Ranjana Hans founded Raw Roots Turmeric in Columbia in 2018. Her story, told to reporter Indah Setiawati, has been edited for length and clarity.
Growing up in India, I have seen my mother putting turmeric and other herbs from her garden in every meal and doing home remedies from her kitchen. Herbs have become a significant part of my life.
I moved to the United States in 2003, when my children were 1 and 6 years old. I learned a new culture and adjusted to a new lifestyle while taking care of my children and their education.
Life took a turn when I started feeling a lot of knee pain in 2016. I turned to turmeric to ease my pain, but the mixture of turmeric powder, water and milk was not flavorful. I started experimenting with fresh turmeric root in my tea and smoothie to improve the flavor.
I did more experiments and research to make turmeric paste. I started to feel better after six months of consuming turmeric without taking any pain medication. I felt like a new person and was able to resume various activities like yoga and Zumba dance.
Deep inside, I always have a desire to become an entrepreneur and share my learning and roots with other people. I went to the Missouri Women’s Business Center with a sample of my products and talked about my business idea. I participated in sampling events, introduced my products to the community, joined a business pitch competition and presented my business idea at 1 Million Cups.
Becoming a food manufacturer is a big responsibility. I took training to become a certified acidified food manufacturer, looked for a commercial kitchen, and sent my products for lab testing. It was overwhelming, but I decided to take one step at a time.
Whenever we start doing something new, we may not be sure about so many things. Following the direction is key. Break it down into smaller pieces and then take baby steps to reach our goals. Be consistent and make sure that we are on track. There is plenty of help available in our community, so take advantage of that.