Let's talk hustle. Raquel Tavares, CEO and Founder of Fourth & Heart, a brand that seeks to modernize ancient food staples like ghee (clarified butter), talks with us today about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and how having an eclectic career path got her to where she is today. "I was born an entrepreneur, but it just took me a little time to find my way."
Name:: Raquel Tavares
Twitter or Instagram Handle:: Personal: @raquel_loves_life // Business: @fourthandheart
Location:: Los Angeles
Occupation:: CEO and Founder of Fourth & Heart
Secretly Obsessed With:: Nail art design (I go to Two Brown Eyed Girls in Los Angeles bi-weekly). Although I wasn't your typical "girly-girl" growing up, I always loved to do my nails! There is something about having my nails done that gives me a sense of confidence, control, and lightness. It's also a fun way to express myself!
On My Nightstand:: I have stacks of books, some which I have read and others which I have yet to read. I recently picked up Adam Grant's book "The Originals," "I thought it was just me," by Brene Brown, and "Little Fires Everywhere," by Celeste Ng. On my nightstand, I also have eye covers, my Beats headphones, and a tall glass of CALM Magnesium Water.
Last Thing You Read:: "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown
How did you get started on your career path?: After having my second child, I realized I needed to get back to work. I had this fire coursing through me to do something I was passionate about, but woke up every day asking myself, "But what will I do?" I had always had a nonlinear, eclectic career path due to my love of globe-trotting and new experiences (particularly in my early 20s as a yoga instructor). While living in Brazil, teaching the occasional yoga class surrounded by paradise, I still felt that it wasn't enough and I was intended to do more. At 26, I made the difficult decision to return to the U.S without a dime to my name, and lived with my mom in her one-bedroom flat until I could get on my feet. I was serendipitously recruited by a fiber optic network tech company in San Francisco, and was able to move out of my mom's home and open up a yoga studio as a side job. So, let's just say the hustle was always in me to start my own business. I was born an entrepreneur, but it just took me a little time to find my way.
What key elements played into your success?: Many of my life experiences have led to our existing success. What I often dubbed “the wrong choice” I now view as a blessing because these experiences made me hungry to succeed. I had my first job when I was 12, and had jobs at restaurants, movie theaters, music stores, and even had my own newspaper route! By the time I was 18, I had my own apartment and supported myself through school. One of my favorite quotes is, “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” which Steve Jobs said at his Stanford commencement speech.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?: Where do I begin? The struggles I faced initially came from resistance from family and friends who didn’t believe in me or would put down my efforts saying, “Children need their mother.” It was painful to hear, but I kept going. Being an entrepreneur puts an immense amount of stress on the family, especially as a woman, as society has differing ideas of roles a woman needs to fulfill in the home.
Professionally, I’ve never set out on such a huge venture before, nor had I raised a dollar in my life, so the learning curve was apparent. I spent a lot of time reading, meeting with advisers, and leaning on subject matter experts who could properly guide me through the fundraising portion of starting a business and help me with overall business strategy. As a founder and CEO, you need to manage how and when to fundraise while simultaneously developing products and advising your sales team. Not to mention, ghee is a fairly new ingredient in Western culture, so education is key, but a small challenge we are starting to overcome.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?: There is no single individual, but rather a handful of people who have guided me through this experience, as well as those who have encountered great challenges and turned them into their advantage.
When do you feel most successful?: I don’t allow myself to feel success quite yet, although there are the small accomplishments when I enjoy a moment of bliss. For example, just after a fundraising, which typically involves hours on end of grueling negotiations, I feel elated and will share a toast with those around me. I also feel happy and proud when I am working with my team and can sense their enthusiasm and joy. Most recently, I brought on some consultants from a larger Consumer Packaged Goods company, which was recently acquired, who agreed to join us temporarily to help us overcome some hurdles. When I sit with these two, I also feel accomplishment because I know they value their time and know they carefully choose where and how they spend their time.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?: “Raquel, if you want something, just ask for it.” –Mom. You’d be surprised what people are willing to give and do for you. It’s often as simple as asking.
What advice would you give to women looking to enter your industry/space?: Know what you want to do first. Have a clear vision, write up your business plan, and take it step by step. Try not to look too far into the future, as the “what ifs” can scare you and be too much to handle in a day. Buy a journal, and on each page, write one single step that will help you move toward your goal. Don’t even turn the page until you’ve completed step one, and don’t ever look back.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? : Just getting our product on the shelf and creating a brand that resonates with people at the soul level. I’m not here to sell ghee; I’m here to create, motivate, and do what I love. I'm following my personal bliss in the hope that it inspires others to do the same.