Alchemy Elixirs: Drink from Ancient Wisdom
When I walked in to Alchemy Elixirs, Ryan and Michael asked me: “how do you feel today?” Then, they offered me a drink that was the perfect match for my feelings. I needed a drink that could give me some energy to go through the day. They recommended the “Energize” drink. It had several ingredients that came from different countries: matcha from Japan, kola nut from Africa and shilajit from the Himalayas, which is thousands of years old. The drink was the best treat of the day, tasted so good, and prepared me to carry on the day with more energy and enthusiasm.
Ryan and Michael are co-owners of Alchemy Elixirs, a business that offers medicinal plants in tasty and nutritious beverages that nourish, energize and heal. Ryan participated in Mercy Corps Northwest IDA Program and took Business Foundations course, allowing him to receive the funding needed to start Alchemy Elixirs in June 2018. Here is your peek at how Alchemy Elixirs heals the community, one drink at a time.
Ryan was in Peru and spent the summer there. He lived with some native tribes in the rainforest, where there was no electricity. He came back to Portland and wanted to share that sense of community and the experience he had there, but he didn’t know how. He then met Michael, a friend of two years and someone who was very knowledgeable about ayurvedic medicine and plants. They talked about the idea, but having a physical location was out of the question for Ryan and Michael, so they started searching for food carts. Alchemy Elixirs is located at PSU campus in downtown Portland. Ryan says, “this spot is like a sanctuary for me, where a lot of healing happens. The space has good energy, trees and motion.”
Michael explains how he met Ryan and started this business idea with a lot of excitement, purpose and clarity:
“I met Ryan through a mutual friend. We were into the same stuff and we discussed how we could bring this great idea we had into the public conscience. First, we thought about a way to bring all of these plants to people’s awareness; we thought about the products in South America because we both spent a lot of time there in the jungle and we really love that culture. So, we were thinking about having clothing and artwork from South America, but we thought that would be really expensive. Then we started talking about other options and about medicinal drinks. I have been interested in natural medicine and healing myself for years. We found the truck and the cart.”
Ryan and Michael hope that people can be in a more natural way with themselves; helping them to avoid diseases, stay out of the hospital, and remain healthy. A lot of what they do at Alchemy Elixirs is education; educating the public about how they can take care of themselves with the aid of different plants.
Michael explains, “We try to represent different plants from all over the world; these plants help us with diseases and they provide balance that decreases stress, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and inflammation. A lot of these herbs are medicinal, and it activates something deep in people. It can open up people in different ways, lifting up their spirits and emotions.”
Ryan and Michael had many challenges before and during launching their business. Ryan says, “I am a single dad with two kids. It has been challenging to find balance between raising two kids and managing a business. Also, we have been having financial challenges; In other words, we started this business in summer, when there were less students on PSU campus. In addition, dealing with bureaucracy, getting licenses and working on paperwork have created other challenges.”
Similarly, Michael struggled with dealing with logistics surrounding their business, including getting licenses and keeping track of finances. Ryan continues his amazing story and highlights how Mercy Corps Northwest helped him overcome the challenges he had faced to plan and finance his business:
“Mercy Corps Northwest did a great job setting me up. I went into the class with a lot of other people who were trying to do the same thing. I talked to people who were trying to find jobs and they were not comfortable with that. It was very important to be in this community setting talking through the challenges and ideas I had. The community there is amazing; they taught me how to take care of the finances, how to write a business plan and how to do the planning upfront. Usually businesses fail on the first year because of lack of planning and lack of capital. These are the biggest threats; Mercy Corps Northwest set me up with both: how to plan and how to finance.”
As I was enjoying the great energizing drink, Ryan started talking about balance while moving his hands in harmony, and bringing an amazing analogy to explain balance and how he has been applying it to his own business:
“I was in a position where I was able to find balance a little easier like walking a tight robe close to the ground. When I launched the business, that tight robe got higher and higher. The balancing act becomes more challenging and then you fall down and it takes you longer to get back up. This is the way I looked at this business. It takes self-discipline to manage a business. Be slower, pay more attention to details, build a stronger foundation, and don’t be afraid to ask for support.”
Michael asserted the importance of trust in business relationships and how they can make any business successful: “My relationship with Ryan and the way we get along are a part of the business itself. When you are in a partnership with anyone whether it is romantic, business or anything, trust is very important. You have to be very transparent and open. People who see us every day can sense that.”
Michael described how Alchemy Elixirs helped him to make new connections and be a part of a community that cares about healthy living: “I didn’t have many doubts when starting the business because we got a lot of feedback right away. Even though we didn’t make a lot of money at first, but customers would come back and say, “Your drink is amazing and it changed my day.” It creates joy for a lot of people, and they walk away happy. Also, we have met a lot of people and new friends. A lot of the business is connecting with people. People need that connection; they spend a lot of time on their computers everyday and they don’t get that human contact. Therefore, we try to provide that connection for people here. It is rewarding to see people’s mood change and see a smile on their faces.”
“It has been good for me to provide a product that does a lot of healing inside people. That gives me another sense of purpose and a chance to reach more people than I used to reach before. Having this sense of community is very important to me.”
Take a look at Alchemy Elixirs’ website Alchemy-Elixirs.com and see if their medicinal, tasty, and nutritious drinks can help your body find balance and healing.