ll archives: Owl's Brew's Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield
Maria Littlefield and Jennie Ripps of Owl's Brew are two ladypreneurs pedaling some mighty good "crafted for cocktails" tea and pushing some mighty good words to live by. We sat down with the NYC duo to chat life at Owl's Brew and its sister company, Brew Lab Tea and what it means to fulfill ladytrep dreams.
Current location: New York City
Where are you from? Jennie is from NYC, Maria is from Martha’s Vineyard
Education: Jennie: University of Pennsylvania Maria: Skidmore College
Business & Formal Title: Jennie: Founder & CEOwl Maria: Partner & COOwl
What is Owl’s Brew and how did it come to be? Owl’s Brew is the first ever tea “crafted for cocktails”. It is fresh-brewed in micro-batches and meant to be paired with a wide range of spirits (including beer and wine) for cocktails with a fresh, light flavor profile.
What did you do before? Jennie and Maria were both in marketing.
What did you think you’d be doing now whenever you were 10? Jennie thought she’d be president of the United States. Maria thought she’d be a doctor.
Is Owl’s Brew your dream job? If not, what else is in the works? Jennie: Owl’s Brew is my dream job - I love the actual product, and I love the problem-solving that I have to do on a daily basis to figure out how to make the business grow (while running smoothly!)
Maria: Yes, it absolutely is! I get to go to work every day and experience the excitement (and the challenges) of growing a business with a product that I love. When someone tries Owl’s Brew for the first time, and their face lights up -- those "aha!" moments are what makes a dream job.
Are you involved in any side hustles, ladypreneur collabs or baby projects? Tell us about them. Jennie: I have a 16-month old, Juliet. Maria and I also own a tea company, Brew Lab Tea, that is a sister company to Owl’s Brew.
Maria: As Jennie mentioned, we have a tea company - Brew Lab Tea. I also love to cook!
A day in the Owl’s Brew office is like? Jennie: We start the day by going over our to-dos and priorities. Even though I deal more with business strategy and sales, and Maria runs operations and marketing, at this point, everything overlaps. While we usually both know what we need to get done that day, it’s good to get on the same page.
Maria: The thing about running a small business is that no two days are ever the same. Our days include everything from (but definitely not limited to!) managing inventory at our two warehouses; coordinating production runs; tweaking the design of our labels; scheduling freight pick-ups; looking over the newest shelf talker design; calls with potential new distributors; scheduling demos; perfecting our custom SKU for a new retailer (and making sure it just as delicious with beer as whiskey!); meetings with new accounts; and the list goes on!
How do you balance work and life and is that actually even possible? Jennie: It’s a bit tough with a 16-month old! I wake up really early to shoot out emails before the day starts, and usually leave early for bathtime and bed, and get work done afterwards.
Maria: I always joke that my work is my life, but I do my best to allocate time for both!
You have to do it and you hate it – what is your least favorite task to do at Owl’s Brew? Jennie: Stalking people! We’re always following up about getting an item in that we need for our next production run, or following up with clients who owe us money. Grrr.
Maria: Scheduling freight pick ups -- it's impossible!
Top 5 favorite cities? Jennie: New York, Prague, Copenhagen, Madrid, San Francisco Maria: New York, Paris, Florence, Venice, Martha’s Vineyard (not really a city)
Red, White or Sparkling? Jennie: Red Maria: White
Words to live by: Jennie: There’s usually a way to say yes Maria: Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
In 5 years you’ll be: Jennie: A Ladypreneur! Maria: Ditto, I couldn’t have said it better!
On being a woman entrepreneur: Jennie: There’s nothing more fulfilling and exciting than dreaming something and then making it real (after checking your COGS, of course). I’m constantly inspired and awed by my peers, and I feel lucky that we’re growing fast enough that we can continue hire entrepreneurial young women (and men) to work with us.
Maria: It is an incredible and rewarding journey — and I am thrilled everyday that we have such a terrific team --- all of whom are all so genuinely passionate about the brand we are building together.