An interview with Owner and Founder Sarah Acconcia on the Juniper Product Lineup
Posted by Sarah Beyers and Sarah Acconcia on Feb 8th 2023
Sarah Beyers: When thinking of a product lineup, did you have a visionary process? For example, did you know you wanted to use certain ingredients? Did you know you wanted the teas to have certain healing properties?
Sarah Acconcia: I usually start developing a recipe for selfish reasons. In fact, almost all of the products in our current line were created for my own herbal practice to use on myself. For example, Whoa Calm Down was designed to treat daytime anxiety, restlessness and loss of focus due to stress, without using heavy sedative herbs and preventing drowsiness. I wanted a sleepytime tea that I could drink all day. Once I started sharing the blend with others, it became clear that I had the same concerns as a lot of other people! From that point, I tried to develop blends that serve a function that I think many people could relate or connect to.
Sarah Beyers: What inspired the names for the teas?
Sarah Acconcia: I wanted the names to be memorable and cute, but straightforward too. I don’t think our brand is about smoke & mirrors - I want people to think of Juniper as a transparent brand that they can trust. The names are illustrative of either the function or the flavor of each blend.
I actually really struggle with naming things - so to have some of our product names become really beloved and popular has been heartwarming.
Sarah Beyers: Did you know you wanted a certain number of teas, salts, and cocoas or did it happen naturally? Did you start with some and then add others later or did they all come about at the same time?
Sarah Acconcia: The product line actually was really vast a few years ago, but last year when we officially relaunched with our new branding, I quickly realized that we couldn’t afford to have that many products. Each product requires multiple ingredients, different labels (both designing and printing costs money), product photography, copywriting, web development work, and more. So in order to save operational funding, I decided to keep the launch product line to four teas, two salt & pepper blends, and our top selling product, Superfood Hot Cocoa.
This line also uses cross utilization of ingredients really well. Since we are so strict about sourcing, we try to buy in bulk as much as possible, which can really add up. For example, at the beginning of last year, I reserved over 50 pounds of herbs from two herb farms. If I had to source a large number of ingredients, we just wouldn’t be able to buy at the correct scale. It’s hard to really understand all the costs that go into a product that you buy off a shelf until you have to be the one creating it!
Sarah Beyers: Is there a reason you made all of the teas herbal? Can you explain the process for making the blends a bit and also your favorite way to enjoy them?
Sarah Acconcia: I decided when we narrowed down our offerings to keep all the teas herbal because I really wanted to focus on ethical and sustainable sourcing. There are certainly ethical tea farms around the world, but I knew I could easily create herbal teas using farms that I knew here in the US.
The herbal tea blends are made by combining dried botanicals like herbs and flowers. I measure each ingredient by weight and then hand mix them in a giant bowl. I sometimes will crush or chop the herbs to make the pieces blend together better. I measure by weight because it is the most accurate way to ensure that each batch is the same.
I love to drink my herbal tea cold. I brew them with boiling water, let them infuse for at least 10 minutes in a covered container (essential to capture all the herbal properties!) and then strain them into a pitcher that I keep in the fridge. I don’t sweeten my tea, but sometimes I’ll add lemon or orange slices, or some fresh herbs like mint from the garden in the summer.
Sarah Beyers: Do you know what you’d want to add next to the lineup?
Sarah Acconcia: It's technically a secret, so I’ll just say there will be a new spicy variety of one of our core products next fall!
Juniper Culinary Apothecary teas, spice blends and other food products are not and shall not be considered food supplements in any circumstances. They do not ensure or supplement the daily vitamin intake and do not substitute a healthy diet.
Photography Credits: Emily Marie Schultz