 

 Intuitive is how I would describe myself but obsessed is my husband’s description.

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What does your office space look like? 

Don’t have one yet but we just moved to a new space and I’m getting ready to set it up.

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Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?

I have started using a gratitude planner which helps guide every action keeping me on track and focused.

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What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Have a focus for each day.

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What is the best advice you have been given?

Take time to sleep

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What are your end-of-day and early-day routine?

I start my days with 10 to 15 minutes of gratitude practice and as often as possible we sit down together as a family at the dinner table where we hold hands, chant, Connect & Share our gratitude. Right before I go to bed I think the best thing that happened each day so that I have positive thoughts as I’m falling off to sleep!!!

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 Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without?

 Having the ability to listen to Audible books with a Bluetooth has transformed my work. My calendar and planner help to keep me on track and Focussed. 

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upcoming products or projects?

We are currently taking time to see how we can expand to better meet the demands and how we can better serve our community. We are connecting with other businesses that are excited about having our elixirs on tap and even becoming fill stations. We are interested in Service and education and would like to focus on growing our blissful be apiary so we can devote more time to service opportunities for youth and Participate in creating more bee awareness in our community.